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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 Marc Kandel

"A turd I say! An unredeemable, blackened turd."
1 stars

Striking yet another shattering blow to the hearts of comic book fans, action lovers and sci-fi film aficionados alike…

“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, or if you prefer the casual, easy-to-pronounce toss-off title “LXG” the studios had hoped you would add to your vernacular, has Hollywood once again taking the comic book medium and holding it to the flames of industry to keep the profit machine a-chuggin’. All that is left are the bitter ashes of a film that should have by all rights been a marvel to behold and a pleasure to take in. This bungled, audience-hating contempt-fest (a term I had previously reserved only for Joel Schumacher Batman movies) has once again demonstrated filmdom’s all too commonplace disdain for superior source material simply because it is burdened with the albatross of all genre styles- the comic book adaptation.

Now fair is fair, you want to know if the movie is worth seeing, so I’m not going to sit here and fight a losing battle comparing the film to writer Alan Moore’s graphic novel- in almost all cases it is and will always be impossible to bring an original text source in its full glory to the screen. Hardly any director seems to want to expend that much effort- you want that, go see those flicks with the hobbits- see what a director with a work ethic can accomplish. Also, this review comes at a late hour- the film was released some time ago, failed miserably, and traipsed off to that sad, lonely place bad superhero movies go after emptying their bowels on the hopes and dreams of their fans and further soiling the genre’s reputation- the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. So why revisit this sorry mess?

Enter the LXG DVD release, bolstered by an aggressive marketing campaign dedicated to stamping your brain indelibly with the knowledge that this movie is out there and available for sale. I want you to know that it is out there as well, and it laps at the burbling anal crevice of failure. I want to organize a massive LXG pogrom and go from Blockbuster to Best Buy, all the Circuit Cities, and every other video retail chain I can think of, breaking through the windows, dragging out the offense and burning it in the streets. Yes, I hate this movie that much. Now to the task:

Real fast (and believe me, there isn’t much to work with in the first place) the story: Legends Alan Quatermain (a crotchety, sputtering Sean Connery still able to kick ass with the best of them, but showing us nothing new), Captain Nemo (relegated to the role of steppinfetchit tech-guy- but that’s okay, we’ll let him do wire-work Matrix fight stuff and call that character development) , Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (done extremely well at the first and then destroyed by nonsensical writing choices), Mina Harker (dressed for the 1890’s as a 2003 leather-clad Goth whore, with cold stares and lip licking substituted for three-dimensional complexity), The Invisible Man (nope, not Hawley Griffin the original one, evidently the H.G. Wells estate knew this movie would lick balls, so now we’re stuck with annoying, unfunny comic relief done in a cockney accent), and for many different godawful reasons Dorian Gray and Tom Fucking Sawyer (because Shane West’s insipid boyish good looks will get those young girlish AMERICAN N’Sync fans in the seats by gosh!) are recruited by the British Government to stop a siege by a megalomaniacal menace known as “The Phantom,” who is utilizing never before seen battle technology to set all the nations of the world against each other in some kinda new fangled “World War.” GET IT? They are talking about a WORLD WAR even though WE know that WORLD WAR won’t happen for 19 more years and …. Ah fuck this.

There is no story to speak of here. Instead, a slapdash cobbled-together script rife with blatant errors (third degree burns and bullet riddled shirts that inexplicably repair themselves within the span of a jump cut), mistakes (a misspelled character name, a 1930’s style automobile rather than an original attempt at what a car created in 1899 by a man who builds submarines would resemble), and bad choices (Mr. Hyde actually giving a shit about innocent prisoners and authority), provides for our moviegoing experience.

We start with handicapped introductions to our literary legends with exposition that would leave even cliff-note writers appalled by the sloth exhibited in this uninformative, imagination-bereft hello to our heroes. Example:

Mina Harker (Peta Wilson in bleary monotone trying to impart the illusion of depth): “My husband and I and a man named Van Helsing fought a great evil. His name was Dracula.”

Fuck you.

