The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
March 5, 2024 12:50 PM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] A team of extraordinary figures culled from great adventure literature (including Alan Quatermain, vampiress Mina Harker from Dracula, the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, an American secret service agent named Sawyer, Captain Nemo, and Dorian Gray), are called to stop a villain intent on turning the nations of the world against one another.

Starring Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Shane West, Peta Wilson, Stuart Townsend, Jason Flemyng, Tony Curran.

Directed by Stephen Norrington. Screenplay by James Dale Robinson
Based on the comic book series by by Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill. Produced by Trevor Albert, Rick Benattar, Sean Connery, Mark Gordon, Don Murphy, Michael Nelson for Angry Films/International Production Company/JD Productions. Cinematography by Dan Laustsen. Edited by Paul Rubell. Music by Trevor Jones.

17% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently steaming on Hulu. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Connery saw the result and quit acting. Just noped the fuck out.

It features a car chase through Venice. A. CAR. CHASE. THROUGH. VENICE.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:52 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]

It features a car chase through Venice. A. CAR. CHASE. THROUGH. VENICE.

The biggest problem with the movie was that they just tried to do way too much, in as way-over-the-top manner as possible. Had they just scaled things back and focused, I think it would have been a far better film.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:57 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]

This was easily one of the more disappointing movies that I can remember—not that I had high expectations when it was announced, but it was just so terrible.
posted by synecdoche at 1:14 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]

I saw this in the theater--possibly because of the Victorian connection?--and much noping was to be had. This kind of mashup can be a lot of fun, but the movie had just no redeeming qualities.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:20 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]

The only positive thing I can say about this movie is it put Tony Curran on my radar.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:34 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]

I saw this on an airplane either going to or coming back from Japan. Either way it was a long flight and I was very tired and I don't remember anything about the film except for the fact that I don't need to see it again. I'd read the comics and those were pretty good.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:37 PM on March 5

It's fun in bits, including the car chase in Venice! Very silly, but nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be.
posted by cupcakeninja at 1:48 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]

I honestly can't remember if I've seen this or not. I feel like I have, but I remember NOTHING about it.
posted by mrphancy at 2:09 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]

Things I liked: Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray (a test run for his version of Lestat, imo), Shane West as Tom Sawyer mostly because he was super cute, Jason Flemyng as Jekyll/Hyde (though obviously far too tame as compared to the source material).

Things I didn't like: everything else.
posted by Kitteh at 3:14 PM on March 5

I saw this with a friend when it was new in theaters. Walking in, he said "You know this is going to be terrible, right?"

He was right.
posted by adamrice at 3:16 PM on March 5

I saw this in the theater because I worked at a comic store at the time and we got free passes. Spouse and I watched it again recently because it had sort of faded from our memory and we idly wondered if it was due a reappraisal.

It was honestly even worse than I’d remembered.
posted by skycrashesdown at 3:24 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]

It features a car chase through Venice. A. CAR. CHASE. THROUGH. VENICE.

Alongside a canal that you could throw a coin across, but which also somehow accommodates an aircraft-carrier-sized Nautilus.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:19 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]

I remember this being really bad, but I recall liking the production design. MCU films in particular have a dull aesthetic that takes hundreds of millions of dollars and somehow arrives at a product that looks like a made-for-TV movie; this is an example of what comic book movies might have looked like instead. Unfortunately, the film was so bad that it didn't register as a good example of anything.

I have really mixed feelings about the comics series, despite my general love of all things Alan Moore. I feel like the later volumes become so baroque and obscure with their references that I at least just don't get them, most of the time; the sweet spot for me is volume two, where I can be all like "I understood that reference!" and also get into the emotional beats of the story. Anyway, this movie is sort of based on the first volume, which isn't as good, but looks a lot better when you compare it to this piece of junk. I think the only thing the movie does better, and that's arguable, is make Mina a vampire, which I suspect Moore didn't do because it seemed too pandering.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:01 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]

A bit of a sad venture all around. The Connery business obviously. Fox were sued by a couple of people claiming plagiarism (!) and settled, which Alan Moore certainly did not appreciate. It's also the last feature Stephen Norrington has directed, after pretty impressive showings with Death Machine and Blade.
posted by dumbland at 5:09 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]

"I understood that reference!"

I understood *that* reference!

In my head I get scenes from this mixed up with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) because they both involve plots about war profiteering being used as a reason to trigger WW1
posted by Molesome at 2:18 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]

I remember seeing this in the theaters. Mostly I remember rumors and stories about its troubled production. Particularly about Connery only taking it because he'd missed out on LotR, and him forcing changes to make his part bigger.
posted by Spike Glee at 8:05 AM on March 6

I saw this in the theaters too, and was sort of along for the ride until the Venice stuff broke my willingness. Or my will, maybe. Anyway, I tried to read the comics too, but I have discovered that horror comics have some sort of extra oomph to them for me, and I was extra disturbed by them. Tried to read Constantine around the same time and had to nope out because I was lying in bed replaying some of it in my head and it was bad. (I'll defend the Constantine movie heartily, though. It's really good.)
posted by PussKillian at 8:54 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]

Here's one I had to nope out of in a matter of minutes.
posted by Ber at 11:16 AM on March 6

I’ll see anything with Sean Connery and this is not his best but come on, you have a movie with a vampire, an invisible man and a guy whose portrait ages but not himself and a car chase through Venice is the sticking point?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:27 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]

I think the only thing the movie does better, and that's arguable, is make Mina a vampire, which I suspect Moore didn't do because it seemed too pandering.

Funny, when a friend asked me what I didn’t like about the movie, my main example was “In the comic, Mina Harker is the leader of the League because she is a woman strong enough and determined enough to face and overcome misogyny, repression, and a deadly ancient evil. In the movie she’s a sexy vampire.”

I loved the production design (especially everything Nemo) and thought adding Tom Sawyer as the way in for American audiences was pretty clever, but it was too disappointing for me to just enjoy as dumb fun. But I guess it gets credit for fully and forcefully cementing the villains-have-same-powers-as-the-hero trope.
posted by ejs at 1:50 PM on March 6 [5 favorites]

This summer(ish), I'm going to watch terrible superhero movies because apparently I hate myself but I like movie projects. This isn't exactly a superhero movie but I'm going to count it.

(I am a comics fan and I was an English major so the comic was great, even if some of it was above even me. I think there's a good movie/series to be made of this but I don't think most people would get it.)
posted by edencosmic at 6:19 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]

There's a reboot in the works, currently planned as a Hulu streaming-only release. There was previous talk of a woman-only team, which would have been great, but that idea apparently fizzled in development.
posted by mediareport at 3:54 AM on March 7

I feel like the later volumes become so baroque and obscure with their references that I at least just don't get them, most of the time

That, and Moore seemed increasingly alienated from comics, and from popular culture in general because of the rise of superhero movies. The last LoEG book that I really liked was The Black Dossier; Century looked promising, but ended as a rant against Harry Potter (not so much because of its author's TERFery, but because Moore didn't seem to appreciate how the series treated magic), and Tempest was almost unrelievedly bitter and nearly unreadable.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:02 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

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