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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Director Stephen Norrington's 2003 adventure film loosely based on the comics.

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A mixed bag that never quite adds up.

  • Jul 11, 2003
  • by
Pros: Some may like the FX

Cons: Continuity errors, Some big plot and logic holes.

The Bottom Line: Some may like it, but it is a film with issues that is badly in need of guidance and structure.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

In an alternate universe, Victorian England and the world is on the verge of war in 1899. Evil forces led by someone known as The Phantom who unbeknownst to the nations of the world is playing them against each other in an effort to bolster weapons sales thus making him rich and powerful.

With England and the world in peril, a mysterious figure known as M (Richard Roxburgh), summons a team of talented individuals to save England and the world. The team is led by Allan Quartermain (Sean Connery), who is reluctantly drawn back into action after tragic events have left him butter about his past adventures and service to England. Joining Quartermain is a motley mix of individuals with checkered pasts and unique talents. There is Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), a pirate with amazing technologies and a devoted crew at his disposal, Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), a petty thief who also happens to be invisible, The immortal and flamboyant Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), The seductive yet deadly vampire Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), the tormented Dr. Jekyll (Jason Flemyng), and American secret agent Tom Sawyer (Shane West).

The group sets off for Venice to save a delegation of leaders from attack and despite some misgivings about each other; they are impressed about the fantastic Nautilus sub that Nemo has constructed. It is at this point that the film takes a sharp turn into the absurd, even by action film standards. Events unfold in a spectacle of energy and motion yet leave all semblance of credibility by the wayside. Take it from me, a giant submarine could not navigate the canals of Venice, not could an automobile drive around Venice, much less do what this one did. Now that may seem to be nit picking but if you see the context of the scene you would understand that it does seem rather silly, such as henchmen lining the rooftops to prepare an attack when all the building around them are being destroyed.

There are a few moments where the characters try to be broadened such as Quartermain taking Sawyer under his guidance as a surrogate for his lost son, and the tension between Gray and Harker over unresolved issues from their past. However the film soon reverts back to a silly popcorn adventure.

Numerous reports during the production spoke of a cast in crisis as the shoot went on far longer than expected and that tensions on the set were very high especially between Connery and Director Stephen Norrington. That being said the film can be entertaining in parts. Most people may not get all of the references to classic literary characters that the film contains, and fans of the graphic novel which the film is based upon may take some issue with the film adaptation. The film will be different things to different people. It is very easy to note the absurdity of plot, continuity errors, and actors that seem at times to be going trough the motions. Once can also say it is a silly yet fun romp that is not meant to be taken seriously. Fox is said to be in production of a sequel and that they see “LXG as a franchise. That being said, if you want a no-brainer summer popcorn film then “LXG” may just be your cup of tea.

3 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach


International Association of Film Critics



Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More The League of Extraordinary Ge... reviews
Quick Tip by . September 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Probably one of the easiest of Alan Moore's works to adapt, it's also probably one of the least successful for screwing up the tone of the original comic.
review by . September 22, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
This is a perfect movie should one choose to teach a course on how to fail at successfully adapting a screenplay from another work.    This film is a hideous, horrible mess. It doesn't play well, it doesn't look good, it's poorly writen, badly directed and has plot holes you could sail the Nautalis through.    It's a pity, cause the source materiel for this was an excellent graphic novel called, oddly enough, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1. …
review by . April 05, 2004
"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" is a decent flick. It seems somewhat crammed together and I agree with other reviewers that some of the characters seemed forced on the viewer. Connery does a good job here, but I think that he could have done much better with a stronger script and a better supporting cast. The Invisible Man is likeable, and Dorian Gray is one of the better nasties I've seen in awhile. Peta Wilson as Mina Harker doesn't add up for some reason. There are a lot of holes in her …
review by . March 30, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: ......     Cons: .......     The Bottom Line: ___________           This didn’t wow people or receive great reviews, which is probably why I liked it. There is just something about Sean Connery, I think he is at the point in his acting career where he is doing things that he just enjoys and that reflects in the film.      I will admit there are some strange bed partners in this production: …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #111
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


Stephen Norrington's THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN begins in 1899 London where, due to some cataclysmic events in England and Germany, the world is on the brink of war. Mycroft Holmes (Richard Roxburgh) is sent by the British government to round up various figures from Victorian-era literature in an attempt to find some solution. First on the list is explorer Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery), quickly installed as leader of the ramshackle outfit. Among the plethora of mythical figures joining Quatermain are The Invisible Man, Captain Nemo, Jekyll and Hyde, Dorian Gray, and many others. Initially the League are sent to Prague to prevent a series of bombs from exploding, causing some spectacular set pieces as the merry band of rogues use all their special skills to fend off the evil forces. This is only the start of their journey however, and there are plenty of surprises for these courageous battlers, not least when they discover who is really behind all the chaos they have tried so hard to control....
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Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: July 11, 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 1hr 50min
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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