Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

It's the film that killed Sean Connery's desire to make movies.

It's a film only loosely based on the Alan Moore comic book.

It's a film many people hate for the above two reasons.

It's also a film that, taken on its own terms is a fun adventure film.

Oh come on — you know it's a good movie. Sure it has it's crazily stupid and illogical moments- the car scene in Venice- but it also has some great sequences- the bats in the car scene in Venice.

The premise of the film has a mysterious man named M bringing together all of the heroes in the world (Alan Quartermaine,The Invisible Man, Henry Jekyll, Mr Hyde, Mina Harker, Dorian Gray, Captain Nemo and Tom Sawyer) to fight a great threat. Its a merging of any number of classic characters into one story.

The original Alan Moore series which was the only story out when the rights were sold, had every one coming together to fight what was believed to be Fu Manchu and his armies. The trouble was you can't do a "yellow peril" story on the big screen without people going nutso. Why do you think that Fu hasn't been around in 30 plus years and why do you think Charlie Chan hasn't been resurrected? There was no way in hell the comic, as written was going on the big screen. Comic geeks freaked out and lined up to pan the film on the basis of that alone.(Of course they never stopped to realize that the comic could never have worked as a film anyway since it only has filmable action for about an issue and a half of its run, the other four and a half issues being Alan Moore showing off how clever he was.) The better story would have been the second one which had the the League reforming to counter the Martian Invasion in War of the Worlds.

Despite what conventional wisdom says this is great mindless adventure film. Its well made, has great characters (and great performances) and has several wonderful set pieces (the car in Venice amongst them.) To my mind this film is a perfect Sunday afternoon film... actually the only thing wrong with it is a poorly executed fire at the start of the film. It's no more illogical than say any of the recent big budget blockbusters like Transformers.

I know that some people have argued that things aren't realistic, say cars in Venice, but everyone has no trouble with a vampire, an invisible man, or a man who remains young because his picture ages.

Its a romp. Its a goof.

Its damn fun.

Anyone wanting Alan Moore's literary pretensions can reread the comic, me I'm going to curl up on the couch and watch this.

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