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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.7%
Worth A Look: 12.69%
Just Average: 22.39%
Pretty Crappy30.6%
Sucks: 24.63%

7 reviews, 92 user ratings

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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The
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by Robert Flaxman

"Pretty much just forgettable."
3 stars

There are really three kinds of summer blockbusters. The first are the best - they deliver everything the audience expects out of a blockbuster film and more, and filmgoers reward these movies by seeing them multiple times and giving them great word of mouth. The second are the worst - films either poorly executed or simply horribly ill-conceived, or perhaps a combination of both. These films are eviscerated by moviegoers and critics alike. Then there is the third set of films. These are not bad films, but neither are they anything special. In fact, despite all the money and effects pumped into them, they manage what should be practically unthinkable for a summer blockbuster: to be dull.

In case you haven't guessed by now, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is one such film. Though blessed with a high concept inherited from Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's graphic novel of the same name, The League has a difficult time making things fun, instead plodding along with a kind of grim efficiency on the way to an inevitable conclusion.

In The League, a bunch of 1800s literary heroes, led by aging explorer Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery), get together to fight a villain intent on setting the nations of the world at each other's throats. The first part of the movie is concerned with the League's formation (which includes the introduction of Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, and Mina Harker, as well as the recruitment of Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and, as the token American, Tom Sawyer), and the rest tracks the group to Venice and beyond in pursuit of the villain.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a curious choice for adaptation into a big blockbuster in the first place, as it has to be considered that 19th century literary characters are not the most accessible to casual 21st century audiences. Most of the characters stay in the conventional realm, but Dorian Gray begins to push it (perhaps this is why his story is fully explained while others, like Tom Sawyer's, are mentioned not at all), and Quatermain is fairly obscure these days, which is probably why he was given the lead, to allow the most room for development.

And developed Quatermain is, but the backstory feels perfunctory, as though it was decided that "someone had to have one." The rest of the backstories - such as they are - are created out of whole cloth, such as giving Gray and Mina a romantic history which allows for some dry and largely unexplored conflict, as two-thirds of the League's male members have eyes for Mina. Other characters are modified greatly, not an unforgivable trait but one that can be a bit strange. (Tom Sawyer as a Secret Service agent? Mr. Hyde as a good guy?)

The film does have a couple of nice twists, but the key revelation of the villain may well be lost on much of its audience - and it makes one long for the presence of the character's literary nemesis. However creative this twist is, it is not particularly thrilling.

This is, as noted, the main problem with the film itself. The League leaps between plot points too quickly to build any sense of urgency. Some action films work well in their quieter moments; those here are fairly infrequent and wholly unimpressive. The film must then be about its action sequences, but on this point The League has trouble as well, with director Stephen Norrington shooting and cutting in such a way that very little can be seen (a common problem nowadays). In addition, while the Invisible Man looks good, the film features two of the least convincing CGI sequences in recent memory. For a film that cost a reported $110 million, the effects should really look better.

In the end, The League is distracting enough for summer fare, but its weightlessness combined with a baffling lack of fun makes it ultimately unsatisfying. There are not enough references for the scholarly viewers to have that much fun, but enough so that the casual viewer may be confused - as such, it's a film that doesn't really have a core audience except for those looking for mindless summer action, and it's not splashy enough to adequately provide for them.

Few people are likely to outright hate it, but it's difficult to picture any segment of the audience finding The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to be superb.

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originally posted: 10/11/04 04:31:44
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User Comments

3/24/21 morris campbell decent 2 stars
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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