*** Official "THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This film had some great action scenes but in a word the film is a "mess". The movie is all over the map and some of the editing is just plain terrible. However, I had a relatively good time with it as long as I kept my senses about it being just a matinee escapade, otherwise, I can see where plenty of people including film critics, reviewers, and film snobs will have a big problem with this film.






    Crawdaddy
     
  3. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I quite enjoyed the film. I thought that the conceit of it was well executed - classic literary "stars" come together to create what would be the very first superhero team.

    I thought that it was beautiful to look at, and a lot of fun.

    I don't think there was terribly much to the story, but the characters were interesting, and their interactions were great.

    I was surprised, last night, at the number of people in the theater who had no prior knowledge of who Dorian Gray is.
     
  4. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen [​IMG][​IMG] (out of 5)


    You can usually tell the difference between filmmakers who respect comic books as source material vs. filmmakers who don't have a freakin' clue. The former example will generally make a good movie. The latter is content to produce a junkpile and run away with a healthy paycheck. Guess which camp The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen falls into?

    Based on the astoundingly cool graphic novel (see: expensive comic book) by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen could have had everything and the moon going for it: great literary characters gathered together in a pseudo-X-Men vibe, a swanky 1899 setting and a chance for several moments of kinetic action material.

    Alas director Stephen Norrington (Blade) proves himself untrustworthy with a $140 million budget, as the end result is a movie so bizarrely bad and hilariously bizarre that it almost defies description. LXG (to borrow the studio's acronym) may not be as bad as Wild Wild West or Rollerball - but those movies did cross my mind as LXG unspooled. And that's never a good thing.

    The movie starts out promisingly enough with legendary H. Rider Haggard adventurer Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) being enlisted to assist Britain in its battle against a mysterious new enemy. The goofily named Fantom hopes to spark a World War by attacking Germany and Britain at the same time while using technological weaponry that nobody's ever seen before.

    OK, so far I'm right there with the flick.

    After a rousing battle in an African adventurer's club, Quatermain agrees to help out, pausing briefly to gaze at his dead son's grave. That said gravestone is spelled incorrectly is the first hint of the lunacy to come. Once in Britain, Quatermain meets the rest of his league: vampiress Mina Harker, invisible thief Rodney Skinner, submarine captain Captain Nemo, U.S. Secret Service Agent (!?) Tom Sawyer and team co-ordinator M. After picking up two more freaks (the immortal Dorian Gray and the transmogrifying Dr. Jekyll) the crew is on its way to thwart the Fantom's evil schemes.

    Sounds pretty interesting so far!

    Then the wheels come off. Loudly, hilariously and just plain badly.

    It would take a Master's Thesis to accurately catalog what goes wrong after the opening 25 minutes of LXG, but here's just a few:

    -The action scenes look like something one would skip over in between the levels of an Xbox game. The CGI rendering veers from serviceable to stunningly awful at the drop of a hat, and some of the action sequences (including a soon-to-be-immortal race through the streets (?) of Venice) are quite simply impossible to comprehend. I'm not just talking about goofily illogical action scenes, but moments of strained kinetic camp so absolutely ridiculous that you'll be shaking your head in disbelief in between peals of incredulous giggling.

    -The flick looks as if it were edited in random order. One scene sees Connery tromping through Nemo's majestic Nautilus with a portfolio in his hand; the next sees him curiously outdoors as he does some oceanic skeet shooting; then BAM we're right back in the hallway with that stupid red folder again. Well-told stories progress from A to B to C. LXG goes from L to X to G. It's really just a big mess.

    -Aside from the ever-macho (even at 72!) Connery and a hardworking Peta Wilson (as the heroic lady vampire), everyone here looks completely lost. Stuart Townsend (Queen of the Damned) mopes and sashays through his Dorian Gray role, as poor Jason Flemyng (From Hell, coincidentally also based on a Moore/O'Neill comic) is forced to attain some credibility despite his wholly ridiculous Mr. Hyde alter-ego. (Anyone who's still griping about the CGI that brought The Hulk to life should get a kick out of seeing what Hyde looks like here. It ain't pretty.)

