Written By: Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill (comic books)
James Dale Robinson (sorry excuse for a screenplay)
Starring: Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, Tony Curran,
Stuart Townsend, Shane West, Jason Flemyng, Richard Roxburgh
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence,
language and innuendo.
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The year is 1899. The place is a fantasy version of the Victorian era world where fictional characters actually exist. Seven legendary figures have been recruited to help foil the plans of an evil madman. These unlikely co-avengers are Alan Quartermain, Dr. Jeckyl (aka Mr. Hyde), The Invisible Man, Dorian Grey, Mena Harker, Captain Nemo, and Tom Sawyer. Should they fail, the world economy would be thrown into utter chaos and, almost certainly, a global war would ensue. Should they succeed, well, then I suppose everything would be just fine.
Wow! What a great concept! Kudos to Alan Moore for thinking it up. For those who don't know, Moore authored the graphic novel this movie is based on. Especially intriguing is the idea of the League's darker characters attempting to use their unique abilities for good, rather than evil. Sure, Alan Quartermain is the classic adventurer, but let's face it, Mena Harker from Dracula is not your typical action hero!
My only question is this: How could someone take an idea so cool, and make a film so lame? Put simply, The League is a mess. After a promising beginning, specifically the introduction of the mission and the formation of the League, the story quickly spirals into an abyss of illogical situations and idiotic dialogue. Not to give anything away, but the entire story is pretty much pointless, and written to be so, courtesy of a plot twist that negates any need for the League to have existed in the first place. To make matters worse, director Stephen Norrington seems to have completely lost his marbles. His handling of The League's action sequences aren't only disorienting, they're infuriating! I know the one thing I really enjoy while watching a gun battle is thinking, "uh, wait... what the hell is going on?". Hey, Norrington! Try pointing the camera toward the action!
As for what's good, there isn't much. To his credit, Sir Sean Connery, who plays Quartermain, does manage to prove that, even in his seventies, he's still got it. Considering the incredibly feeble material he's been given to work with, that's quite an accomplishment! In addition, the CGI character of Mr. Hyde is more successfully rendered than a certain other hulky hero I could mention. Lastly, I did like Captain Nemo's submarine, The Nautilus, even though it had a nasty habit of changing size throughout the film. So, if you like the idea of The League, read the comic books, but skip this lousy movie. That is, of course, unless you enjoy lousy movies. In that case, then by all means, have at it!