League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a film I was always intrigued by. I might be aliterate, but I do enjoy knowing things about literature. The idea of an aging soldier / hero working together with various literary characters to battle some type of evil force could’ve been cool.

It wasn’t.

Not at all.

Sean Connery was good, as always. I’m sure someday I’ll see him in a role that he doesn’t do well with, but that didn’t happen here. He plays the leader of the group, a retired gunman with great combat skills. I can’t particularly remember how it came about, but somewhere in the first dozen minutes of the film he’s approached about joining a team being assembled, and because the bad guys bring the fight to his remote part of Africa, he fights some of them off in a well-executed and mostly believable fight scene.

The rest of the team is where I have my problem. In some cases it’s the fault of the writing that I don’t like the characters. In other cases it’s the acting. In one case it’s the special effects. Not one area can be blamed completely for the issues that make this a terrible movie.

Though I admittedly don’t read too frequently, one book I did enjoy was The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the inclusion of the titular character as part of the LEAGUE was an intriguing part of the film. The portrayal of the character by Stuart Townsend was decent, as was the writing of both action and dialogue pertaining to Dorian. The special effects used for Gray were really good. I won’t say anything more than that, because I would suggest reading The Picture of Dorian Gray before watching this movie. Try to avoid spoilers of the novel if possible.

Captain Nemo, who almost acts as a side character, is another decent part of this film. He displays awesome fighting skills in short spurts from time to time (though usually only as a sidenote) and captains the ship they use to track the bad guys (the special effects for the ship – The Nautilus – were alright, but they didn’t really establish how large the vessel was, making it HUGE in some scenes and manageable in other scenes). Had he been more of a central figure, the movie would’ve benefited.

The choice of Tom Sawyer as a character was almost lame. I’m sure most people aren’t familiar with the book “Tom Sawyer, Detective”. I’m certainly not, and so I wasn’t aware of any character development beyond the immature kid from the Huck Finn novel. This movie has him as an agent for the Secret Service, quite adept at using pistols. Sean Connery’s character basically becomes a father figure to Tom Sawyer in this movie, and any potential sequels to LEAGUE would likely focus on Sawyer. The acting wasn’t terrible in this case, and there weren’t any special effects surrounding the character. It’s the choice of the character at all which bothers me.

The special effects for The Invisible Man were pretty cool. It’s hard to say whether the role was well acted because the character literally wasn’t on screen much. Pardon the pun, because I don’t mean “visually” on screen, I mean that the character wasn’t in as many scenes as the other side-characters.

Peta Wilson played a vampiric character, but she didn’t do a good job with it. She was too dramatic with it, and she didn’t particularly deliver her lines all that well. The special effects with this character were split. The scenes where she turned into bats were interesting, but anything else was over the top. I could’ve done without this character completely, though I’m not sure what female literary character I would’ve replaced her with (not that I have an extensive literary knowledge pool to pick from). If you’re anti-Vampire and that’s the only reason keeping you from seeing this film, (I can’t believe I’m saying this) the role doesn’t take up enough space in the film to be considered a deciding factor in whether or not this film should be viewed.

I didn’t like the special effects involved with the Dr. Jekyll character, either. It came across very over the top, taking away from what could’ve been an interesting character. They made him almost like a deranged Incredible Hulk. It went way beyond the Split Personalities concept in the original book, and although that could’ve been okay, they made it too absurd.

I don’t regret having seen it, because it did feed my long-time curiousity and there were a few decent action scenes, but it was a major let down and I wouldn’t recommend that anyone spend money on it. TiVo / DVR? Sure, just so long as it doesn’t stop you from watching something which might be moderately good.

I will get the comic book / graphic novel, as the reviews and synopsis I’ve read about it sound much better than the movie.


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