    --The pointless additions. For some arcane reason the filmmakers opted to add Sawyer and Gray into the film. (They were nowhere to be found in Moore's novels.) I suppose Sawyer's inclusion was meant to give the U.S. audiences someone to cheer, as if it would be impossible to adore heroes who have English accents. It's a flimsy gesture and it only helps to make this swollen turkey even more bizarre. (WHY would Tom Sawyer be a Secret Service Agent? And while we're on the WHY question: since when did Jules Verne's Captain Nemo become a Jackie Chan-style asskicker? It's fairly tough to enjoy popcorn entertainment when the words "WHY ARE THEY...?" and "WHAT THE HELL...?" are constantly cascading through your brain.)

    --The awful awful screenplay. I was about halfway through the film before I realized something: not ONE piece of spoken dialogue could be described as anything other than 'exposition' or 'hamfistedly harried exposition'. There's only so many times you can hear someone yell "We have to get him to the ship BEFORE the BOMB blows and the Fantom GETS AWAY!" and "Ah yes my name is Mina Harker, my husband is dead, he and a guy named Van Helsing once killed someone called Dracula and this was in Transylvania" before you realize you're being treated like an idiot.

    Despite the persistent production rumors that were floating about (Connery and Norrington hated one another, a nasty Prague flood caused millions in damage and a few others) I really did hold out some hope for this one. But sometimes all the harbingers of bad news are dead-on accurate, and it saddens me to say that this wonderfully cool concept is translated to cinema in criminally inept fashion.

    I rate it higher than Total Crap because Act I does offer a few solid thrills and the rest of the film delivers laugh after (unintended) laugh. It's rare to see so much sound and fury signifying so little actual entertainment.
     
  5. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    I don't remember the last time I saw a film so undeserving of the critical lambasting that The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman is getting.

    IMO, It is a completely entertaining film from beginning to end. It aims to please and it hits its mark more often than not. The story was your typical good vs. evil with literary twists. Sure the filmmakers took liberies with some characters, but I didn't mind them in the context of this film. The near sellout crowd I saw it with seemed to be having a really good time laughing and even cheering. I was completely surprised at this as I was expecting a small crowd and little interaction.

    The action scenes I thought were fun, and pretty much non-stop. However I will admit that at times the editing was a bit too hectic causing some confusion. I also suspect that there seems to have been some last minute editing causing some continuity errors. The visual effects were good, not great, with some shots that looked great and others that looked sloppy.

    Sean Connery was fine as Quatermain. H played him like an aging James Bond. The rest of the supporting actors were also
    solid and brought their characters to life vividly.

    I think it's really unfair to ths film to compare it to the likes of Wild Wild West, Avengers, etc.. It's nowhere in their league of badness, if you will.[​IMG]

    YMMV, of course, But I was pleasantly surprised. A solid recommendation. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] (out of four).
     
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I think this film has a decent beginning, and then suffers badly from the character development/interaction standpoint in trying to derive some form of "mystery" subplot as the LXG try to stem the tide from the backdrop plotline that sort of goes nowhere interesting.

    The actions scenes are chaotic, but nimble in some spots, while also being a bit too dark and murky to make out what's really going on.

    It was sort of hard to connect with almost any of the underwritten characters (though Connery tries hard to make us care about his Quartermain character and the promising lives he's seen cut short in his lifetime of adventures), and when the plot gets moving, there seemed to be some scenes cut that would have smoothed out the plot transitions.

    I give it 2 stars, or a grade of C, mainly for the action sequences.
     
  7. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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    I also had a good time with this film and I don't understand why it's being obliterated by the critics. People I watched it with last night that didn't even want to see it thought it was better than expected.

    Neil
     
  8. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    6.5 of 10

    The film and/or the script left me rather confused. How could a film that takes the time to reflect on the extremely gray nature of its protagonists' morals and backgrounds, as well as deftly drawing comparisons between them, also be a film that relies upon such heavy handed made-for-idiot filmmaking throwaway dialog like "the picture" when we have long since known the importance of that object.

    Time and again one of those gems pops in, and almost every time as an afterthought to the scene, even somewhat off-camera as though the dialog was looped in post-production.

    So was that the case, was this a good movie ruined by someone thinking the audience was too stupid to follow the plot? Perhaps.

    I also had problems with Norrington's direction, but only half the time. Again, go figure. Sometimes it plodded along and wasted a pretty good scene, like the opening (pre-Africa) action sequences that should have really grabbed the audience with a bang instead of a whimper. But other times a scene of action was played to its fullest.

    And then there is the CGI. Some of the stuff looked really good. Many other things had that "this is CGI, but I can live with it" look. But there are a few, one especially near the end, that are just "takes me out of the film" bad.

