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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.77%
Worth A Look: 12.78%
Just Average: 22.56%
Pretty Crappy30.08%
Sucks: 24.81%

7 reviews, 91 user ratings

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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The
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by Erik Childress

"Liable To Hack Off All Sorts Of Fans"
2 stars

Once upon a time there was a boy named Bastian. He wasn’t interested in the video arcade down the street, but in the small rectangular objects known as books. He delighted in tales of Captain Nemo and Tarzan; his imagination running wild with the kind of adventure and images that didn’t exist in reality. Ben, Wolfgang and Darren shared similar flights of fancy and I was a great fan of Flynn and Galen. Of course, those names may mean as much to you as the identity of my high school nemesis. Everyone knows Indiana Jones, but how about Jack Burton? That’s how The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is going to translate to its core summer audience. Many of whom will have no idea who these classic literary characters are or why its so clever to bring them together while those who do will get upset with what a disjointed, shoddy adventure they’ve been placed in.

The original comic book by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill (who get a laughable unending in-joke shot of their names on a poster) has its basis in the old Justice League stories where all the classic superheroes would gather together to fight a common foe. Transplant Allan Quatermain for Superman and you have the beginnings of the sort of concept where readers enjoy seeing an author’s previous characters popping up in their latest novel.

Novel concept notwithstanding, it’s the forming of its cleverness that draws us in momentarily during the standard “forming the team/gathering the troops” prelude (which lasts the course of a reasonably entertaining 45 minutes.) Sean Connery plays Quatermain, the famous African guide whose need for anonymity may explain why his named is only spelled correctly in the final credits. Allan has been called-in to stop the makings of a “World War” at the turn of the century; recruited by a man known only as “M” (as he was in the comic book; now another in-joke thanks to Connery’s Bond connection. No, not the Campion Bond of the graphic novel aka Chief of the British Secret Service.)

Seems like a bottom-heavy-handed explanation, but this is the grating approach used by the film’s screenplay to provide background information so the uninitiated can go “ohhhh...I get it.” Mina Harker (Peta Wilson) is now a vampire who reminds us of people she knew named Van Helsing and Dracula. Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend) expositions himself around that mysterious aging painting that he dare not look upon. Then there’s Captain Nemo with the kung-fu grip (Naseeruddin Shah), Dr. Jekyll (Jason Flemyng) whose alter-ego looks like the CGI equivalent of Hans & Franz, the thief of The Invisible Man (Tony Curran) since H.G. Wells’ estate didn’t comply and an American secret agent named Sawyer. Tom Sawyer (Shane West). It’s an impressive fantasy book club team. And an absolute waste.

You would think that with Gray’s indestructible Superman (complete with his own Kryptonite), Jekyll’s Hulk complex and Mina’s Wonder Woman abilities, that the filmmakers could have concocted a more cohesive blend of action and fantasy than this. Director Stephen Norrington (Blade) blows just about every opportunity and when all else fails, just blows up every shoddy CGI background in his wake. After a few early action asides (sold mostly by Connery’s never-aging spring in his step), Norrington delivers one of the most ineptly constructed set pieces I’ve ever seen in a big-budget adventure. It’s as if the characters are making up ADR dialogue on-the-spot to tell us what needs to be done to stop “the bomb” when any savvy filmgoer can just suggest that they turn off the projector.

An idea like “LXG” (an acronym probably invented to reap comparisons to the X-Men) needs to either have full confidence in its origins or just have cheeky fun with its own ingenuity. It’s impractical to have it both ways. Screenwriter James Dale Robinson adds such groaners like referring to the head villain as the Phantom (“how operatic”, says Quatermain), throwaway gags (Mellville’s Ishmael welcomes them into the great whale of the Nautilus) and continually insults the audience’s intelligence with his elucidation of the origins. Then he expects those of us familiar with them to be outguessed by the league’s saboteur (the only one with an incontestable desire for evil) as well as that skull-tipped cane and THEN for the dolts he holds in such low regard to know who that villain is when his actual identity is revealed. Robinson’s certainly playing a game I’d love to give a foot to.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is an epic mess on just about every conceivable level. It’s loud, alternately garish and boorish and is going to hack off literary connoisseurs, comic book lovers and movie fans alike. That’s an epic entertainment trifecta to be wishing they were H.G. Wells’ Time Traveler. Norrington just about eliminates any chance of turning this into an exhilarating franchise, leaving us to create our own specialized dream teams and him on the unemployment line where he won’t have the chance to piss off anymore of his lead actors. I can look no further than just the past three weeks of the 2003 summer to gather Bruce Banner, the Terminator and Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean into a character list worthy of my dreams. But thus, after LXG, it can only exist in my imagination.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7888&reviewer=198
originally posted: 07/11/03 01:01:06
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User Comments

