Published Work


Based on comic book characters, ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ brings together literary figures of the 1800’s

Cast: Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, Shane West, Stuart Townsend, Jason Flemyng, Tony Curran
Director: Stephen Norrington

Based on comic book characters, ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ brings together literary figures of the 1800’s: the great white hunter Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery), machine inventor Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), Dracula vampire Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), rogue scientist Dr. Jekyll and his hideous alter ego Mr. Hyde (Jason Flemyng), the invisible man Rodney Skinner (Tony Curran), the immortal self-loving Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), and the American secret service agent Tom Sawyer (Shane West). The League are called upon for help by a British Government official ‘M’, to battle the masked ‘Fantom’, whose aim is to demonstrate the mechanical prowess of his advanced machinery, create an arms race among the nations of the world and ultimately a world war. There also seems to be a hidden agenda, which leaves the Fantom intentions more inclined towards ‘World Dominion’.

The movie begins of with a fantastic set of events while gradually introducing the characters. Allan Quatermain, leading a relaxed life in Africa is called in to lead the League. The fact that he had lost his son in an earlier assignment from the British Government, has him initially contemplating the offer. The final persuasion comes in the form of several assassins sent over to kill him. He is joined by the others in Britain and later cross the seas in the Nautilus to Paris, to join the hideous looking Mr. Hyde before they voyage into finding Fantom.

The movie has a few interesting special effects, some charming like Nemo’s gizmo-packed Nautilus and some gory, like the transformation from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. If you think the ‘Hulk’ was big, think again. The movie on the whole borders around the unique dark look of the 1800’s, which adds a lot of value to the time base of the movie.

Connery adds a lot of depth to the character of Quatermain. The larger-than-life role does not seems to bother the Scotsman even after turning 72 and he even brings in the charm of 007 to go along with it. He also shares a sentimental relationship with Sawyer as he takes him under his wing. Naseeruddin, is not what I expected Captain Nemo to be even as I’m still trying to recollect what I read a long time ago in 20000 leagues under the sea. Mina Harker, the sole woman in the League, gets the much required feminine touch to the show. So what if she’s a vampire!

What lets the movie down a bit is the fact that the start and the end are joined together by a big mass of confusion, more like a jumble of scenes. The style and acting of the characters are the only resource by which entire story hangs.

Even the mythology of each of these characters is somewhat downplayed. It would have been a big plus for the movie to include a few characteristics that have made the geniuses of the characters themselves. With the exception of Quatermain, the rest of the League was rushed into the movie, without proper introductions. As if Hollywood expected the rest of the world to know these comic book characters.

Nevertheless, the League are what they actually are. In a world which they hide from, this was their last chance to make good the bad things that they had done. Picking up from a dialogue from the movie, “They were like tigers, with a lot of fight left in them.”

A good Thursday night pop corn flick!