Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc One: Audio commentary by producers
Don Murphy and Trevor Albert, and actors Jason Flemyng, Tony Curran
and Shane West. Audio commentary by Jacqueline West, John Sullivan
and Matthew Gratzner.
Disc Two: Pre production featurettes: Matters of Pre-Visualisation;
Stills Gallery; Production documentaries: Assembling The League;
17 deleted and extended scenes; Post-production featurettes: Behind
The Fantasy; European premieres; 3 trailers; 12 TV Spots. Posters.
For a film which boasts such an extraordinary premise, the disappointment
that is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is all the more
For starters, it squanders the potential offered by its scenario,
while seeming content to perform well within itself, thereby turning
what should have been one of cinemas blockbuster thrill-rides,
into a fairly routine adventure that never fully realises what
it is aiming to be.
Sean Connery heads this particular league, as legendary adventurer,
Allan Quatermain, who is set the task of stopping The Fantom,
a madman bent on world domination, with the help of seafarer/inventor
Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), vampiress, Mina Harker (Peta
Wilson), an invisible man named Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran),
American secret service agent, Tom Sawyer (Shane West), the ageless
and invincible Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), and the dangerous
split personality of Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde (Jason Flemyng).
The ensuing quest takes them around the world, and places them
in all sorts of danger, before the inevitable face/off with their
nemesis, and an effects-laden finale.
Yet anyone anticipating the start of a franchise in the X-Men
mould, for instance, is likely to be sorely disappointed, for
this is curiously lacking in the charisma, or spectacle, of better
graphic/comic novel to film translations.
The film has clearly suffered from the bickering between director,
Stephen Norrington, and star and executive producer, Connery,
which, according to certain reports, virtually escalated to blows,
and remains a curiously lacklustre affair which, while nowhere
near as bad as the word from America suggests, seldom feels like
the romp it should be.
The use of legendary fictional characters such as Quatermain
and Mr Hyde should have provided plenty of ammunition for Norrington
and the scriptwriters to have fun with, yet aside from Townsends
suitably suave Dorian Gray, and Wilsons vamp, the league
members are a dull bunch, who seem merely content to utter their
lines in between each burst of action.
The inclusion of Wests gun-ho American, Tom Sawyer, also
does the film no favours, given that he doesnt appear in
the novels, and was only put in for the American market, while
Connery does what he can with the one-liners, but is ill-served
by a poor script that fails to deliver the type of quip that his
Bond persona would have done with relish.
And while the special effects are good in terms of the characters
and their powers, they are not so impressive during the main set
pieces, which arrive thick and fast without ever managing anything
Fears that the film may have provided Connery with another blockbuster
misfire in The Avengers mode prove unfounded, however, for this
does at least entertain for the right reasons. Its just
that it may be better appreciated on a small screen in the run-up
to Christmas, in the mid-afternoon, rather than on the Big Screen,
where it really ought to have thrived.