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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.77%
Worth A Look: 12.78%
Average: 22.56%
Pretty Bad30.08%
Total Crap: 24.81%

7 reviews, 91 user ratings

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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The
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by EricDSnider

"Good to see Donald Kaufman's scripts getting produced."
3 stars

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" begins with a squad of British police officers in 1899 being brought into a severe state of befuddlement when a tank full of Germans shows up and rams into a bank building. This is alarming not because they are Germans -- though I think that's plenty alarming in and of itself -- but because in 1899, tanks don't exist yet. The Bobbies respond mostly by whapping on it with their batons.

A few minutes later in the movie, in Germany, a warehouse full of zeppelins gets blown up. All of this is the work of a mysterious figure called the Phantom, who seeks to pit the world at war against itself so that he may profit from the sale of his new futuristic battle technology. The film is curiously mum on how he got the technology; given that the film is about literary heroes co-existing in one universe, I suppose we are left to assume he obtained H.G. Wells' time machine and brought everything back to 1899. Or maybe he's FROM the future. I don't know, or care.

Anyway, thus begins the anemic and forgettable -- but not entirely unlikable -- "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." Like most films, it is based on a comic book, and one whose premise delights me: fictional characters like Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, Dorian Gray and the Dr. Jekyll all hang out together and fight crime. If I had read all of the books these characters appeared in, I could probably come up with reasons why they couldn't all exist in the same universe. But I haven't, and neither have you, and I think the people who made the film were counting on that.

(From what I understand, the comic book is much more devoted to its numerous source materials than the movie is. Evidence: A grown-up Tom Sawyer was added for the film because the studio figured moviegoers would want to see an American.)

The first 38 minutes of the film are devoted to gathering the League. This is done by a man called M (Richard Roxburgh), who first contacts Quatermain (Sean Connery) in Africa and persuades him to help save the British Empire and the world from the Phantom. Additional members are Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah); "Dracula's" Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), now a vampire herself; a guy (Rodney Skinner) who stole the Invisible Man's formula, but not the Invisible Man himself, because they couldn't get permission from the copyright holder; Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), who has the power of being unkillable; Tom Sawyer (Shane West), now a CIA agent or something; and Dr. Jekyll (Jason Flemyng), still wrestling with that split-personality thing.

Then there's a 14-minute second act where we learn everyone's dark secrets and personal demons. James Dale Robinson's screenplay lays everything out in a neat, orderly fashion that eliminates all the guesswork. If he were writing a quarterly report for a corporation, that would be an admirable skill. For an adventure film, it's a bit less so. Stephen Norrington's direction -- which suggests to me he was NOT a huge fan of the comic book -- is perfunctory and adds nothing.

Then the gang's off to Venice to protect a summit meeting of Europe's leaders, a gathering the Phantom is rumored to be targeting. The expected twists and turns occur, and the heroes get to use their particular powers in particular ways. None of it is especially imaginative; in fact, it says a lot about a movie when it can take place in an era pre-dating automobiles, yet still manage to have a speeding car chase, like this one does.

But it's not completely useless. Some of the fights in the final act are rather fun, and Jekyll's transformation into Mr. Hyde is a grotesque marvel. I hear a lot of people dismissing the film as dumb, and its premise especially so, but I don't think it's inherently any stupider than any other superhero flick. Its dumbness is in flinging the same old action-movie clichés at us and expecting us to think they're new just because they're set in Victorian England. Well, and also in having Mina Harker hanging out in the afternoon sun without a word of explanation. Surely even the people who made this movie can't be so dumb as to not know vampires can't tolerate sunlight. But the alternative -- that they thought WE would be too dumb to know that -- is even more unsettling.

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originally posted: 07/22/03 14:50:16
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User Comments

12/17/18 Ajp wales I liked it. 5 stars
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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