EntertainmentNutz Feature

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Release Date: July 11, 2003
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Stephen Norrington
Screenwriter: James Robinson
Starring: Sean Connery, Shane West, Stuart Townsend, Jason Flemyng, Richard Roxburgh, Naseeruddin Shah, Tony Curran, Max Ryan, Tom Goodman-Hill, David Hemmings, Peta Wilson
Genre: Action, Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of fantasy violence, language and innuendo)
Official Website:

Plot Summary: Based on the Alan Moore/Kevin O'Neill graphic novel miniseries. Set in Victorian England, the film centers around a team of extraordinary figures culled from great adventure literature who are recruited by a mysterious caller to stop a villain intent on turning the nations of the world against one another. This remarkable coterie of heroes is led by Allan Quartermain (Connery) and comprises Dracula vampiress Mina Harker (Wilson), the Invisible Man (Curran), Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (Flemyng), Tom Sawyer (West), Captain Nemo (Shah), and Dorian Gray (Townsend).

Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers © 2003
- Television is not that bad, ah?

This is an irresistible idea. Take prominent characters from 18th century literature and set them in a fantasy world of 1899 where Europe is on the brink of war, and there are possibilities. Although it may appeal to older boys nine-ten years upwards and their families much like the similarly sounding The Mummy did for that demographic in the late 90’s and Raiders of The Lost Ark did for kids the likes of me The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen falls distinctly flat after positive anticipation.

It is based on Allan Moore’s graphic novel this uses complex literary characters and transforms them into heroes to save the world - where you get "the league of extraordinary gentlemen".

Allan Quatermain (from the novel King Solomon’s Mines and played by Sean Connery) is central to the league. He is brought into the adventure after nearly getting massacred at the hands of Nazi perpetrators while in Africa.

His motive is not patriotic – he has a grudge with the British Empire - but is seemingly more of self-preservation and the call to adventure. As his feelings for the Empire are tampered by a personal grievance, Quatermain (among other characters) leaves the film open to ambiguity, where the Germans and the British are not necessarily opposing forces. It is clear however that world domination from the central villain – the Fhantom, and even the idea of Empire – needs to be obliterated.

In spite of the grand anticipation and promise around these characters they are flat, disappointing and one-dimensional. Connery’s character is thinly sketched and undefined despite trying to salvage his role with some of the masculine charm he has to offer; he seems to be going through the motions for the most part, though.

There are scenes that are meant to dramatically foreshadow the unfolding events and underline the current dilemma but come-off as self-important and stagy particularly the nerve-grating flowery dialogue between lovers Harker (Peta Wilson of television series Nikita) and Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend, last seen in Queen of the Damned).

Director Stephen Norrington is experienced with effects in movies (he worked on Aliens and directed Blade) and makes use of that with some eye-boggling shots of Captain Nemo’s sea vessel and the atomic metamorphosis of Jekyll into Hyde.

The intention is to create a big and exciting adventure with an impressive score, otherwise convoluted and un-involving action scenes, and spectacular visual effects. It starts off with promise, but ends up having none of the spark and momentum that you might expect from an adventure film, the lack of interesting story-line being one of its letdowns.

The League may add some psychological depth with the attempted complexity at characterisation, but is nevertheless contrived, and wanting, too much like an elementary comic book strip than a serious and convincing adventure film, and it doesn’t work in the action department either so this is a no-win situation. In spite of my reservations, and its mediocre box office performance, it might get the nod from Saturday matinee audiences looking for a little undemanding escapism.




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Trailer A:
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Trailer B:
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TV Spot 1 - 'Unite':
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TV Spot 2 - 'Fire in the Hole':
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Clip 1 - 'Rodney Skinner, Gentlemen Thief':
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Clip 2 - 'I'm Complicated':
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Clip 3 - 'Missed a Spot':
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Clip 4 - 'We'll be at This All Day':
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