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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Sean Connery
Naseeruddin Shah
Peta Wilson
Stuart Townsend
Shane West
Jason Flemyng
Tony Curran.
Directors
Stephen Norrington.
Screenwriters
James Dale Robinson.
Running Time
110 minutes

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The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Sean Connery and Stuart Townsend star in this melding of Victorian adventure fiction and super-heroics.


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Plot
It's 1899 and the British government asks retired adventurer Allan Quatermain to lead a group of 'extraordinary individuals'. Their task: to combat a technological terror campaign led by a mysterious madman, named 'The Fantom', intent on world war.


Review
Of all the comic book properties eagerly purchased by studios following X-Men, Alan Moore's highly-acclaimed melding of Victorian adventure fiction and super-heroics was undoubtedly the most exciting. Teeming with inspired wit and invention, only a supreme effort could screw it up. "Prepare For The Extraordinary" screamed the presumptuous trailer. You should indeed - albeit, crushingly, an extraordinary display of creative cowardice and mishandling.

The drive to concoct a period X-Men results in a depressingly clumsy action movie, one which treats the audience's intelligence with infuriating contempt.

The promising start - Quatermain (Connery's craggy charm on form) is lured from his colonial African home to London (hats off to Carol Spier's beautiful production design) to assemble the League - is quickly evaporated by the film's most damning trait: the assumption we know nothing of these characters. They are, of course, literary icons of many decades' cultural standing. The first hour comprises tediously detailed, ham-fisted character introductions via Robinson's painfully expositional dialogue - the actors flounder with characters free of depth, life or chemistry. Nemo merely provides the gadgets and martial artistry, the now-vampiric Mina Harker is wasted eye-candy, the new Invisible Man is an irritating Cockney spiv, and the Hulk-like Jekyll and Hyde moans and sweats between appearances as poor CG. Ironically, Tom Sawyer and Dorian Gray, who are not in the source comic, fare better. West's Sawyer has a good mentor/protegÚ schtick with Quatermain, while Townsend's Gray is undoubtedly the most fun role.

By the time the League actually does something, the film drowns in its own forced spectacle. Fight scenes are shoddily edited, ridiculous set-pieces fail to hide woeful effects and worse are the bewildering array of continuity errors. Anyone who has seen Blade knows that Norrington can direct slick action fare, but there's scant evidence here.

No matter how troubled the shoot was, the movie was shanghaied from the off, courtesy of Hollywood's dependence on market-defined 'success'.


Verdict
It’s not quite this year’s Avengers, but at times flirts dangerously close with one-star ignominy.


Reviewed by Danny Graydon

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Empire Star Rating

Really not that bad. Admittedly, it's no Iron Man or The Dark Knight bu it's no Jonah Hex or The Spirit either. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Alex Doran at 21:49, 05 July 2012 | Report This Post


bollocks,the cg looks like photoshop ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ivanahump at 08:53, 17 November 2009 | Report This Post


One word: rubbish !! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by FanaticalAboutFilm at 12:32, 15 November 2009 | Report This Post


I found it quite fun but when I went away away and read the graphic novels, I realized why some people were furious with this movie. The comic and the movie portray totally different worlds. Like if Stephen Sommers had directed Watchmen. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tdw2782 at 16:26, 08 September 2009 | Report This Post


I like it, and had Connery kept his fuckin nose out of the editing suite, I am sure alot more people would have liked it too. Please come back Stephen Norrington! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 12:50, 30 July 2007 | Report This Post


Just about as bad as it could be

Connery is probably the best thing in this terrible, terrible film. If anyone in the film industry wants an example of how not to put a graphic novel onto the big screen they could do worse than look here. Oh, and please don't insert a token American just to appease your audience. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ixion_1 at 10:49, 18 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

It's entertaining enough the 1st time on the big screen but repeat DVD viewings show it up to be a pretty bad movie...... ... More

Posted by Daniel Kelly at 12:13, 29 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I absolutely hated the film, but was recently convinced to try reading the graphic novel. They're worlds apart in terms of quality. Hollywood took a great book, chewed it up and spat it back out. Mina as a vampire? Quartermain as a heroic figure? The Invisible Man depicted as anything but the raping, murdering bastard that he is? Nemo as a kung-fu pirate? And the addition of Tom Sawyer as an american secret agent?!? Bad film. Bad. ... More

Posted by RealKittyFantastico at 11:53, 26 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Having read the graphic novel I did find it a disappointment.  It seemed like the ensemble piece which had been evident in the graphic novel  was missing from the film with too much forcus on the Sean Connery Quatermain character who himself was too much of a strong figure.  The weaknesses which had been evident in the characters such as Quatermain having an addiction to opium, the invisible man being a traitorious psychotic figure, Mena Harker was a damged woman suffering f... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sanchia at 20:06, 23 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

A serious waste of a great concept. If your going to bother adapting work like this; DO IT PROPERLY! 2/5. ... More

Posted by BobaJango at 19:57, 23 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

This movie was quite interesting to me. Adding characters as Dorian Gray and Captain Nemo. I love those both characters. I like it a lot. ... More

Posted by Anglachel at 17:54, 23 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Totally agree this movie was absolute balls, terrible acting, shitty storyline a retard with a crayon could have made a better picture than this such a dissapointment after Norringtons Blade. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by spideyfan666 at 01:06, 23 October 2006 | Report This Post


RE: The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Absolutely hated it,ridiculous cartoonish effects,amateurish acting and the direction by Norrington is useless. No wonder Connery didnt get along with him. The graphic novel is so much better. ... More

Posted by Kazuya at 22:56, 22 October 2006 | Report This Post


Average

Not as bad as they'd have you believe, but I haven't read the graphic novel. An interesting concept that ends up being a loud action movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 22:42, 22 October 2006 | Report This Post


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