    What the film has going for it are great characters, characters that do get explored (and could have been even more with some smart but small changes), and good acting behind those characters. It also has a script that allows for many good laughs because of these personalities naturally coming together as an odd grouping of egomaniacs, or at least people very impressed with themselves (and for good reason).

    The story idea to drive it all is also a good concept, but again Norrington's telling of it leaves it limp, rather than vibrant and compelling. Don't get me wrong, there is still fun in the ride and I didn't regret seeing it. No, this is much more like the great-film-that-could-have-been than it is any sort of disaster.

    My crowd got several good laughs out of it and seemed entertained for a few hours. It's summer and this film fits that perfectly, somewhere between Mummy and Mummy Returns I think, but nowhere near Wild Wild West's insulting script or the confusion of The Avengers (I had to mention them since Scott said we would [​IMG] ).

    If only League were the worst example of dumbing down films we would be in a world of very good cinema. Instead its much more par for the course. It's also a film that will continue to gnaw at me for how great it could have been with (probably) a different director behind it, or whoever made some of those choices on scene titles and films-for-dummies dialog that was sprinkled about.
     
  9. Tony Stirling

    Tony Stirling Stunt Coordinator

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    [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    One word: y u c k

    Some more words: go see a better movie. There are quite a few decent ones out there right now. Don't waste your money on this one.

    tony
     
  10. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    A total turd. I was trying to think if it was crappy or shitty, but that just implies that is has the qualities of said excrement. It's the real deal. Which is such a shame as I wanted throughout to find something to like.

    Now, I had read the original comic, so I was prepared for all sorts of complications and baffling dialog if they wanted to really bask in the 19th century period. I was also prepared for the kind of action hero explosive scenes, even though that wasn't really a staple of the series.

    Instead it was just a total mess. In a total departure from his previous films (Blade and Death Machine, both favorites of mine), his action scenes are badly edited to the degree that it is easy to lose a sense of what you're seeing and make you appreciate the characters abilities even less. But it is edited so poorly, and multiple character battles are interspersed so badly that I couldn't even begin to have fun with the action scenes.

    I'm not above any changes to the original, so I had no problems with the addition of Dorian and Tom Sawyer. Of course, I would have preferred him to do more than be a younger version of Quartermain. In making this an action film, they had to abandon the concepts of Quartermain in the book. So instead we are provided with a pretty generic action character with very little real character to him. Mina Harker would have been a fun change as a vampire, but she is mostly just some defacto girl for Tom and Dorian to make gestures towards until and occasional useful vampire activity. Hyde was shown to be nothing but a happy participant in the group, despite the constant dialog to suggest that he was a dangerous element. The only one to come off with a bit more flair was the invisible man, simply of the occasional humorous gag.

    Story wise, it was so hard to find much that didn't feel amateurish. The bad guy, looking like a mongol version of Destro blows up some Zepplins for the heck of it. In some unbelievably silly action sequence, I'm rooting for the heroes to successfully bomb Venice? Jekyll has to change into Hyde so save the sinking submarine for what reason exactly? None of this supported despite the tons of awkward exposition and bad character motivations.

    I can appreciate that they were trying to take a different path with Hyde in not using much CG, but the end result was just hard to swallow most of the time. The Nautilus effects were adequate and better than they looked in the trailer, but nowhere near what most have come to expect given the quality we've seen over the past several years.

    In coming out, I thought about how this film could have been made better, but beyond having a strong script and better storyline, the whole premise is flawed. The characters are too esoteric for a casual audience to even know, while the film requires that the depth and humor be abandoned because it wouldn't translate. Perhaps with some deft direction to combine the material with a murder mystery and keep it low-key, but that wouldn't work given the summer blockbuster budget that seems to be required.

    All in all, a terrible execution of a bad idea.

    I'll give it 1/2[​IMG] because it was in focus and didn't have the camera at a tilt the entire movie.
     
  11. Tom Rags

    Tom Rags Supporting Actor

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    I don't know where to begin, but all I will say is that you should avoid this movie like the plague. I am so glad that someone else mentioned Wild Wild West earlier, because that it exactly what I was thinking after this movie. It is really that bad. I won't spoil all of the immense plot holes and "bashing things over your head" moments, but I will say that it would be a waste of one peso to see this one. Go see Pirates of the Caribbean or T3 again instead. Either would be far more entertaining.

