Film review: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), directed by Stephen Norrington
It’s Victorian times, 1899 to be precise, and German soldiers attack the Bank of England in London, followed by British soldiers attacking a Zeppelin factory in Berlin, making the two countries on the brink of war. Thing is, the soldiers were the same group of people …
Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) is an aged hunter and adventurer with little care for the British empire, and he’s recruited – kicking and screaming, or at least not far off – to investigate the situation. When he arrives in London, he meets with “M” (Richard Roxburgh) who has a cunning plan: putting together a number of talented people who can help save the world. People like, for instance, Quatermain himself. This group could try to track down the mastermind behind the two attacks, and hopefully also save Venice, which is threatened to be blown to smithereens.
On the Nautilus, Quatermain and his new pals have to gather the rest of the so-called League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (and woman), and then go stop Venice from blowing up. Adventures ensue.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is apparently also a superhero comic book adaptation, although this one was made back in the day when there weren’t truckloads of them everywhere you turned. What I enjoy about it, aside from the period clothing and steampunk elements, are the literary elements. There’s Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), Tom Sawyer (Shane West) and Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde (Jason Flemyng), to name but a few. They’re joined by the Invisible Man Skinner (Tony Curran) and sassy lady with a bite – Mina Harker (Peta Wilson). Such a mash-up of literary greats can’t be anything other than enjoyed! Even when you’re as easily distracted as I am. Makes me want to get hold of the books by H.G. Wells and Mark Twain, but that’ll have to wait. Have too many others waiting to be read at the moment!
Had an inkling what “M” was short for and was very pleased when the very same name was revealed. Nice to see Richard Roxburgh, even if he wasn’t far off playing the Duke here as well.
Still can’t quite get my head around how the huge Nautilus can fit snugly and hidden in the Themes as well as the canals of Venice. Neither are that deep (or wide), surely? Aside from that, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a great adventure in all its steampunk-y glory. It reminds me of Indiana Jones, especially since it’s starring Sean Connery. Just that it has more supernatural things happening, which is always a plus in my book.
A strong 3 (at least) out 5 white tigers lurking in the snow in China.