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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
2003 - PG-13 - Mins.
Director: Stephen Norrington
Producer: Trevor Albert
Written By: James Robinson
Starring: Sean Connery, Peta Wilson, Stuart Townsend, Tony Curran, Jason Flemyng
Review by: Greg Ursic
In the twilight months of the 19th Century a madman known as “The Phantom” kidnaps the brightest minds of the time to develop the next generation of weapons. Using this newfound arsenal, this evildoer carries out a series of attacks calculated to both the plunge the world’s superpowers into a global conflict and produce a market ripe for arms dealing. A group of “heroes” - each with his or her own special talents - dubbed the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, is drawn together to halt the impending cataclysm. As with all intrigue, some things are not what they seem, and betrayal is an essential element of the game.

Unlike “The Hulk” or “Daredevil” – well-known comic heroes with a long lineage - “The“League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” is a graphic novel, a niche market in the comic biz. While the title may not spark instant recognition, the characters within undoubtedly will, drawn as they are from literature: Allan Quartermain, Mina Harrker, and Dr. Jekyll but to name a few. The movie, however bears only passing resemblance to Alan Moore’s graphic novel and includes “extra” characters that appear to have been added to give an American angle (to boost potential box office?)

If you enjoy watching Sean Connery manhandle people, then you will be well served: not since his days as Bond, James Bond (the one, the only in my humble opinion) has Connery kicked this much butt. As crusty Allan Quartemain, Connery is truly in his element, delivering gruff lines and flippant humor (“My, that was naughty’) almost single-handedly carrying the film. Peta Wilson is appealing as Mina Harker, the devoted wife turned vamp by none other than the toothy Transylvanian Count. Detemrined to be a force for serving good, she’s not averse to stopping for a snack if the situation presents itself (while Buffy might not approve they are bad guys after all aren’t they?). Stuart Townsend is dashing and debonair as Dorian Grey, but, much like the film itself, lacks any real substance.

TLOEG (you try typing the title a few times…) suffers because there is so little to it: the story is weak, rambling and ultimately fails to stimulate your interest. This is exacerbated by characters that don’t mesh well, or simply don’t make sense (sorry, but accepting Tom Sawyer as a Secret Service agent is up there with believing in Santa Claus, and responsible government), lame, lifeless dialogue, and special effects that are of notoriously variable quality. Add misguided uber villains, horribly telegraphed surprises and an abysmal attempt at a sequel inspiring ending and there is little to root for.

This film should have been titled the Justice League 1900 – extremely ordinary guys and gal. If you are a huge fan of the graphic novel, you’ll undoubtedly be hugely disappointed. If not, why bother at all?

Matinee it at your own risk.
Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

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