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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Review

By Joe Lozito

Ill Literature


When you read the following, I want you to keep in mind that I've seen "Battlefield: Earth" its entirety.

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" is easily one of the worst films I've ever seen. There is absolutely nothing to recommend about it. The script, performances, direction, special effects, editing, even costume design are all either outright terrible or naively ill-conceived. I don't even want to write about what's wrong with the film. I would need to recount each scene. I can't imagine how anyone involved, particularly "Blade" director Stephen Norrington, could think this movie was any good.

For a while I was willing to cut the film some slack, knowing that it was based on an acclaimed graphic novel from comic auteurs Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. But the film quickly squanders its pedigree on cheap action and dumbed-down characters. Thinking that American audiences wouldn't cotton to such 'obscure' figures as Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Mina Harker and Doctor Jekyll, the writers threw in Tom Sawyer for the kids. Like the rest of the cast, the grown-up Sawyer character has been manipulated to fit the story (he's an American CIA agent).

The film reaches the pinnacle of badness in its Venice sequence which is, in a word, sickening. Our "heroes" manage to squeeze Captain Nemo's ludicrously large submarine into the Venice canals (I've never been to Venice and I couldn't believe what I was seeing) just too late to stop the villain from detonating a bomb to sink the city. The explosion causes a series of buildings to collapse like dominos. How will the League stop the catastrophe? By blowing up yet another building before the shock wave reaches it. Don't ask. Also, don't ask why the villain wants to sink Venice.

The "League", or "LXG" as the studio tried to rename it in an effort to make this drivel palatable to audiences, is headed up by Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery, all macho bluster). The Quatermain character has been retooled from the comic to suit Connery's image. Regardless of his egregious use of stuntmen, Connery still holds his own on screen. But his Quatermain is almost too heroic. He never seems to be in danger. Early in the film as he's discovered on an African farm (instead of the comic's opium den), he proclaims, "In Africa, sweating is all we do." Of course, Connery is completely dry. God forbid he's shown to be weak.

But I'm nitpicking now. Connery's performance would be fine in a different movie. Like, say, "The Rock" or "Highlander"…or even "Highlander 2". Save yourself the time, read the graphic novel. I haven't even read it and I know it's better than this film. Anything would be.

What did you think?

Movie title The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Release year 2003
MPAA Rating PG-13
Our rating
Summary Shockingly awful, insultingly stupid adaptation of the graphic novel which sees a group of literary characters team up for...oh, never mind.
View all articles by Joe Lozito
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