Film | The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Review

Prepare for the Extraordinary

Sean Connery, Tony Curran, Naseeruddin Shah, Stuart Townsend, Shane West, and Peta Wilson in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

Director: Stephen Norrington

Starring: Sean Connery, Stuart Townsend, Peta Wilson, Naseeeruddin Shar, Jason Flemyng, Tony Curran

Genre: Action/Fantasy

Release Date: October 17th 2003

Certificate: 12A

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG) assembles some of British literatures greatest ever heroes including Allan Quatermain (Connery), Captain Nemo (Shah) Invisible Man Rodney Skinner (Curran), Dorian Grey (Townsend), Tom Sawyer (West) and Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde (Flemyng) on a mission to stop a madman starting a world war.

Sean Connery, Shane West, and Peta Wilson in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

Based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name, LXG can easily be seen as the steampunk precursor to The Avengers or Justice League, after all, The Hulk is just a modern Mr Hyde.

It’s been over ten years since I last watched this film and figured it was about time I gave Sean Connery’s last film another watch, after all, I can hardly remember much of the film and like a few of the other bargain bin films I’ve picked up recently, it might be a diamond in the rough.

2003 was a great year for sci-fi, fantasy and action films, two Matrix sequels, LOTR Return of the King and Terminator 3 all took great numbers at the box office, with Disney releasing their fish-based adventure this year, LXG wasn’t even the only film with a character called Nemo, the makers were always going to be up against it when it came to making enough money to be a success and get the sequels that were hinted at throughout.

That being said, given the quality of the actors involved and the characters they are playing, you would expect enough people to show an interest that if the film is well made then you never know, sadly however this didn’t turn out to be true and after watching the film I can see that it does suffer from a couple issues that meant unfairly LXG didn’t even make it into the top 10 grossing films of the year.

Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, and Stuart Townsend in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

The first of the issues that plague LXG is the CGI quality, now I know that it has gotten a lot better over the last decade but as seen in LOTR and Terminator it was certainly better at the time than what we end up being treated too, not only is some of it bad but also a little distracting.

Nextly, another of the issues is just how much the film hopes you have read the books in which the characters come from, thus knowing their backstories and this understanding their motivations, without that they come off a little one dimensional apart from Connery’s character Allan Quartermain, who is the only one with anything of a character arc and even that wasn’t particularly impressive, it’s no wonder he decided to retire after this role.

Stuart Townsend and Peta Wilson in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

That isn’t to say that the film doesn’t contain some good points that make it somewhat enjoyable to watch. The action scenes that run throughout are exciting to watch and keep the film moving along at a good pace. Even without much in the way of development, all the characters are engaging to watch and it’s clear to see that the actors had fun in their roles.

Another of the films enjoyable aspects is the visuals, the CGI might be limited, but it doesn’t mean that the makers didn’t manage to create an imaginative and interesting world, which would have been fun to have seen expanded on in sequels and spin off’s, unfortunately, this wasn’t to be, so, for now, we will have to make do with the excellent graphic novel series

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen feels like a film that came out both too early and too late, the action side of the film is very reminiscent of films that came out in the late ’90s such as The Mummy and Mystery Men, while the aspect of bringing characters from different pieces of work and combining them in a single universe feels more reminiscent of what Marvel and DC have been doing over the last 10 years or so, either way, LXG was and still remains just okay, which really is a shame given all they could have done with the core material.

If you liked: Justice League, Van Helsing, The Mummy (1999)


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