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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.09%
Worth A Look: 12.88%
Average: 22.73%
Pretty Bad30.3%
Total Crap: 25%

7 reviews, 90 user ratings

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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"Know what would be Extraordinary? If this flick makes 50 million bucks."
2 stars

You can usually tell the difference between filmmakers who respect comic books as source material vs. filmmakers who don't have a freakin' clue. The former example will generally make a good movie. The latter is content to produce a junkpile and run away with a healthy paycheck. Guess which camp The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen falls into?

Based on the astoundingly cool graphic novel (see: expensive comic book) by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen could have had everything and the moon going for it: great literary characters gathered together in a pseudo-X-Men vibe, a swanky 1899 setting and a chance for several moments of kinetic action material.

Alas director Stephen Norrington (Blade) proves himself untrustworthy with a $140 million budget, as the end result is a movie so bizarrely bad and hilariously bizarre that it almost defies description. LXG (to borrow the studio's acronym) may not be as bad as Wild Wild West or Rollerball - but those movies did cross my mind as LXG unspooled. And that's never a good thing.

The movie starts out promisingly enough with legendary H. Rider Haggard adventurer Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) being enlisted to assist Britain in its battle against a mysterious new enemy. The goofily named Fantom hopes to spark a World War by attacking Germany and Britain at the same time while using technological weaponry that nobody's ever seen before.

OK, so far I'm right there with the flick.

After a rousing battle in an African adventurer's club, Quatermain agrees to help out, pausing briefly to gaze at his dead son's grave. That said gravestone is spelled incorrectly is the first hint of the lunacy to come. Once in Britain, Quatermain meets the rest of his league: vampiress Mina Harker, invisible thief Rodney Skinner, submarine captain Captain Nemo, U.S. Secret Service Agent (!?) Tom Sawyer and team co-ordinator M. After picking up two more freaks (the immortal Dorian Gray and the transmogrifying Dr. Jekyll) the crew is on its way to thwart the Fantom's evil schemes.

Sounds pretty interesting so far!

Then the wheels come off. Loudly, hilariously and just plain badly.

It would take a Master's Thesis to accurately catalog what goes wrong after the opening 25 minutes of LXG, but here's just a few:

-The action scenes look like something one would skip over in between the levels of an Xbox game. The CGI rendering veers from serviceable to stunningly awful at the drop of a hat, and some of the action sequences (including a soon-to-be-immortal race through the streets (?) of Venice) are quite simply impossible to comprehend. I'm not just talking about goofily illogical action scenes, but moments of strained kinetic camp so absolutely ridiculous that you'll be shaking your head in disbelief in between peals of incredulous giggling.

-The flick looks as if it were edited in random order. One scene sees Connery tromping through Nemo's majestic Nautilus with a portfolio in his hand; the next sees him curiously outdoors as he does some oceanic skeet shooting; then BAM we're right back in the hallway with that stupid red folder again. Well-told stories progress from A to B to C. LXG goes from L to X to G. It's really just a big mess.

-Aside from the ever-macho (even at 72!) Connery and a hardworking Peta Wilson (as the heroic lady vampire), everyone here looks completely lost. Stuart Townsend (Queen of the Damned) mopes and sashays through his Dorian Gray role, as poor Jason Flemyng (From Hell, coincidentally also based on a Moore/O'Neill comic) is forced to attain some credibility despite his wholly ridiculous Mr. Hyde alter-ego. (Anyone who's still griping about the CGI that brought The Hulk to life should get a kick out of seeing what Hyde looks like here. It ain't pretty.)

--The pointless additions. For some arcane reason the filmmakers opted to add Sawyer and Gray into the film. (They were nowhere to be found in Moore's novels.) I suppose Sawyer's inclusion was meant to give the U.S. audiences someone to cheer, as if it would be impossible to adore heroes who have English accents. It's a flimsy gesture and it only helps to make this swollen turkey even more bizarre. (WHY would Tom Sawyer be a Secret Service Agent? And while we're on the WHY question: since when did Jules Verne's Captain Nemo become a Jackie Chan-style asskicker? It's fairly tough to enjoy popcorn entertainment when the words "WHY ARE THEY...?" and "WHAT THE HELL...?" are constantly cascading through your brain.)

--The awful awful screenplay. I was about halfway through the film before I realized something: not ONE piece of spoken dialogue could be described as anything other than 'exposition' or 'hamfistedly harried exposition'. There's only so many times you can hear someone yell "We have to get him to the ship BEFORE the BOMB blows and the Fantom GETS AWAY!" and "Ah yes my name is Mina Harker, my husband is dead, he and a guy named Van Helsing once killed someone called Dracula and this was in Transylvania" before you realize you're being treated like an idiot.

Despite the persistent production rumors that were floating about (Connery and Norrington hated one another, a nasty Prague flood caused millions in damage and a few others) I really did hold out some hope for this one. But sometimes all the harbingers of bad news are dead-on accurate, and it saddens me to say that this wonderfully cool concept is translated to cinema in criminally inept fashion.

