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The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Starring: Sean Connery, Stuart Townsend
Director: Stephen Norrington
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: July 2003
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Peta Wilson, Shane West, James Babson, Tony Curran, Jason Flemyng, Tom Goodman-Hill, Richard Roxburgh, David Hemmings, Max Ryan, Naseeruddin Shah, San Shella

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

When a major studio, big-budget action-adventure is as dreary and dismal as this, it's often interesting to dissect its various elements and discover what went wrong.

Based on the graphic novel (i.e.: comic book) by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, the story assembles adventurer Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery), Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), "Invisible Man" Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (Jason Flemyng), Tom Sawyer (Shane West), and Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), a Dracula-inspired vampire. It's 1899 when they're summoned by Britain's Secret Agent M (Richard Roxburgh) to sail to Venice, Italy, to battle a powerful enemy known only as The Fantom.

While these living legends have colorful reputations, they're uniformly dull - with the notable exception of Quatermain, who struggles valiantly to turn the American lad into a surrogate son. Working from a clumsy, confusing, convoluted script by James Dale Robinson, director Stephen Norrington ("Blade") seems totally at a loss with how to connect with the actors at his disposal. As a result, emotional relationships between the misfit characters are non-existent. And it's impossible to suspect disbelief when the special effects are this silly. "The Invisible Man" is just an actor in white-face makeup and - even with a comic book mentality - one cannot conceive how the gigantic "Nautilus" submarine could skim undetected through the narrow Venetian canals, nor how everyone is able to drive cars. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" is a ponderous, inconsequential 3. Is it possible that the vision of producer Don Murphy ("From Hell") was actually to dumb-down a comic book?

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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