The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

by Alan Rapp on October 6, 2020

in Home Video

  • Title: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • IMDb: link

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie reviewThrowback Tuesday takes back at 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Adapted from the comic by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, the film takes place at the end of the 19th Century when a terrorist organization begins pushing countries to a world war. Tasked to prevent such an outcome, a select team is put together including professional big game hunter and adventurer Allan Quartermain (Sean Connery), Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), vampire scientist Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), invisible thief Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), immortal doucebag Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), Dr. Henry Jekyll and his monstrous alter-ego (Jason Flemyng), and tagging along for the ride is uninvited American Agent Tom Sawyer (Shane West).

Although the film did well enough internationally to earn back more than double its costs, it had mixed reaction from both fans and critics (and Connery even stated it was a deciding factor in his decision to retire). The convoluted screenplay by James Robinson overcomplicating what should be a straightforward action adventure certainly didn’t do the project any favors.

It’s hard to look back at The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as anything more than a mixed bag. The film does boast an impressive production design; the look of the film holds up well nearly two decades later. Despite Connery being the only star on the marquee, the cast isn’t one of the film’s larger flaws. Likewise, the effects used for both the Jekyll/Hyde transformation and that of the Invisible Man were handled fairly well.

If only the script hadn’t failed what otherwise seems to have been a rather respectable enterprise. Despite the script’s limitations, the film does offer its share of flair and fun. Robinson doesn’t even bother to name the terrorist organization (which boasts an absurd armory, even for comic book action flick), and the film’s villain (even before the cutesy-twist) is a big misfire. Then there’s the logic, or lack thereof, of putting a team like this together as a ruse to extract information and genetic samples (which could have been done individually, since they obviously had access to all the Gentlemen prior to forming the team). It’s also notable that the film marks the last feature directed by Stephen Norrington who may have shouldered more this his share of the film’s failings.

Over the years, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has been released multiple times on both DVD and Blu-ray and is currently available on multiple streaming platforms.

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