The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
One of the lesser known comic adaptations of this year comes in the shape of the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (or LXG as it’s also known). Leading this league is Sean Connery and is clearly the star power behind this film.
Set in 1899 the film starts with a huge tank blasting its way into the Bank of England where a mysterious villainous character called The Phantom and his henchmen steal countless millions.
Cut to Africa where Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) is approached by the British Government to lead a team of highly specialised individuals in finding and stopping The Phantom from carrying out his nefarious plans to start a world war.
Back in England Quatermain is introduced to the head of British Intelligence, a man simply called M (shades of 007 here in an unsubtle gag). Quatermain is also introduced to the league that he is to lead. The league includes immortal Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), vampire Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), The Invisible Man (Tony Curran), Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde (Jason Flemyng), undersea explorer Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah) and American spy Tom Sawyer (Shane West).
Once the entire league is recruited, they set off after the Phantom and their hunt takes them around the world. Can they manage to stick together long enough to prevent the Phantom from starting a world war?
LXG is very reminiscent of Wild Wild West as both films have fantastical machines and devices light years ahead of the time period set, both are loud and action packed and finally both are duuuuuuuulllllllllllllll!
The characters in the league are all famous literature characters in their own right and the concept of bringing them together in an X-men style sounds good and works very well in the comic books, but in the film its just hackneyed. Why the film makers saw the need to add Tom Sawyer is lost, as it seems like a desperate attempt at adding a token American to appeal to the US audiences. He spends the whole time being an ‘aw-shucks’ type of character throughout the film. Some of the more interesting characters are wasted in the mishmash of trying to establish each character individually. Quatermain seems to have only two special abilities – shooting long range and punching people very hard. Naseeruddin Shah’s Nemo seems to have managed to become a nautical ninja complete with kung fu and swords. Also Dr Jekyll transforms into a Mr Hyde that is more Gorilla Hulk than anything else.
Performance wise they range from dull, to unbelievably camp. Sean Connery might be in his 70’s but still seems to enjoy punching people. Everyone else just seems to along for the ride and are there just to give the special effects to show off against. Speaking of which some of the special effects are so bad it’s scandalous for a film of this budget.
LXG suffers from two key problems; a very poor script and an almost total lack of any sort of chemistry or charisma between any of the characters. It does little to inspire any interest and as a result just ends up being instantly forgettable.
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