Sunday, July 13, 2003

Okay, my biggest complaint about the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen isn't that it takes huge liberties with a comic that I really, really enjoy. I had expected that, and to be honest, after just a few minutes into the movie, I had pretty much stopped comparing the two and accepted this as something completely separate. In fact, when the movie suddenly veered back to the comic and revealed the surprise identity of the master villain, I was actually caught off guard, because I hadn't expected them to suddenly become faithful to the source material. No, the big problem is that it's just ordinary.

It's pretty sad when you've got a movie featuring Allan Quartermain, Mina Harker from Dracula, Captain Nemo, Dorian Gray, Tom Sawyer, the Invisible Man, and Doctor Jeckyll/Mr Hyde, and come away feeling like it could have starred any six action heroes. But that's exactly what happens here. Sean Connery is just fine playing yet another bad-arsed aging, jaded, world-weary tough guy called back into the fray for one last battle, forced to grudgingly help/work with a bunch of younger partners... you know, just like EVERY OTHER FUCKING MOVIE HE'S BEEN IN FOR THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS. He plays the part just fine, but at this point, these roles should be an autopilot setting for him. Naseeruddin Shah manages to bring a certain amount of heroism and dignity to the role of Captain Nemo, but every review I've read just talks about his beard. Jason Flemyng, as Dorian Gray, appears to be channeling Johnny Depp.

Ultimately, how pedestrian and unimaginative the movie is feels summed up in the lack of use of the Invisible Man. The most obviously gimmicky character in the whole ensemble, and the movie gives him nothing to do. Instead, we get car chases, explosions, gunfights... Oh, there's a CGI fight between Mr Hyde and another big transformed fighty guy, but that's about it. It just feels like this movie fails to ignite. It's not horrible, and I didn't feel like I'd completely wasted my time and money... but for a movie like this, with the source material being so wonderfully thought out, "not horrible" just isn't good enough.

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