League of Extra. Gent. (DVD)
GI Staff / Dec 20th, 2003 No Comments
A movie with a great cast that takes a novel approach to create a old-fashioned action flick. The special effects are well done, and the plot is amusing enough to keep you entertained.
The DVD has the standard special features… nothing special.
o Theatrical trailer(s)
o Two options for Audio Commentary
o Twelve deleted scenes – check these out, two scenes were quite good and should have been included
o Effects featurettes
o Widescreen anamorphic format
Before you talk about the plot, you need to appreciate our “novel” approach comment. The writers (Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill) originally wrote LXG as a comic book, loosely based in the Victorian England period (circa 1899). Rather than create their own ficticuos characters, the comic book “borrowed” the best characters from Victorian England’s literature. Hence, the leading characters of the period were: Alex Quartermain, Dorian Grey, Tom Sawyer, Captain Nemo, Vampira Mina Harker, the Invisible Man (Charles Skinner), and Dr. Jeckle/Mr. Hyde. All good novels, all good characters.
Well, suppose you have this League of Superheros (or rather Extraordinary Gentlemen – although Vampira Mina is definitely not a guy) back in Victorian England… what mischief was afoot in that period? Ah ha – it was the buildup to World War I and the beginning of the Technological Revolution! Instant Plot!
OK – so an evil-doer called the Phantom/Fantom is using the latest in military technology. For example, he uses a Tank to rob the Bank of England and blame it on the Germans. Then he uses a bazooka/RPG to blow up a German Zeppelin plant and blame it on the English. Amazingly, his real plan is pretty good – demonstrate his new technology (including bullet-proof vests) to greedy military men in various countries thereby becoming the leading arms merchant in the world!
Naturally, British Secret Service must come to the rescue (amazingly the head of the British Secret Service is called “M”). Recognizing a real problem in the making, M recruits the League, exhorting them with “you have to help her Majesty save the world from War”.
AUDIO & VIDEO QUALITY
From there the plot develops as the League is assembled, and begins to track down the Phantom. The League characters are really interesting and a proper amount of the movie is spent developing their character and interactions. When the LXG arrives in Venice, they try to thwart the Phantom’s attack on the leaders of Europe. Although partially successful, the LXG is torn apart when it appears some of the League are really in cahoots with the Phantom. All the remaining League has to do is to survive the booby traps and ambush, track the Phantom and the traitors, and save the world.
Sean Connery is clearly the rock on which this picture is built, and is the glue holding it together – clearly someone saw Patrick Stewart in X-Men and decided to parallel the casting. This is good, because Connery is absolutely solid in playing the British adventurer Alex Quartermain… in fact, about halfway through the movie, I realized that Connery makes you believe that God is a Scotsman.
The casting has two particularly good finds: Stewart Townsend (Dorian Grey) and Shane West (Tom Sawyer). I haven’t seen their other films, which were Queen of the Damned and Dracula 2000, respectively, but they were quite good and ought to use their LXG performances to springboard into something meatier. Honorable mention would also go to Peta Wilson, who plays the Vamp – you will recall Peta from the TV series Nikita (la fem Nikita)… we can only wish the story involved her more, but the characters weren’t real compatible for any romantic situations.
OK, a little poetic license is expected… but Norrington gets really carried away. Apparently, the directing (failing to bring the audience into the picture and lack of character development) was the principle reason for the box office disappointments. It certainly wasn’t the producers Trevor Albert and SEAN CONNERY (Executive Producer), who clearly spent money for special effects and tried to put a good flick together [NOTE: Sean – please contact us for script doctoring (free of charge) before you invest your well-earned money in any sci-fi-fantasy again – trust us, we know the gentleman who fitted your golf clubs!].
Pluses and Minuses
Pluses were the special effects, Sean Connery, special effects, and again Sean Connery. The writing was weak, two characters were terrible (Nemo and Hyde), and the directing was awful.