The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

"Bad"

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Review


If anything, what The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (aka LXG) does best is give us an original concept for action heroes: a group of characters picked from famous literary works united to fight a common enemy. Though it bears a resemblance to X-Men, LXG sounds great, but falls far short. The film, based on Alan Moore's graphic novels, is just a bunch of mindless shootouts and half-baked special effects with little, if any, time spent on the unique individuals at the heart of the action.

In LXG the film, a madman named "The Phantom" is bent on turning the nations of the world against each other in one gigantic World War. It's up to the British government to thwart his plan, and they have assembled a handsome crew to get the job done. Leading the group is aging adventure seeker Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) with underlings The Invisible Man (Tony Curran), vampiress Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), Dr. Jekyll and alter ego Hyde (Jason Flemyng), Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), and Tom Sawyer (Shane West). Once all the introductions are done, the group heads to Venice to protect the world's leaders from the Phantom's attack during a peace conference.

For a film with a promising premise, it's shocking that it fizzles by reel two. LXG quickly becomes a disheveled, middle-of-the-road action movie with beleaguered bad guys and blown-up buildings. LXG boasts that its inspiration comes from explicit literary material, yet there is little indication of this in the watered-down film we get.

The narrative makes no attempt to develop its main characters beyond fighting machines, and in the end, we know just as much about them as we did after reading their respective books in grade school. Unlike the far superior X-Men series, where the character's powers actually mean something, director Stephen Norrington gives little credence to the character's unique abilities found in their literary roots. It's almost as if Norrington uses these characters, as well as Moore's name, simply as a gimmick to attract an audience. Fans of the series will not care about the film's undertakings, yet for those of us expecting a smart action film where knowledge of these characters would broaden our movie experience, disappointment looms large.

It was widely reported that there was turmoil on the set of LXG, especially between Connery and Norrington. While there is no way of knowing how this impacted the overall production (though a flood that washed away millions of dollars of sets certainly did), this same group has signed on for the film's sequel. Now that the novelty has worn off and the film's merits have been laid bare, trying to save LXG2 sounds like the perfect job for this group of clowns.

A pile of brief deleted scenes make up the bulk of the DVD extras, alongside two commentary tracks. Don't miss the "special message," an anti driving-while-under-the-influence-of-marijuana commercial.

Up next: Allan Quattermain and the Search for the Bling-Bling.



The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th July 2003

Box Office USA: $66.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $179.3M

Budget: $78M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: DC Comics, Angry Films, International Production Company, JD Productions, Mediastream Dritte Film GmbH & Co. Beteiligungs KG, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 17%
Fresh: 31 Rotten: 147

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Allan Quatermain, as Captain Nemo, as Mina Harker, as Rodney Skinner (The Invisible Man), as Dorian Gray, as Tom Sawyer, as Dr. Henry Jekyll / Edward Hyde, as M, as Dante, as Sanderson Reed, as Nigel, Terry O'Neill as Ishmael, Rudolf Pellar as Draper, Robert Willox as Constable Dunning, as Running Officer, Michael McGuffie as Copper #1, Joel Kirby as Copper #2, Marek Vašut as Soldier, Ewart James Walters as Toby, Michal Grün as Assassin #3, Robert Vahey as Elderly Hunter, Sylvester Morand as Old Treveler, Mariano Titanti as Edgar Shreave, Huggy Leaver as Hanson Cab Driver

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