Tuesday, February 10, 2004

"Just Imagine..."


A Film Review of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Seeing as how The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is based on a comic book (or graphic novel for you snobs who don't read comic books) I'll reference an old comic book ad. "Just Imagine." It was usually used to promote any comic like World's Finest or Justice League of America where your favorite superheroes teamed up.

That's what The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is like. It's a literary hero team up. Just imagine… Alan Quatermain, the Invisible Man, the Bride of Dracula, Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Captain Nemo and Tom Sawyer… all in one film together. These literary legends come together to stop a world war in 1899.

It's a very dark movie which I don't usually mind. Some of my favorite flicks are dark like Tim Burton's Batman and the original The Crow. The problem with LXG is with the few daylight scenes we get are positively breathtaking. One has to wonder why we couldn't have more.

The violence is excessive but not excessively bloody or gory which is refreshing movies nowadays. The action scenes however are shaky, unclear and annoyingly frenetic. Stephen Norrington gets an "F" for bad direction.

The special effects are impressive - except for the CGI which is mostly the grotesquely muscled Mr. Hyde. I felt his appearance unnecessary and his unnerving transformation even more so. I could have done without.

The performances are all excellent, especially Sean Connery. When has he ever made a bad movie? Even in Zardoz and the Highlander films he's the best thing in them.

The real highlights are the interactions between the legends which are few and far between. I could have stood this flick being longer if we had gotten more of these moments.

This movie is terrific even though it has gotten some bad reviews from critics. I can only guess they didn't like it because they don't read and had no idea who any of these characters are.

High concept, cool idea, great movie. I loved it. See it.

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