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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Movie Review

originally posted many years ago

In an alternate universe, Victorian England and the world is on the verge of war in 1899. Evil forces led by someone known as 'The Phantom', who unbeknownst to the nations of the world, is playing them against each other in an effort to bolster weapons sales thus making him rich and powerful.

With England and the world in peril, a mysterious figure known as M (Richard Roxburgh) summons a team of talented individuals to save England and the world. The team is led by Allan Quartermain (Sean Connery), who is reluctantly drawn back into action after tragic events have left him bitter about his past adventures and service to England.
Joining Quartermain is a motley mix of individuals with checkered pasts and unique talents. There is Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), a pirate with amazing technologies and a devoted crew at his disposal. There’s also Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), a petty thief who also happens to be invisible – the immortal and flamboyant Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), the seductive yet deadly vampire Mina Harker (Peta Wilson) – the tormented Dr. Jekyll (Jason Flemyng) and American secret agent Tom Sawyer (Shane West).

The group sets off for Venice to save a delegation of leaders from attack and despite some misgivings about each other, they are impressed about the fantastic Nautilus sub that Nemo has constructed. It is at this point that the film takes a sharp turn into the absurd-even by action film standards. Events unfold in a spectacle of energy and motion, yet leave all semblance of credibility by the wayside.

Take it from me that a giant submarine could not navigate the canals of Venice, nor could an automobile drive around Venice, much less do what this one did. Now that may seem to be nit picking but if you see the context of the scene, you would understand that it does seem rather silly; another example is henchmen lining the rooftops to prepare an attack when all the building around them are being destroyed.

Numerous reports during the production spoke of a cast in crisis, as the shoot went on far longer than expected and that tensions on the set were very high-especially between Connery and director Stephen Norrington. That being said, the film can be entertaining in parts. Most people may not get all of the references to classic literary characters that the film contains, and fans of the graphic novel-which the film is based upon-may take some issue with the film adaptation.

The film will be received differently by different people; it is very easy to note the absurdity of the plot, continuity errors, and actors that seem at times to be going trough the motions. One can also say that it is a silly, yet fun romp that isn’t meant to be taken seriously. 20th Century Fox is currently in production with a sequel, hinting that they see League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as a franchise; that being said, if you want a no-brainer summer popcorn film, then League of Extraordinary Gentlemen may just be your cup of tea.

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