of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Every once in a while, a big budget movie drops with a resounding thud.
Now, in the tradition of
Hudson Hawk, The Avengers
and Men In Black II
comes The League of
film has an intriguing concept, an interesting cast (if only because Sean
Connery is in it) and numbers amongst its characters many of the greatest
characters in literature. So how is it so jaw-droppingly bad?
To give you
a thumbnail idea of the storyline, an evil villain from somewhere in the
near future (to 1899, not today) goes back to Victorian London to create a series
of international incidents, hoping to spawn a world war. The British
government forms the titular league, made up of many of the greatest
characters in then popular books. Therefore, Alan Quatermain (Sean
Connery), Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), Dr.
Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Jason Flemyng), the Invisible
Man (Tony Curran), Mina Harker from
(Peta Wilson of La Femme Nikita),
Tom Sawyer (Shane West of Once &
Again) and Dorian Gray (Stuart
Townsend) are charged with saving the world.
Now, one of the major
problems with this is that the film plays fast and loose with many of these
legends. For example, a vampire can go out in the daylight in the middle of
a bunch of cross tombstones, and she can see her reflection in a mirror.
Also, although Dorian Gray didnt age physically, just in his painting, I
dont remember him being immortal, nor do I remember him being unable to
look at his picture for fear of death.
Some of the characters are given
traits they never had before. I guess Ill have to re-read my Mark Twain
and Jules Verne, but I dont recall Tom Sawyer being a crack marksman or
Captain Nemo being a martial artist. Some characters, particularly
Quatermain and Gray, probably arent even known by modern audiences. In a
case of modern sensibilities intruding, instead of Mr. Hyde just being an
evil doppelganger of Dr. Jekyll, he has become a fifteen-foot high behemoth
who looks more like the Hulk than Hyde.
While were on the subject of
things that are too big, the submarine Nautilus, which seems to be about two
football fields long and hundreds of feet high, keeps popping up in little
waterways it would never come close to fitting in. And what about the car
chase on the streets of Venice, even though Venice has no streets, just
canals? The sheer weight of the inaccuracies and the stilted dialogue just
smothers whatever interesting ideas
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
may have had.
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Posted: July 22, 2003.