The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: When I first saw the preview, I (and judging from the murmurs around me, most others in the theater) thought it was a joke movie, like somebody was going to bust in and sell us some car insurance or remind us to turn off our cell phones. The idea is that several famous literary characters (Allan Quatermain, The Invisible Man, Jekyll and Hyde, Mina Harker, Dorian Gray, Tom Sawyer, and Captain Nemo) are recruited into a league to stop a world war (from starting earlier than it would anyway, I suppose, since this takes place in the late 1800s). See, even the premise sounds absurd, so you can understand my skepticism. But no, it was a real film, and it garnered some horrendous reviews.

Not without reason, of course. The plot holes are extensive. The historical and literary inaccuracies are legion. The characters are beautifully attired but watered-down, without enough screentime to become fully fleshed. The plot is nothing special either – just a bunch of brilliant special effects shots (I especially enjoyed the building on fire that wasn’t on fire) strung together with little bits of dialogue trying very hard to have depth.

Good thing I don’t need my adventure films to have much depth. In the end, this was a fun bit of fluff. I laughed out loud in a couple occasions and discovered a sudden desire to go back and read all the source material to see exactly which canon traits were indeed ignored (for the life of me, I can’t remember if Dracula was vulnerable to sunlight or if that part of the vampire legend came later). While I will probably never watch it again, it was a nice diversion on a Saturday night.

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