I watched League of Extraordinary Gentlemen last night (yes, I know it’s not out over here yet) and I have to say, it’s a lot better than I’d expected.
It’s not the comic, obviously, and isn’t as inventive or as true to the original characters. The film takes the cliched Victorian England of constant rain and fog and plonks these superhuman characters into it to pursue an OTT action adventure whereas the comic created a London that was the product of the big science and wild imagination of 19th century fiction as the background to a tale of espionage and character. Still, as a film it’s far more original a concept than any other mainstream production for years, and I’m all for comics creators making their fortunes propping up the feeble imaginations of Hollywood (who knows, one day it might be me.) And for all the shock and awe action sequences, it stays true to one of the main twists of the original (not telling what, that would be a spoiler).
Production values are a lot higher than I’d been led to believe, with only one ropey looking model shot (perhaps I’ll spot more on the big screen) but, with the exception of the obligatory baddies lair, all of this effort has gone into historical accuracy rather than a Verne/ Wells style techno-scientific wonderland.
‘Agent’ Tom Sawyer. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was first published in 1876, based upon Mark Twain’s childhood in the 1840s, taking this as a guide, Sawyer would have been 60-something in 1899. Oldser than Quartermain as someone pointed out.
The ‘automobile’. This has to be my biggest problem with the film. Nemo has created a car. It looks like Lady Penelope’s Rolls after being attacked by a 1930’s coachbuilder on a Giger inspired LSD trip. On its own it’s quite attractive, but it would look more at home in a 1930’s Shadow style story than here.
All in all, not that bad. Not the best of the Summer (though it’ll be Autumn before it gets to us properly) blockbusters, but certainly not the total waste of a ticket some were claiming.
Whilst I’m here, I should review a few other flicks.
Pirates of the Caribbean Now this is the best of the blockbusters. The most succinct rating of it has to be the official Penny opinion of “two-thirds of the way to Princess Bride“. Trust me, that’s high praise.
Confidence Passable con movie that tries a little too hard for the quirky characterisation.
Terminator 3 Quite a strong third part to the franchise, it riffs on stuff from the first two for humour and effect. There isn’t anything astoundingly new to the tale, which is basically one long special effects car chase, but it’s very well done. T1 & 2
Bring It On Eliza Dushku and Kirsten Dunst as cheerleaders. Hell, I’d have watched this even if it wasn’t well written and funny.
The Italian Job The original, which was on the TV over Bank Holiday weekend as a primer for the remake. The DVD’s cool, with making of bits and a Blue Danube sequence (where the Minis waltz with Police cars) that’s lovely to look at but was wisely cut from the film.