    The one bright side is the ending. Not only is it exciting because it means that one can politely leave the theater, but it also is extremely funny. Unintentionally funny, but hilarious to be sure. It sort of beats over your head "sequal, sequal" in a very bizarre fashion (much in the same way that the '98 Godzilla did), but thankfully, none will ever be made (unless Hollywood has COMPLETELY lost it's collective mind). Shame on you 20th Century Fox, Shame on you.
     
  12. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

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  13. Travis_W

    Travis_W Supporting Actor

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    I had a fun time with this film. After the dissappointment that was 'Pirates of the Caribbean' I was ready for something like this. Maybe I'm just a sucker for oddball groups but I thought the characters worked great together. Wish we could have seen more of the Invisible Man...or known he was there since we couldn't have seen him...oh I give up.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of 5
     
  14. TommyT

    TommyT Stunt Coordinator

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    A total mess. The biggest problem I have is that it completely failed to capture the visceral intensity & intrigue of the graphic novel. Hyde was the biggest disappointment; he was captured much too easily & was much more gruesome in appearence & actions. Obviously the producers were shooting for a PG13 rating but they should've stuck w/the orig concepts of the characters in Alan Moore's story: Quartermain has become an opium addict lost in Cairo, Hawley Griffin (aka Invisible Man) was acting immorally at a girl's school in London, Hyde was committing uncontrollable murders in Paris & Mina Harker is the one who unites the League.

    Any other fans of the comic out there who were as disappointed as me?
     
  15. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    My review:

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
     
  16. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Uggh, this was worse than Dreamcatcher!

    ½ out of four stars

    But there is a good movie in here, unfortunately I think most of the problems are fan related. Internet fans have supposedly been wielding power, and had the writers or creative team behind this film been given a chance to work creatively with this material, we might have gotten a good movie. Unfortunately, as writers they're not allowed to eliminate characters, so we have a lot of useless people lying around here that just cause this film to be even more of a mess.

    The film starts off extremely campy, with the capture of the scientists and the flying newspapers, it puts a bad taste in your mouth that never really goes away. Things are promising with the introduction of Quartermain (most coherent action sequence here and its muddled), and then get campy again with the introduction of the league members. The action sequence at Gray's house only serves to show us that the villian is one royally stupid idiot (showing himself in person to a bunch of people that want to kill him), and nothing until the reveal of his identity might convince us he's not the most retarded villian ever. That brings us to the Nautilus and most of the problems with this film.

    God I wish they had gotten rid of Captain Nemo and everything related to him, the film would have been much improved. So the Nautilus shows up in the Thimes River, it surfaces behind our heros rising a good 200 feet above them (plus more below them). Then they ride the Nautilus out of the River, across the channel, up the Rhine into Paris, only to turn around again ride all the way around through the Canal into the Meditereanen and then following rivers from their up into Venice? That sounds like a good two weeks of trouble to me. Then they ride into Venice and its absolutely absurd, everything in this action sequence is terrible, just utterly terrible, and even Tom Sawyer doesn't get more than a scratch on the head from a horrific crash. We find out of a double cross here, but no real reveal of who M is until the end.

    Now they leave venice and then head around the entire world to take this massive ship into Asian rivers then into Mongolia. Good Lord this is an elaborate mess! There are so many convolutions and problems in trying to give each of the League members some importance that it sinks the entire movie.

    They do all this with the massive ship the Nautilus, yet could easily have gone by train to Venice in as much time, even Phileas Fogg did not take a ship from England to the Mediterraen, because it was much faster to merely cross the channel and go overland by train until he could get a ship from the far side of the mediterraen (I'm not sure it's been a while since I read AtWi80D).

    Get rid of Captain Nemo from the beginning and you solve most of the script problems in one fell swoop. That could immediately bring the narrative tighter by forcing them to stay in one general area: be creative about what their villian will be doing. But of course we can't get rid of Captain Nemo because the fans online will howl and beat theiir chests in horrible rage. Once Captain Nemo is gone you don't need Jekyll and Hyde and you've just slashed your budget in half with those two characters. Tom Sawyer would be disposable, but there is such a good dynamic between him, Mina, and Quartermain that he's worth keeping. Dorian makes an excellent addition, and you could keep the invisible man and he'd probably work because of his increased screen time. This brings the focus in on the key characters (all of which had the only worthwhile interaction) and immediately creates a more intimate and character centric work, it gives the audience something concrete to work with instead of confusing them for the first thirty minutes. Plus it means that the betrayals could have some sort of emotional resonance, and it would force a more crafty and elegant criminal than a megalomaniac with unlimited funds to build a factory in Mongolia.

