The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) – Originally written October 2003
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For a while now myself and a friend have really been looking forward to this film. I confess to being slightly sceptical about Sean Connery’s involvement (lets be honest, the guy had 1 average film left in him five films ago) and the introduction of Tom Sawyer. Still, we were keen and we made our way to the cinema on the opening day in Britain. My viewpoint? Certainly an Extraordinary experience, but no Gentleman would say some of the words I could use to describe this film.
I can go on for hours about the weak aspects of this film, so beforehand, I’ll quickly mention the good points.
Firstly, I thought the Invisible Man and Dr Jekyll were both excellent characters who were well used. I’ve seen Curran (Invisible Man) in other things before and for a Scot, I was rather quite fond of his attempt at an accent. Dr Jekyll’s fear of Mr Hyde was also impressive and relatively true to the book, although I admit Hyde’s occasional niceness seemed strange for a “monster”. These two were however the only really enjoyable characters.
What else did I enjoy about the film? Well I suppose I quite enjoyed the beginning scenes involving the Bank Of England and the Blimp Factory. Those were nice touches. Other than this though, I’m finding it hard to think up anything nice.
The remaining characters other than The Invisible Man and Dr Jekyll were, to put it mildly, a joke. Connery’s Quatermain was an irritating old fart who bugged me from start to finish. Dorian Gray was remarkably camp and seemed to have exactly the same expression throughout. The poor actor who played Nemo was forced to wear a ridiculous beard and Nemo’s one interesting character point (the worship of Kali) was never properly explored. Mina Harker was a nice touch, although everytime she did something vampiric I shuddered at how weakly it was portrayed. Finally, Tom Sawyer. What the hell was he doing there in the first place? Sawyer was added, obviously for the American market, and whilst this may make financial sense, it doesn’t make good film sense.
Other than the few weak characters, the special effects are at times good, but mostly awful. I confess right now that I’d have found it hard to have come up for a decent design for the Nautilus, but the version they chose was so blatantly a cgi image, that all it needed was the Pixar Lamp to be positioned at the front. It was a joke. Hyde was a saving grace for the CGI, as were the explosions at the end, and the Invisible Man was clever, although unoriginal. Ultimately though, after watching the Nautilus sailing through the sea, and watching Nemo’s ridiculous car, I’d began to loose the will to live.
So far, I’ve laid into some of the cgi and the characters a lot, but to be honest, some films (The Hulk for example) have weak moments of cgi and characterisation and yet still come shining through due to a valid and clever plot. So technically, even after my complaints, this film could have a chance of being good. Did it manage it though? Nope. The script and plot were the worst parts.
For one thing, I’ll lay aside the fact that the plot was as random and disorganised as this review is becoming, but the dialogue was so dreadful I found myself shaking my head in disgust at times. It was dire and VERY weak.
Truth be told, this review should really finish now, but then if the film’s creators can randomly add Sawyer to the equation, then I can put in one random section complaining about how unrealistic the film is, and the fault of this being placed on the word “sequel”.
If this film is successful, and for this sake I hope it isn’t, then the people in power will no doubt wish to create another. Now aside for the simple fact that thankfully (and DON’T READ THIS IF YOU’VE NOT SEEN IT YET) at least one or two of the cast die (although the ending is a blatant piece of trash), technically more of the League should have been killed. In the end battles, two major characters get bad injuries, and yet they just seem to almost shake them off. I mean, what the hell is that about? Nemo not only gets smashed hard against a wall and shakes himself off without pain, but the Invisible Man ends up with miraculously healing 3rd Degree Burns. Now I know technically people live healthy (if scarred) lives after receiving such burns nowadays, but in the Victorian Era, people tended to die. So how come Mr Invisible (as he should thus be called for pure tacky value) survives and seems back to normal at the end? My mind is a blank.
Anyway, YOU CAN READ AGAIN NOW THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM YET.
To summarise, I guess I was a bit fed up with how this film ended up. I’d expected a lot, I’d been delivered prospect with the opening five minutes, I received a few decent characters, but ultimately, this film is a bit of a waste of time and will probably receive a fair few Raspberry Awards come Oscar time. Could have been so much better. What a pity.