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BY JACOB ZHIVOV
& ADAM WAJNBERG
October 16, 2003
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I got really pissed off at this film and I think the
reason why is solely placed on Sean Connery's shoulders. I really
enjoyed Alan Moore's graphic novel of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
and with Stephen Norrington as the director I thought we were in for
an ok chance at another comic book film. After all, Stephen Norrington
did direct Blade, which I thought was quite a good film and Alan Moore's
graphic novels like From Hell was adapted to screen well. With that
in mind I had hope for this film instead I got a half baked pile of
Here is the so-called plot of this film. Renowned adventurer
Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) leads a team of extraordinary figures
with legendary powers to battle the technological terror of a madman
known as The Fantom. This League comprises seafarer/inventor Captain
Nemo (Naseruddin Shah), vampiress Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), an invisible
man named Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), American secret service agent
Tom Sawyer (Shane West), the ageless and invincible Dorian Gray (Stuart
Townsend), and the dangerous split personality of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde
Now before I completed beat this film down I will say
there were a few moments where I thought the film could be good. The
start of it is well set up with the mysterious Fantom kidnapping scientists
and starting global suspicion of each country trying to start a war,
this was really good. The visuals of this film and especially Nemo's
ship, the Nautilus, are awesome. In fact everything about Nemo was
good, from his character to his fight scenes, Nemo kicked some serious
arse. However, the rest of the film from the shit jokes to the ludicrously
bad plot pissed me off and once again I blame Sean Connery and a bad
script for this.
As executive producer, I presume you get a lot more
control over your character. In this case good old Sean decided that
he didn't Alan Quatermain to be the opium addicted and gun crazy character
he was in the book. Instead in the film he is the calm and calculating
leader, who's always got a plan and a quick jibe ready. Other changes
from the novel to the film include, Mina Harker in the film has all
the powers of a vampire, she flies, drinks people's blood, has super
strength. In the book she is the leader of the League. She has no
"vampire super powers" and in fact has great intelligence,
unless you have read Dracula you wouldn't even known that she was
bitten by him. Also, Hyde in this film is nice, what is up with that?
Mr Hyde is meant to be a primeval force that enjoys violence, none
of that here, no no, we can't have that. In the book, it takes a lot
of time to control him it seemed like seconds in the film, he almost
willing to help.
This film just pissed me off. It pissed me off more
than the Dolph Lundgren versions of Masters of the Universe and The
Punisher. Shame on you Sean Connery for taking an excellent and mature
graphic novel and turning it into a crap version of X-Men.
This movie sucked.
Those who know me and know my reaction to movies like
this may be ducking for cover now, awaiting the torrent of froth-inducing
invective I espouse whenever I dislike a film for political reasons.
And it is for many reasons, political ones among them that this movie
does indeed suck. But they need not fear, for even though I dislike
what this movie represents, I simply could not bring myself to get
excited about it, the way I did about Identity. THAT film, not to
put to fine a point on it, was fucking crap. League is merely sigh-worthy.
The comic book League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which
began it's run around 1999, is excellent. A team of literature's finest
come together to protect England from harm in the late 1800's. They're
led by Mina Harker, ex-fiancee of Jonathan Stark, the hapless journalist
of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Since her encounter with the vampire, Mina
has become a tense, competent woman, who is hired by a mysterious
benefactor to round up some dudes. These dudes are by and large hopeless
Allan Quatermain, hero of the Empire, is an opium sop
living in some middle-eastern backwater; Dr. Jekyll is a weakling,
while Mr. Hyde is an enormous, amoral monster and Hawley Griffin (the
invisible man) is a pervert who knocks up school girls. The best of
the bunch is Nemo, who in Alan Moore's fantastic rendition is a brilliant
Hindu prince who begrudgingly works with the British because there
simply isn't any adventure left for him. The book contains humour,
pith, irony, wonderfully textured dialogue and Moore's uncanny knack
for period accuracy, right down to the "John Bull" matches
used to light Campion Bond's cigars. I could go on forever about how
good this book is, but I leave it to the interested reader to head
to a comic book shop to pick up the first story arc in trade paperback
The movie League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which has
just been released, sucks. A team of hysterically overblown nitwits
loosely based on characters found in books band together to destroy
a confusing villain from blowing up stuff, by blowing up stuff in
their own way: League Style! They're led by Allan Quatermain (Sean
Connery) who is so fucking macho and good at everything that it's
small wonder he doesn't just beat the villain with his enormous cock.
He is rounded up with Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), who has gained super
powers since her encounter with Dracula; Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend)
who is very pretty, Tom Sawyer (Shane West) who is American and brash
and has white teeth, An Invisible Man (Tony Curran) who is a lovable
crim and Dr. Hyde (Jason Flemyng), who just wants to be one of the
I nearly shit my pants with frustration.
Nemo is the only character worth mentioning in the film,
because he's pretty close to the comic book version of him, and is
portrayed handily by Naseeruddin Shah. The movie contains some pretty
spastic action scenes and a high speed car chase (a car chase. In
1900), as well as... Ah. It hurt my eyes. While all of the dialogue
sucked noodles, the one bit that sucked enough to get me out of my
chair and reaching for the cyanide capsules was when they get into
Nemo's automobile and a stocky first mate says "Call me Ishmael".
I nearly shit my pants with frustration. I suppose I could go on for
another minute or so about how bad this film was, but I urge anyone
with a few bucks and a short fuse to go see it, because the ending
will give you an opportunity to really let loose.
The only vague saving grace of this movie is that it
didn't try particularly hard to be good. It just wanted to look good.
Which it does. The Nautilus is unbelievable. The hand to hand combat
scenes are disorganized, but entertaining nonetheless. I went in with
low expectations and it met them. Politically, it was another example
of a great comic book project being raped by a filmmaker and squeezed
into a Hollywood mould. So I hate it. Don't see it.
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 1/5
A League Of Their Own: 3/5
I don't care what either of you say. I fucked the Queen.
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN is rated M, is
110 minutes long, and opened October 2.