    I didn't understand all the nonsense about having parts of the heros (other than Dorian's portrait), so I just won't mention the ludicrous, total nonsense, final action scene. Everything that takes place in the end of this scene is so utterly and completely predictable that I expected it from an hour earlier in the film.

    This film makes Armageddon look masterful and intelligent!

    Armageddon, at least, was well executed.


    I'm tired of writing how stupid and insulting this film was, so I won't go on any longer.

    Adam
     
  17. Dennis

    Dennis Second Unit

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    I agree with Tino here, he's pretty much on target.

    As some have said, I don't know why this movie is being trashed, it's not bad at all.

    Now, I didn't read the graphic novel so I can't say what went wrong but I found it to be very entertaining. I have read some complaints like Tom Sawyer driving an "automobile" immediately after taking a ride for the first time, characters jumping out out of same automobile racing down the street and landing on their feet, the Nautilus surfacing in the canals of Venice, bad CGI (Mr. Hyde-not happy with his appearance but it still looked more realistic than the Hulk), his silly-looking transformation (which I thought was rather well done), but I had no problem with any of those things, after all, we're also dealing with invisible men and vampires. I had more problems with Batman and Daredevil, two films based on characters that are supposedly normal human beings. I only had a problem with the editing which I thought could have used just a bit more restraint.

    Overall, a good movie and I would recommend it.
     
  18. TommyT

    TommyT Stunt Coordinator

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    If you had read the 1st installments of the novel, you'd see what the fans were talking about. Read it sometime & you'll see that this is a bad attempt at an adaptation. Like I said above, they've totally disregarded the intensity of the novel itself.
     
  19. Simon_Lepine

    Simon_Lepine Supporting Actor

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    The movie mt girlfriend and I were supposed to go see was sold out, so we took a chance with LXG despite the awful reviews.

    Probably because of very low expectations, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

    Yes the characters are mostly laughable, the editing/directing is awful with MTV style action scenes were you just don't have a clear clue what's going on. Even my girlfriend, who usually doesn't have much to say about camera work ,said 'The images were ugly, I could hardly see what was going on sometimes'.

    The Nautilus has to be the biggest sub ever, I was amazed at the size of the rooms in there, makes a mansion look small. Not a Das Boot type submarine here [​IMG]

    But I was expecting campy fun, and it mostly delivered. I thought the ending with the witch doctor was hilarious [​IMG]

    I give it 5/10
     
  20. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Considering I just saw it last weekend, I'm going to add my review.

    Before I start, a little backround. I'm a big fan of Moore's comic book. It is great stuff, making a bunch of heros out of a bunch of misfit liturature characters. I was pretty much prepared, tho, to not have anything closely resembling the comic with this adaptation. After all the poor reviews it got, I basically decided to wait until it reached the cheap theaters to see it.

    So, what did I get? A much better movie than I was expecting. I think, for the most part, it works.

    The best part of the film is the first half, when we get introduced to the characters of the team. They all shine here, showing what they all bring to the team. It is the closest this film comes to greatness.

    The additions to the team here also serve a purpose beyond just adding characters to the story. Dorian Gray is played wonderfully by Stuart Townsend. For me, he was the best character in the film, wonderfully smug and arrogant. The other role, Shane West's Tom Sawyer, is somewhat underdeveloped, but fills in nicely as a surragut son to Quartermain, and a love interest for Mina. Sure, we don't have the dynamic between Mina and Quartermain that we had in the book, but these are very different characters, and it worked well in this instance.

    I also was pretty impressed with the art direction of the film. I thought a lot of the sets looked wonderful, especially the hunting lodge in Africa, and Nemo's sub.

    What didn't I like? Well, as pointed out in other reviews, a good piece of the Venice trip is totally ridiculous. The villans of the film aren't very compelling, and the plan, in some cases, seems kinda stupid.

    That being said, calling this one of the worst pieces of film this year is a bit much, because I still found it entertaining for most of the length of the film. Too bad too, because I would have liked to have seen a sequel to see if they could have done better the next time around.

    6.5/10

    Jason
     

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