Stars: Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, Jason Flemyng, Tony Curran, Shane West, Stuart Townsend, David Hemmings, Richard Roxburgh
Director: Stephen Norrington
Screenwriter: James Dale Robinson; based on the comic book mini-series by Alan Moore
The story, based on the graphic comic book miniseries, is set in England and parts of Europe during Victorian times. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (and one lady!) is a group of characters drawn from famous works of literature, including Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) of “King Solomon’s Mines”, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (Jason Flemyng), Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah) of “Twenty Thousands Leagues Under the Sea”, Dracula’s vampiress Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), an offshoot of H.G. Wells’ invisible man now dubbed Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), and the new addition of an adult Tom Sawyer (Shane West, sticking out like a sore thumb amid all the British brass), whose unusual abilities and achievements allow them to join forces to thwart a maniac’s plan to achieve world domination. It’s a literary version of the X-Men, only in this case, the story doesn’t quite measure up to the effects.
The film does have good production design as it depicts Victorian England with its richly acquitted libraries and homes. A car afforded the league is quite snazzy, although one could mistake it for the world’s first “pimpmobile”; Captain Nemo’s famed ship, the Nautilaus, isn’t quite like I remember it. Nor, for that matter, is the Captain himself. The visual effects, including Dr. Jekyll’s transformation into his monsterous alter ego, Mr. Hyde, are impressive. The most fun seems to surround Mina Harker. Now a full fledged vampire, great liberties have been taken with her character and she’s a force to be reckoned with. She certainly has some of the best lines. Connery leads the band as Quatermain and as always, he’s good at what he does. I especially liked Jason Flemyng as Jekyll. He actually made the poor bugger quite sympathetic.
Lotta says: Lots of frills ad thrills; some fun along with way. PG-13 – for intense sequences of fantasy violence, language, and innuendo. Additional cast includes Richard Roxburgh as British government rep “M” and David Hemmings as Nemo’s first mate Nigel.
Reviewed: July 11, 2003