League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

5 out of 10


League of Let Down Expectations

Based on an Alan Moore comic, and directed by Stephen Norrington of Blade fame. The movie takes place in Victorian England, near the turn of the 20th century. A series of devastating attacks with technological machines by a mysterious villain has set the world’s super powers at each other’s throats, and threatens the outbreak of a World War. The British Empire is still strong and the Queen sends out a representative to recruit a League of Extraordinary Gentleman, who happen to be literary characters of the time. Allan Quatermain, an aging adventurer who spends in time in Africa, is approached first and meets up with the others in London. The team consists of Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, Rodney Skinner, Dorian Grey, Tom Sawyer and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Mina is the widow of the late Jonathan Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Skinner stole the invisibility serum and went on a crime spree and was finally apprehended and Tom Sawyer works for the United States Secret Service and is on loan from them. They recruit the reluctant Dorian Grey, who for some reason is indestructible and they apprehend Jekyll & Hyde in the streets of Paris and convince him to join their team.

Their first mission brings them to Venice where a summit of world leaders is being held and they have to stop the enigmatic Phantom from bringing down the house, from the bottom up. A saboteur is discovered and the Phantom reveals himself in a sound recording that also sets off a series of explosions on board the Nautilus. The gentlemen, plus one ‘lady’ follow a trail to Asia where they find a factory that produces the machines of war. The Phantom has also managed to get blood samples of the Extraordinary League and is putting serums of invisibility, vampirism, and Dr Jekyll’s transformation serum on the action block, with the machines of war, to every country at the highest bid. The villains all get their comeuppance and the ending is wide open for a sequel.

I found the scenery quite impressive. The setting was quite dark, and the expansive scenes of London in the grips of industrialism were quite well done. Venice and Paris were also breath taking, and there was a dark feel to the whole movie, and gritty as well. The Nautilus, Captain Nemo’s submarine was 5 stories high and as long as the Titanic. The interior set design was even more spectacular: it is a mixture of Indian and Victorian styles. I had a problem with the computer generated Mr. Hyde, it looked fake, which is a shame because I have seen what can be done, and they failed.

The best bit of acting came from Tony Curran, who played the invisible man, and we hardly ever see him. I am a big fan of Sean Connery, but it seemed like he was stuck in his James Bond mode, only someone forgot to tell him he is no longer agent 007. I have seen him in spectacular roles over the years and this performance did not live up to my expectations. I found the humor lacking and the action was somewhat simple, apart from Captain Nemo and his swordplay and martial arts.

Overall LXG is nothing better than another piece of summer fluff thrown at us by the studios, go on a cheap night, and leave your expectations at home.

Another disappointing hyped up summer block buster.

Film Critic: Jamie Belair