12/16/18 Ajp wales I liked it. 5 stars
11/30/08 Tomes it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good 2 stars
3/13/08 mr.mike Teeters on the brink of crash and burn , but doesn't. 3 stars
10/16/07 austin weiss this movie sucked balls 1 stars
1/14/07 del I thought it was silly, brainless, goofy fun. 4 stars
10/29/06 AJ Muller I really REALLY wanted to love this flick; unfortunately, the movie didn't let me. 2 stars
2/15/06 R.W.Welch Promising premise, witless execution. 2 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes Crap, I want my money back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
8/12/05 ES Mr. Connery this movie has no redeeming value, bad CGI and makes no sense= where do I sign! 1 stars
6/20/05 darick Nothing extraordinary 2 stars
6/17/05 tony The legue of what the hell was this movie! Sean is too old to do it like he use to do!! 2 stars
4/21/05 Colleen Goldrick If you love these characters watch it 5 stars
2/17/05 tatum How to completely destroy literature's most famous characters 2 stars
1/23/05 sbpat21 not really very good 3 stars
1/16/05 Jeff Anderson NOT BAD AT ALL! An enjoyable, old-fashioned good time. S. Connery and P. Wilson are great. 4 stars
12/23/04 Cool Leather Jacket Poor directing, I want my life back! 1 stars
10/21/04 T a terrible waste of a great idea. such poor direction i wanted to cry, or shoot someone 1 stars
10/16/04 Elisheva Rison This movie had all of the right elements, was cool, but they ruined it with the very ending 5 stars
10/16/04 Charlene Javier 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 2 stars
10/11/04 Al Guy Despite the CGI, I liked it. 4 stars
8/24/04 The Grinch If Hellboy can get good ratings...really, was this much different? BAD effects and editing 3 stars
8/15/04 psycho dwarf Had I expected any less, I'd reserve my rating just for correct names...even that's f'd up! 1 stars
8/07/04 Shams Huque They completey wrecked the great novel!!! 3 stars
6/02/04 Littlepurch Well I really liked it. A lighthearted, fun-for-all journey back to Connery's days as Bond. 4 stars
5/25/04 Gazza E Fun at times, but can someone explain this movie to me!! 2 stars
5/14/04 jezfromhell Enough with the CGI! 1 stars
5/11/04 J.Peckerfoot I know its shitty, i know it fell short, but i enjoyed it anyway! 4 stars
5/02/04 Carly I loved it! 5 stars
4/11/04 Wildcarde1 reminded me of old serials put into a movie was alot of fun 4 stars
3/23/04 wog nice fx, really boring plot,dialogue,action,actors etc etc 2 stars
3/13/04 Charles Could have been so friggin' awesome....but NOPE. Fuck Hollywood. 1 stars
2/28/04 bullit16 A great graphic novel totally ruined. 2 stars
2/26/04 Poo Monkey I shall extract my eyeballs lest they see such pox ever again... 1 stars
2/23/04 Mike Kidd Promising material completely ruined. 1 stars
2/15/04 Jack I hope the writers and producers (a) were fired and (b) never work in Hollywood again. 1 stars
2/02/04 Jack Bourbon I am utterly perplexed by this film. I saw at release, and taped from PPV. I WILL get it! 1 stars
1/31/04 movie critic hmm.. 4 stars
1/27/04 Crapola Wow that was boring. I turned it off. 1 stars
1/14/04 Helius I wasn't impressed much...but this film didn't tank like some say it made $76 mil total 2 stars
1/12/04 The Ramuh ....does anyone notice "extraordinary" doesn't start with X? 2 stars
1/05/04 tricky dick I felt as though I was two hours closer to my death!!! 1 stars
1/04/04 Keith This was a big budget film? I was severely dissappointed with the cardboard characters. 1 stars
12/25/03 Mason I would've paid not to see this movie. 2 stars
12/21/03 Ravenheart I really enjoyed this movie. 4 stars
11/27/03 John it's the classic good "bad movie"..it's pretty horrible but you'll have a good time 5 stars
10/27/03 John Elkington I can't ever recall a big budget film being this bad. 1 stars
10/20/03 Will Just awful. Mr. Hyde is show as an Incredible Hulk type creature. Just plain stupid. 1 stars