I rate it higher than Total Crap because Act I does offer a few solid thrills and the rest of the film delivers laugh after (unintended) laugh. It's rare to see so much sound and fury signifying so little actual entertainment.

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originally posted: 07/12/03 10:23:37
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User Comments

12/01/08 Tomes it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good 2 stars
3/14/08 mr.mike Teeters on the brink of crash and burn , but doesn't. 3 stars
10/17/07 austin weiss this movie sucked balls 1 stars
1/15/07 del I thought it was silly, brainless, goofy fun. 4 stars
10/30/06 AJ Muller I really REALLY wanted to love this flick; unfortunately, the movie didn't let me. 2 stars
2/16/06 R.W.Welch Promising premise, witless execution. 2 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes Crap, I want my money back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
8/13/05 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
6/18/05 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
2/18/05 tatum How to completely destroy literature's most famous characters 2 stars
1/24/05 sbpat21 not really very good 3 stars
1/17/05 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
10/22/04 T a terrible waste of a great idea. such poor direction i wanted to cry, or shoot someone 1 stars
10/17/04 Elisheva Rison This movie had all of the right elements, was cool, but they ruined it with the very ending 5 stars
10/17/04 Charlene Javier 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 2 stars
10/12/04 Al Guy Despite the CGI, I liked it. 4 stars
8/25/04 The Grinch If Hellboy can get good ratings...really, was this much different? BAD effects and editing 3 stars
8/16/04 psycho dwarf Had I expected any less, I'd reserve my rating just for correct names...even that's f'd up! 1 stars
8/08/04 Shams Huque They completey wrecked the great novel!!! 3 stars
6/03/04 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
5/15/04 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
3/14/04 Charles Could have been so friggin' awesome....but NOPE. Fuck Hollywood. 1 stars
2/29/04 bullit16 A great graphic novel totally ruined. 2 stars
2/27/04 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
2/16/04 Jack I hope the writers and producers (a) were fired and (b) never work in Hollywood again. 1 stars
2/03/04 Jack Bourbon I am utterly perplexed by this film. I saw at release, and taped from PPV. I WILL get it! 1 stars
2/01/04 movie critic hmm.. 4 stars
1/28/04 Crapola Wow that was boring. I turned it off. 1 stars
1/15/04 Helius I wasn't impressed much...but this film didn't tank like some say it made $76 mil total 2 stars
1/13/04 The Ramuh ....does anyone notice "extraordinary" doesn't start with X? 2 stars
1/06/04 tricky dick I felt as though I was two hours closer to my death!!! 1 stars
1/05/04 Keith This was a big budget film? I was severely dissappointed with the cardboard characters. 1 stars
12/26/03 Mason I would've paid not to see this movie. 2 stars
12/22/03 Ravenheart I really enjoyed this movie. 4 stars
11/27/03 John it's the classic good "bad movie"'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
10/21/03 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
10/08/03 Long River One of the best movies I've ever seen 5 stars
10/04/03 alien assassin Read the comic instead !!! 2 stars
9/08/03 JFennell Not even accurate-Mina Harker never became a vampire. 1 stars
8/29/03 mike great movie 5 stars
8/21/03 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
8/13/03 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
8/05/03 Jack Bourbon One fastinatingly preposterous notion after another. Amazing stuff. 2 stars
8/04/03 Joman orginal and action packed a refresher for action buffs 4 stars
8/04/03 Wolf Hyde should NOT have been a good guy; other than that be sure to suspend disbelief b4hand. 3 stars
8/04/03 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
8/02/03 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
7/24/03 rachelle Shan Conney made the movie worth seeing 5 stars
7/23/03 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
7/21/03 Nikaelah Horrible 1 stars
7/19/03 Mike You'll love it if you don't know the real characters. 5 stars
7/19/03 Bakana Not nearly as good as critics say. Makes you more miserable if you've read the comic book. 2 stars
7/19/03 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
7/17/03 Mr. Hat The FX are absolutely kick-ass, but the rest isn't all that great. 3 stars
7/16/03 Xalt Interesting if you can get past the plot holes. Neat visuals and ideas. 3 stars
7/15/03 Rod Johnston Well what can I say? This movie is extraordinary! Get it?! He Hee!!! 5 stars
7/15/03 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
7/14/03 bob dole its not that bad worth 8 bucks 4 stars
7/14/03 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
7/13/03 KingNeutron The 2nd "Hyde" was way overdone, but I liked the movie. Venice blowing up was tense. 3 stars
7/13/03 George Jung Needed an R rating. What's so fucking hard about following Moore's original fucking story? 2 stars
7/13/03 Negrotigre Abysmal 1 stars
7/13/03 dave lets just hope this isn't a sign to come for blade 3 1 stars
7/12/03 Wendy Agreed. It was bad. Characters were good, but the storyline was incomprehensible. 2 stars
7/12/03 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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