Saturday, November 04, 2006

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" review

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

Directed by Stephen Norrington
Writing credits Alan Moore Kevin O'Neill (comic books)

Sean Connery .... Allan Quatermain
Naseeruddin Shah .... Captain Nemo
Peta Wilson .... Mina Harker
Tony Curran .... Rodney Skinner (The Invisible Man)
Stuart Townsend .... Dorian Gray
Shane West .... Tom Sawyer
Jason Flemyng .... Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde

Near the beginning of the movie, the camera pans along the side of a building and the audience catches a glimpse of a poster on the wall. There, on the poster, is the name of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, the writer and artist of the original "League" comic book. The poster is drawn in the exact same design as the credits page in the comic book. That was the first, last and only aspect of the movie that had anything to do with Moore's comic book.

Special Agent Tom Sawyer? Kung Fu Captain Nemo? Yeesh. Once again Hollywood has shown their complete contempt for our intelligence. Did they think the USA couldn't handle an all-British league? Even if they did throw Sawyer into the mix to appease us supposed xenophobic Americans, why wasn't Sawyer presented as more of an all American attraction than he was? My friend who went with me walked out of the theater with no idea that the young guy was Tom Sawyer. Was he just added to the mix so that they could have some surfer dude make eyes at the vampire woman? I say again: Yeesh.

So they have drained the intelligence and wit out of the comic book and thrown in Tom Sawyer and the very unmanly Dorian Gray. Was it a good trade off? No. Alan Moore's outstanding dialogue is replaced with lines like, "I thought I'd nail you again but I didn't think it'd be literally." Ah, SEX-U-AL innuendo. LAME!

However, if you haven't read the comic book, you may find something worthwhile here. Even though the movie dumbs the comic book WAY down, it's still worth a look. Mr. Hyde looked better than the Hulk and could probably kick the Hulk's green rear end. I liked Quatermain's bar fight. The battle royale at the end was also good.

Overall, I'd give this "League" a 2 out of 4. It had enough action to satisfy me as a movie goer. But this "League" pales in comparison to the comic book. I'd give Alan Moore's "League" a 4 out of 4.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 because even though it's not in Alan Moore's league, it's worth a look
And be sure to pick up Alan Moore's "Watchmen". It may be the best comic book ever written.
"The Killing Joke" was also very good. That was the first comic that I actually looked to see who the writer was. Before that, I just bought comics based on what superhero was in it. His run on "Swamp Thing" was great too. Yeah, I would say I'm an Alan Moore fan. He actually taught me how to read. Seriously. I bought "V For Vendetta" when I was in the seventh grade.

OK, sure I could read but this was the first comic I had to read three or four times before I got what was going on. What I'm saying is, Alan Moore is the man.


Ronald_McMurder said...

too bad they rape every one of his brilliant works on celluloid. from hell? crap. v for vendetta? sigh. lxg, as you just pointed out, bleh. and coming soon: the watchmen. they are saving the big screwjob for watchmen. just imagine how lame that flick is gonna be. can't wait for yer review on that one.

Dr. Gore ( said...

Yeah, it would be a miracle if "Watchmen" was good. You'd have to commit to Alan Moore's ending. Of course to feel the impact of the ending, you'd have to spend enough time with all of the characters. I don't think an hour and a half movie is going to be able to capture it. But will I see it? Of course.