FEATURES : COLUMNS : REVIEWS : NEWS : FILM & TV : FORUMS : UGO

ABOUT




New Doc Ock Hits Spider-Man
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Marvel Hires New Publisher
Following such rumors, Marvel today announced that Bill Jemas has been replaced as Publisher. Now read who took his job.
CrossGen's Solus #7
CrossGen thinks you'll love George Pérez's new issue of Solus. And to prove it, here's a five-page preview.
Marvel Searches For She-Hulk
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins reunite for Marvel's Avengers as they search for She-Hulk.
Virtex Returns For Digital Webbing
A comic about a cybernetic cowboy that hunts outlaws riding dinosaurs? Where do we sign up? Read on and find out.
Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
Marvel's New Mutants has a new artist onboard, and we've got a five-page preview. See if he's got the chops.
Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
Are you ready to rock and roll? Image is, with their upcoming graphic novel Shangri-La. Read the details here.
Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk team up for charity in a special December one-shot. Read all about it.
Davis' Marquis Returns In December
Guy Davis' sin-slayer is back in The Marquis: Intermezzo, coming from Oni Press. Read all about it.
Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
Marvel plans three Fantastic Four series for 2004, and we've got the details and preview art. Check this out.
2F2F DVD Contest
The hit street racing film 2 Fast 2 Furious is driving to DVD players near you. Win a free copy from Slush and Universal.
 








Movie Review:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
By Matt Singer

07.16.03


Dumbing down a comic book that was all about its smarts in the first place was a bad idea - replacing said smarts with mindless, unexciting action only worsens the problem. Stephen Norrington’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is mild in every way: mildly faithful to its source, mildly clever, and mildly entertaining until the last forty-five minutes when it becomes an out-and-out bore.

In the comic, the League is led by Mina Harker, who is charged with controlling a veritable rogue’s gallery of some of English literature’s most famous protagonists, including a washed-up (and heroin-addicted) Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Invisible Man. Here, a British government man named M (Richard Roxburgh) recruits Quartermain (Sean Connery) to lead a similar team against a mysterious villain named The Fantom (it’s spelled that way in the credits, though for the life of me I cannot understand why). He has a typical make-money-off-of-global-chaos plan and he dresses like the more flamboyant friend of Siegfried and Roy. There was no Fantom in the original League comic, and his addition here as a generic and extremely goofy villain (who thought it was a good idea to give him that accent? And that mask? And that Michael Bolton hair?) is one of the film’s many problems.


Article continued below advertisement


League strays from its source in many ways, mostly to its own detriment - not because I am in love with the comic and refuse to accept changes, but because the original had brains and Moore’s trademark panache for a gripping story with wit to spare, and the changes only serve to dumb down the story and, I guess, to make it more palatable to mainstream American audiences. One such change is that addition of Shane West’s Secret Service Agent Tom Sawyer, who serves to give such an audience a character to identify with, and to give Connery’s Quartermain a surrogate son, but his character is mostly irritating and bland - and not very Tom Sawyerish in any particular way. Connery stumbles too; he’s too interested in his “naughty” one-liners to truly invest his Quartermain with any of the pathos that the script calls for. If a scene doesn’t feature Quartermain discussing his past, Connery plays him as his typical Scottish badass, which makes his arc a lot less interesting.

Oddly, League’s best element is something totally original to the film - the addition of Dorian Gray, played with suave flair by Stuart Townsend. The Dorian Gray of literature was immortal, thanks to a picture that aged in his place, and here being immortal also allows him to heal any injury, making him most useful in a fight. It’s one of the few clever ideas to come out of James Dale Robinson’s script (Robinson is a comic book writer himself, with much better material in that medium to his credit). He’s a character with such potential in this genre that Moore would be wise to add Gray to his next League mini-series.

After the introduction of the League’s members, the plot stumbles and the special effects cannot pick up the slack. Instead of focusing on small but effective visuals, League spreads itself too thin, creating massive vistas that look unconvincing, instead of making sure that the Invisible Man looks good in every scene (half the time, he’s not evil remotely invisible, he’s just actor Tony Curran in white makeup). Also, the continuity could use some cleaning up; any time a League member is involved in a fight that destroys their clothing, they are always in a fresh pair of knickers within seconds. I can accept that Dorian’s wounds heal, but do his clothes? And would Dr. Jekyll take a time out from saving a sinking ship to put on a fresh suit?

The whole affair is a shame because of the strength of the source material and the utterly unimaginative handling of it. The commercials and trailers suggested the 20th Century Fox marketing team had no idea how to sell the film’s unique mix of British lit and super-heroing, but the sad truth is that there is nothing here to sell in the first place. Besides the Gray character, there isn’t much here worth your money or your time. It’s a lot of empty spectacle, a summer movie of the worst kind. All involved have been quite naughty, and there is no game on.

 

 
E-Mail Author  |  Archive  |  Tell A Friend

 

 



 
Sword of Dracula
Slush launches our Halloween countdown with the first in a series of spooky reviews. First up? New series, Sword of Dracula.
John Byrne's IMO
This week John points out that fans cannot read the minds of creators, although you wouldn't know that by listening to some of them.
The Dead Zone
Flesh-eating zombies battle the last remaining police officer in Image's new series, The Walking Dead. We review the first issue.
Steve Niles Interview
Slush interviews Steve Niles, the acclaimed writer of 30 Days of Night, who tells us about the relaunch of Fused.
A Spidery Preview
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Kill Bill Review
Slush reviews the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's kung fu slasher masterpiece, Kill Bill.
Viper Interview
Slush takes a look at new publisher Viper Comics, and interviews the guys behind two of its hottest books.
Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.


CHANNELS:  Features | Columns | Reviews | News | Film & TV | Forums | Slushfactory.com

Copyright © 2003 Slush Factory Entertainment (E-mail)
All Rights Reserved : No portion of Slush may be reprinted in any form without prior consent