Any interesting character traits, weaknesses, moral ambiguity, and/or realism has been wiped away clean and replaced by trading card caricatures with paint-by-numbers CGI super powers and forced angst. This could have been a wonderful character study of some truly unique individuals, but alas, each personage simply gets a badly written tag-line or two, a smarmy, nonchalant retort to some bland special effect, and of course, the obligatory “moment to shine” where each character gets their 30 to 40 seconds to show off their CGI budgets. In other words, everything we’ve seen done both competently and incompetently from all the cinematic predecessors in this genre. This film does nothing to distinguish itself in any of these moments, save only for some excellent work on Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (Jason Flemyng) both in effects and portrayal, making him the most compelling, fascinating character(s) throughout the film for about ten or 12 minutes total until the script realizes he might come through the movie intact and bludgeons him with repeated mediocrity until the character is sufficiently neutered and diminished, indistinguishable from the rest of the bland pabulum being doled out to the unfortunate audience.

Bloodless, no consequence explosions flesh out the rest of the tale finished up with a non-twist that the audience couldn’t possibly care about since they’ve been given no reason to give a shit about anyone or anything the entire film despite numerous attempts to give the characters some dimension through tired, overused, uninspired love-triangles and unearned father-figure formulas. Drek.

For the actors and their performances, in most cases (not all- there are some true buffoons present) they are blameless for the movie’s failure- Dialogue has been replaced by terse exposition and retorts, and moments meant to impart emotion are story-stopping, contrived slop common to most action films. The cast plows through as best as they can, some more dignified than others. Highlights are Naseeruddin Shah (Captain Nemo) and Jason Flemyng (Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde), which in this film, unfortunately, is like being valedictorian of summer school. Both men labor under a script determined to leave their characters devoid of personality, truth, and passion in the spirit of maintaining audience friendliness. The fact that any talent shines through this despicable dilution is a testament to the actors’ abilities. Stewart Townsend, as Dorian Gray on the other hand, reprises his role as the priggish, flouncing non-entity he claimed was Lestat in “Queen of the Damned.” 0 for 2 buddy, 0 for 2. Will someone pay this guy’s twenty bucks at the door and let him get back into whatever club he shuffled out of already?

As I stated before, I am of the opinion that Sean Connery can still be a formidable lead, but why let him canter around doing the same role he’s been phoning in for the past few years? I wanted to see a weakened, less formidable Quatermain, who needed to get his balls back, as was the case in the book. For Connery, this take could have been just the choice needed to amaze audiences at his continued range and endurance- ah, I forgot, it’s a “comic book” movie, and therefore a throwaway, so we are left with another blustering go-around with the grumpy, grizzled, world-weary Scot, which unfortunately does end up making him look old- not because he has lost any of the energy or style, but because his acting is wasted in unceasing repetition of this particular character.

Why do we have to sit through yet another fatigued action flick riddled with worn plot devices that we have already seen in countless films prior when there was a fascinating, innovative concept complete with blueprints and designs from a superior novel that was practically begging to be explored on the screen? Producer Don Murphy would have you believe that people did not want to see the imagery and violence from the graphic novel, and that the story would not translate itself onto the big screen to a broad audience without the changes the filmmakers made. Can’t have a merciless anti-establishment Nemo or a vulgar bloodthirsty Hyde frightening the kiddies, right? Wrong. Fuck the kids- that’s not the true demographic. Ask Bram Stoker, Jules Verne or Robert Louis Stephenson. Gotta have a young, American actor in the mix to get those teenage girls in the seats, right? Wrong. Fuck the Britney-clones- they were never seeing LXG in the first place since they have “2 Fast 2 Furious” to sate their simplistic needs. You want proof? I give you the flop that is LXG. All you get from compromising and simplifying material is shitty box office sales, an uninterested public, and a pissed-off fan base.

LXG is the product of laziness. It is bland, uninteresting and wasted. That is the gist of it, and really the source of my anger. Wasted potential infuriates me, as does the deliberate strip mining of a good idea to sell some tickets, make some cash, and move on to the next celluloid rape.

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originally posted: 12/30/03 07:51:58
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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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