Friday, August 20, 2010

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

Adapted from the popular graphic novel, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN puts together an elite group of literary heroes (including Dorian Gray, Mina Harker, Captain Nemo, and others) that are summoned in order to prevent a world conflict brought on by a powerful new super-villain! Conceptually, the premise boasts an incredible idea and an excellent set of characters, but Stephen Norrington's realization of the plot fails to deliver on the comic's potential. It relies heavily on the assumption that the audience is familiar with the classical literature from which the characters are assembled, without ever providing the back stories or even suitable introductions for any of the heroes. Where THE LEAGUE suffers even greater is in its tedious pacing and senseless lack of direction can't be masked by the over-budgeted action sequences and Special FX. How a film could manage to throw away such an interesting collection of characters seems unfortunate, but THE LEAGUE is anything but extraordinary.

Rating: 6/10.

If you liked THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, check out:
HELLBOY, WATCHMEN, VAN HELSING.



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12 comments:

  1. Strong review Carl! I totally agree.
    And isn't the director of TLOEG responsible for Sir Sean Connery's retirement from movies? I think Connery and the "director" had some "problems."
    best,
    r/e

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  2. Thanks RE! I have heard the rumors but I am not sure how valid they are. Norrington did an ok job with the killer robot in DEATH MACHINE, and BLADE is decent enough, but this film stretched into the barfy realm of Stephen Sommer's ridiculous over-the-top action and computerization.

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  3. Spot on review. This film is about as horrible as "Van Helsing" in my opinion. It could have been great, but nobody involved seemed to have the slightest clue of how to properly do justice to the source material. A quote from my review sums up my feelings:

    "It's very, very hard to suspend your disbelief as you watch the heroes fighting villains in the streets of Venice - a town that has no streets at all - in a Batmobile-like car that makes modern cars look like old crap. I'll not even get into how damn silly the the towering submarine (Captain Nemo's Nautilus) looks sailing the canals of Venice when it's obvious that it's just way too big to fit, let alone sail in them."

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  4. Dude that submarine bit is hilarious, I was thinking the exact same thing as soon as it pulled in to the city. The whole thing was utterly ridiculous, and reminded me 100% of Van Helsing, which I despise almost more than The Mummy Returns

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  5. I'm with on this one all the way. The comic was so fantastic. How do you botch that up? And when you have Sean Connery!?

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  6. I have to be the voice of dissent here. I thought it was a fun movie. Sure, the Nautilus wouldn't have fit in the Venice harbor, but I think most hardcore movie fans have overlooked far more glaring gaffes like that in the past, so if complaints like that or the particular layout of Venice or whatever are the main complaints, I think everyone's just being grumpy and too picky. I loved the performances and I liked the look of the flick and overall I thought it was a super-enjoyable action/sci-fi romp that had a little more style than most of its peers.

    I know people who loved the graphic novel often complained that it wasn't up to snuff, but sometimes I think it's better to appreciate the movie you have than to sit there complaining that not every little thing is exactly the same. If you want the comic book, then read the comic book again. Movies and graphic novels, despite their similarities, are two different forms of media and they each have their own considerations. Filmmakers can't just make movies that are only gonna please fans of the original work; they have to appeal to a mass audience in order to make their money back. I'm in the drastic minority in my support of this one, I know, but when you consider all the far lamer, stupider shit that Hollywood churns out and ruins, I think LEAGUE still came off as a unique and passable popcorn actioner with at least a few more brain cells than standard blockbuster fare, with a little monster action and atmosphere for good measure. And it was faaaar less cheesy than VAN HELSING.

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  7. I agree with J.Astro on this. I found "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" to be a thoroughly enjoyable bit of corny fun. OF COURSE the whole thing is silly, stupid, and implausible; that's the fun of it. It's good mindless dopey FUN. Enjoy it for what it is. If you want cerebral, go to a Kubrick flick.

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  8. I enjoyed this one, too. I was and still am unfamiliar with the source material, so I had no expectations going in. It was fun, if totally OTT. The big sub in Venice I could overlook considering the movie would have us believe such characters exist even if it is an alternate history.

    And yes, Norrington and Connery didn't get along. I think I got something on it in a Fangoria article from the time. I bought the blu ray for $10 at wal mart recently. Supposedly, the original cut of the film was much better.

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  9. I completely agree about LoEG...personally, I didn't know much about Dorian Gray until after I had seen the movie and then did some research on the character. I had heard of him, but like you said, there was no back story for the heroes. Many may not have had a clue who Mina Harker was, how she came to be a vampire or her ties to Dracula. the whole movie just didn't work for me.
    Dreaded Dreams
    Petunia Scareum

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  10. The fun we poked at it above were just a few of the implausible items that I laughed at when watching the film, but my bigger complaint was just the amount of time wasted in trivial scenes and dialog that just killed it for me. I think Hellboy and Watchmen nailed it by comparison.

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  11. Carl is correct. I would not want to give the impression that those things I pointed out were what sank the film for me overall. They just happened to stand out for me because the film was so damn dull and devoid of life. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them when the story and characters are actually good and entertaining. Sadly, I didn't find this film to contain those elements. So I got bored, annoyed, and nit-picky.

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  12. i am keeping this short, cause it has all been covered above in the previous comments...

    i like the wild side of this film, and it is very sad it got ball busted in the critics world... it had everything a movie needed.

    jeremy

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