Click here 3 and a half stars

Sean Connery
Sean Connery leads a good cast
in Victorian age action thriller

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"

Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla

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"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," based on a wonderful graphic novel by Alan Moore, had such high expectations among its fans that almost no movie could meet them. Consequently it got terrible reviews and a great deal of internet drubbing, which is too bad, since it's quite a nice little movie.

Peta Wilson
Peta Wilson
The setting is just before the 20th century. The legendary African explorer and adventurer Allan Quartermain (Sean Connery) lives a semi-retired life, having already found King Solomon's Mines. He is recruited to save England from a madman, one who is using terrible technology to set world powers against one another in an effort to start a World War.

Queen Victoria is very much against the idea, so she has the mysterious M (Richard Roxburgh) recruit the most extraordinary team of people she can find; Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), who suffers from an unusual blood disease; the brilliant Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), Captain of the fabulous Nautilus; Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), a petty thief who happens to be invisible; and Henry Jeckyll (Jason Flemyng), who hides a hideous dark side. They also recruit the fey Dorian Grey (Stuart Townsend), a brilliant mind who has seen it all.

Attacked by the goons of their quarry, they escape with the aid of Tom Sawyer (Shane West), a brash American Secret Service agent. Together, as a league, they journey to Venice to prevent the destruction of a peace conference. They are too late to entirely prevent the bombs from going off, but by teaming together they manage to save the city and most of its populace. They find that there is a traitor in their midst, and their adversary is not who they think he is at all.

This film has taken its share of critical abuse, and some of it is deserved. There are some definite leaps in logic; having a sub the size of the Nautilus floating in the canals of Venice is ludicrous at best. The computer-generated Mr. Hyde is dreadful. However, despite the reported problems on the set between Connery and director Stephen Norrington, Connery handles his role like a pro, making a believable Quartermain.

The atmosphere of a Victorian era slightly warped from the reality of history comes off nicely. There are plenty of terrific effects to make this big screen-friendly.

Does it measure up to its source comic? Depends on what you mean. And it shouldn't have to. Comparing a movie to a comic is like comparing a car to a plane. They are different media with different qualities. The comic book "League" is one of the best ever, and the film wisely departs from its storyline. Why compete with greatness when you can, perhaps, establish your own?

The movie is actually doing better in the global market than it did here in America. Although room is left at the end for a sequel, chances are you won't see one. Still, it's a wonderful concept, and the atmosphere combined with Connery as an adventure hero is enough to make this a movie worth seeing.

This will work as well on the small screen as the large. Some of the movie's matte flaws won't show quite as badly in the living room.

See cast, credit and other details about "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" at Internet Movie Data Base.