League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence, language and innuendo.
Starring: Sean Connery, Stuart Townsend, Shane West, Jason Flemyng
Directed By:Stephen Norrington

Final Grade:

When it comes to reviewing movies, very few times do I find myself getting the chance to review superhero movies here on Box Office Boredom. Our Superhero guru, The Mike usually snatches up every superhero movie he can get his paws on, but when the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen opened this weekend, some how I got the chance to check it out.

Possibly one of the worst Marketed films of the summer season, this flick couldn’t even decide what its name was. Multiple times it was referred to simply as “The League” before being called by their full title “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” before being shortened on posters and previews to LXG. No one knew what this movie really was called, and sadly enough that was the beginning marketing blow for this film.

Our second marketing problem was no one knew anything about the members of the League. Few people were acquainted with the members and their pasts; all of them are based off of famous literary works. But in a media dominated world, where kids don’t read nearly as many of the classics that they used to, the characters are a mumbo jumbo of misguided misfits who are merely trying to be the next group of super heroes.

The plot is for this flick is thin, but it isn’t the disposable plot that makes our movie not quite up to par. In fact the plot is simple enough that the average moviegoer can sit back and relax, and try to focus on the real story, the characters. The League is constructed of a great hunter Alan Quatermain, A vampire, an invisible man, the legendary Captain Nemo, The immortal Dorian Gray, and a young American named Tom Sawyer. They are brought together by a mysterious man named “M” to try and stop an evil super villian from starting a world war. Each of them alone could not defeat this villain, but their powers combined make for one action packed adventure.

Casting for this movie was actually a high point for this film. Although the actors are a group of lesser-known actors other than Sean Connery, they still do a great job. The young Shane West, who many know from the Mandy Moore Flick, A Walk to Remember, does a nice job with what he has to work with. Connery as always bullies his way through the script with certain gruffness, bitterness and suave that only a man of his caliber could provide. Stuart Townsend turned out to be a shocker in this flick, as his role of Dorian Gray was actually quite well played. Despite an extremely cheesy line, complete with him muttering the word “growl” Townsend proved that he could stand out amidst the likes of the screen dominating giant we all know as Sean Connery. The only man that could have done a better job as Dorian Gray may have been Johnny Depp, who can be seen as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, which also came out this week.

Unfortunately there were some actors that were wasted in the film as well. It felt as though the character of the invisible man was wasted, even though his character’s mysterious disappearing act turns out to make sense in the end. Captain Nemo’s character was never really fully explored (for some reason I kept thinking he was suddenly going to reveal himself as Tony Schaloub hidden beneath a giant beard). And the character of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde was the biggest wasted character. Jeckyll’s alter ego Mr. Hyde looked more like a cross between the incredible hulk, professional wrestler “The Rock” and fat bastard from the Austin Powers series instead of the “bad side” of a tormented man.

Our actors proved to be a strong suit, despite the pointless plot, but the setting was also a treat. The costuming, and the 1900’s setting were wonderfully constructed, and although you could tell they were a great deal computer generated, they are still some nice 1900’s eye candy none the less. Each of the character costumes was fun and inventive and added to the films over all pointless yet kind of fun plots.

Unfortunately Hollywood went astray when it came to action sequences. The camera work and special effects were a mess. When we actually did see action it looked incredibly fake and almost made you chuckle to yourself. The rest of the time you saw a lot of quick flashes from character to character fighting amidst gunfire and destruction. It wouldn’t have been so bad had they just slowed down and let you actually see what was going on, and let it soak in before jumping to the next scene. When it came to action scenes this film was a visual mess; there is no argument that could persuade me any differently.

In the end, this film will receive a lot of criticism for it lack of creativity, character development, plot and a visual mess, but it doesn’t really deserve all of the negative criticism. If given the chance the film isn’t any more pointless and fun than other summer blockbusters of years past like Charlie’s Angels or Men in Black. It’s not Oscar quality and it doesn’t try to be. It’s about pointless action and fun with a group of characters many people grew up reading about. Unfortunately Hollywood forgot to really point that out when they developed the characters, leaving us with a film that could be so much more but in the end is a mediocre film that may be filled with extraordinary gentlemen and extraordinary ideas, but not extraordinarily good.

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