The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
It's also known as LXG. Why is that? The Masked
Reviewer supposes that every superhero movie has to have a catchy
acronym or be known by it's initials. LEG would be more
accurate, but that's hardly as sexy as LXG. X sells.
Just look at X-Men, XXX, and X-Men 2. LEG
would just be confusing. Perhaps people would think it's a movie
about crime fighters sponsored by "Nair." "They're fearless...and
look how smooth their legs are!"
This film is the adaptation of Alan
Moore and Kevin O'Neill's comic book. Of course, let's not forget
to mention that most of the characters in the film are lifted from
literature set or written in the Victorian era. The Masked
Reviewer has mixed thoughts about this. It's kind of cool to see
characters you already know, like the Invisible Man, Jekyll and Hyde,
Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, and even Tom Sawyer. Then again,
it may make it difficult to walk outside, what with so many authors
spinning in their graves.
That's not to say that LXG isn't good. It's enjoyable at
times. But lifting someone else's characters (even though all the
original authors are long dead) seems wrong somehow. Wrong or
lazy. But, on the other hand, taking something we know and
changing it a bit is what makes new art. So, in conclusion, the
Masked Reviewer won't get into those philosophical or ethical issues.
The movie, set in 1899, will reference everything that the average
person would associate with that year. In addition references are
made to characters and events that had nothing to do with the film, just
to set the scene.
The movie is unusual. It's interesting, and
chock-full of special effects. You'll see effects similar to
The Hulk, Hollow Man, X-Men, K-19: the Widowmaker, and even a bit of
Matrix. It's kind of a mix of Batman and X-Men,
set in the late nineteenth century.
One might hope that this film would spark an interest in classic
literature. The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Jeckyll and Hyde,
Dracula, Tom Sawyer, Sherlock Holmes, King Solomon's Mines, The
Invisible Man, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea are all
source material. They've all been tweaked (Tom Sawyer is now a
government agent). Some have been replaced (Hawley Griffin, the
invisible man from the novel, has been replaced by Rodney Skinner, for
some reason). Some are pretty far from the source material (Mina
wasn't a vampire in Dracula but she is in LXG). Did
Captain Nemo know martial arts in 20,000 Leagues? Was Mr.
Hyde transformed into a 10 foot tall muscle bound hulk? One might
suppose those old dusty characters needed a fresh new superhero outlook
In any event, the film is interesting, and while it's
perhaps overloaded with special effects, it does create a mood and a
classic kind of adventure film feel. The writing isn't great,
there's not a lot of comedy in it, but the somewhat dark tone is
interesting. The characters are not surprisingly rather flat...the
screenwriter didn't bother to tell us much about the characters because
we should already know them. But, then again, these aren't the
characters we knew.
The effects are all over the place. The Masked
Reviewer has said it before and will say it again: computer effects
aren't always the best solution. One scene in particular features
a building that blows up. Rather than blow it up, they used a
digital explosion, which looked cheezy. Some of the effects in the
film are fine, but others are not good at all. There's a scene
featuring a white tiger that walks out in the snow. It looks
horrible. Certainly cheaper to do it digitally than to find a real
white tiger and make it walk around in the snow, but how could something
so simple look so bad? It's a real tiger. It doesn't look
real. When you have something real looking fake, you know you've
overpaid your visual effects team.
The acting is fine. Sean Connery is Allan
Quartermain and he's fun to watch. Peta Wilson (TV's "La Femme
Nikita") is a sexy vampiress. Most of the others are young
attractive actors who haven't done many big roles. They're all
okay. It is nice to see that the two biggest ass-kickers in the
film, Allan Quartermain and Captain Nemo, are both played by actors over
50. The League of Extraordinarily Old Gentlemen may be the
There is a confusing point about the bad guy in the
film. He seems to be given one name in the film and another name
(from the same author) in the credits. Maybe the screenwriters
never read their source material.
A nice moment in the film features all of the good guys
standing in a circle and putting a hand in the middle, like the do in
various sports like basketball. The Masked Reviewer would have
liked this film a lot more if they'd said "Go team!" or "Gooooo League
of Extraordinary Gentlemen!" but they didn't.
In the end, LXG is a somewhat interesting
action film that ends up being somewhat unfulfilling. It's not
horrible, but it's not great. It's kind of interesting, but not
really. It's okay. The effects are sometimes okay, sometimes
horrible. The Hulk-like effect of Mr. Hyde is probably better than
It's an okay movie that doesn't deliver much. If
you love Victorian era literature, you might like this film -- or you
might hate all the liberties they take with characters. If you
like Sean Connery, he's good in this, and he rolls up his sleeves and
gets his hands dirty. By the way, how come his eyebrows are black?
The rest of his hair is white. Does he dye his eyebrows?
It's better than The Hulk, and it's not bad...it
just seems like there should've been more.
Expectation from the Title: Four men. Their lives
changed forever. The event: bowling league. They would rise
above their day jobs when they bowled to become...
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Maybe if you read once in a while instead of always watching TV, you'd
get some of the references in this film.
The Pros: Interesting premise, some good action, kind of
The Cons: Doesn't really feel like it goes anywhere, character
development was weak, special effects were often not good, most of the
effects have been seen before (and better done).