The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (or, as the drive-in marquee put it, "League of LXG") - Not nearly as disturbing or violent or engaging as the remarkable comic-book series. Pretty much the only thing it has in common with the source material was the names of the characters and their professions, but since the comic book took liberties with the original literary characters anyhow, that's somewhat forgivable. Dorian Gray's character I actually found a welcome addition to the film, though I wouldn't have missed Tom Sawyer.

I found it odd that the writers chose to add in still more characters, rather than eliminate or replace them, considering how numerous they are and the stories behind them (However, another comic-book movie about a group of unusual do-gooders, which also features the letter "X" managed to handle a large cast well). Of course, all the characters were severely simplified and had a lot of their less palateble aspects removed (Jekyll/Hyde is now merely hiding in Paris, as opposed to murdering prositutes there, Quatermain has lost his opium addiction, and the invisible man doesn't even sexually assault one schoolgirl). The film actually seemed to assume a lot about the audience. Many of the characters explained themselves, but many of their back stories are left out on the presumption that the audience are already familiar with them, such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Quatermain, Sawyer, the Invisible Man, and surprisingly, their main nemesis.

The art direction was pretty damn cool, especially their Batmobile-esque 6-wheeler sedan and the Nautilus, which had lots of impractical, unnecessary, but tasteful ornamention, as Victorian-era sci-fi vehicles typically did. The action sequences left a lot be desired, while the cinematography did have plenty of flying scraps of paper and great sets in which the fighting took place, the action was shoddily blocked, and jumped from one fighting character to another. Since there are so many, it's quite jarring and doesn't flow well. Captain Nemo has picked up a fari amount of kung-fu and swordplay in the film version, and it's just so interesting to see a man in his beturbaned rajah outfit doing spin roudhouse kicks and leg sweeps that I was enthralled.

All in all, it was a candy bar movie. While you're watching it, you can enjoy it, but its ultimately forgettable. They would have done well to pare off a few of the characters rather than re-write them in PG-13 mode. Unfortunately, the ones this would have applied to were the biggest SFX vehicles, so that was out. Worth a matinee or drive-in prices, I'd say.


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