10/16/03 Priscilla Postlethwaite Starts off promisingly, then delivers a muddled mixed Bag. 3 stars
10/07/03 Long River One of the best movies I've ever seen 5 stars
10/03/03 alien assassin Read the comic instead !!! 2 stars
9/07/03 JFennell Not even accurate-Mina Harker never became a vampire. 1 stars
8/28/03 mike great movie 5 stars
8/20/03 Mad It has some nice eye candy and its good for sensless entertainment. 3 stars
8/17/03 Lord Chu Undeserving of all this criticism. Pretty darn good, w/ engaging characters. 5 stars
8/12/03 Christian Harding An extraordinarily good movie. 4 stars
8/07/03 Alex What's with the ending? Did the cast ran out of film to finish the movie, money, or both? 2 stars
8/04/03 Jack Bourbon One fastinatingly preposterous notion after another. Amazing stuff. 2 stars
8/03/03 Joman orginal and action packed a refresher for action buffs 4 stars
8/03/03 Wolf Hyde should NOT have been a good guy; other than that be sure to suspend disbelief b4hand. 3 stars
8/03/03 Ron Daniels Biggest waste of energy I have ever seen 1 stars
8/03/03 Herbie Someone told me there was an original novel that was long, not a comic book, I can't find. 5 stars
8/01/03 Devious The more knowledge of the history of these novels, the better the film will be to you. 4 stars
8/01/03 Curtiss J.Robinson, the screenwriter is not responsible for that piece of junk. Studio execs are! 1 stars
7/28/03 Jim Um ... how was vampire chick hanging out in daylight? Anyway, I wasn't bored. 3 stars
7/23/03 rachelle Shan Conney made the movie worth seeing 5 stars
7/22/03 Lord Jiggy The entire film should have been devoted to the hot vampire chick. The rest was a waste. 2 stars
7/21/03 malcolm a blast. i had no idea Nemo could kick ass like that 4 stars
7/20/03 Nikaelah Horrible 1 stars
7/19/03 Mike You'll love it if you don't know the real characters. 5 stars
7/18/03 Bakana Not nearly as good as critics say. Makes you more miserable if you've read the comic book. 2 stars
7/18/03 K Elder Shakespeare: a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifiying nothing 1 stars
7/18/03 CaseySucks Wylde, Verne, Stoker, Wells, Twain, Stevenson, and Doyle are burning their manuscripts. 1 stars
7/16/03 Mr. Hat The FX are absolutely kick-ass, but the rest isn't all that great. 3 stars
7/15/03 Xalt Interesting if you can get past the plot holes. Neat visuals and ideas. 3 stars
7/14/03 Rod Johnston Well what can I say? This movie is extraordinary! Get it?! He Hee!!! 5 stars
7/14/03 B . Dawg exciting action movie. better than expected! 4 stars
7/14/03 Gary GREAT MOVIE 5 stars
7/14/03 Copernicus Ereol When Connery and Sawyer were shooting on the boat, it showed the boat going 78 mph, then 0! 2 stars
7/13/03 bob dole its not that bad worth 8 bucks 4 stars
7/13/03 C Tseng Not nearly as bad as critics say. Makes more sense if you've read the comic book. 4 stars
7/13/03 Wil I didn't think it was that bad it just needed more. 4 stars
7/13/03 Darth Haggis Cheezy movie but better than the Hulk 1 stars
7/13/03 GameZMaster It was an alright movie that could have been much better, due to the source material. 3 stars
7/13/03 Bam Margera I thought it was actually pretty good...since I read the reviews and decided not to ask why 4 stars
7/12/03 KingNeutron The 2nd "Hyde" was way overdone, but I liked the movie. Venice blowing up was tense. 3 stars
7/12/03 George Jung Needed an R rating. What's so fucking hard about following Moore's original fucking story? 2 stars
7/12/03 Negrotigre Abysmal 1 stars
7/12/03 dave lets just hope this isn't a sign to come for blade 3 1 stars
7/11/03 Wendy Agreed. It was bad. Characters were good, but the storyline was incomprehensible. 2 stars
7/11/03 Human Shield HHH is right. Go see Pirates instead. The camera work in this movie almost made me sick. 2 stars
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  11-Jul-2003 (PG-13)



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