New Connery film in a "League of extraordinarily" huge wastes of time

by Eric Melin on July 18, 2003

in Print Reviews

Today was a day off toward the end of our tour, and Nick and I got up at 8 in the morning in our Cleveland hotel room and drove to Sandusky, Ohio to ride the tallest and fastest rollercoaster in the entire world at Cedar Point amusement park! After speeding our ass off to get there before gates opened, we were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm, which pretty much shot our fun rollercoaster day all to hell. Since they don’t run coasters in lightning storms, we returned to Cleveland with our tails between our legs to meet up with the rest of the guys and go see a movie instead.

But I was the only one to get so gloriously crapped on twice in one day, because Nick didn’t go with me to see the worst movie of the year so far, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”

Luckily, I didn’t spend any money on this extraordinarily inept embarrassment of a movie. The two geniuses at the theater box office were apparently having a discussion about one or more of somebody’s “bitch asses” as I approached, so I just ignored them and went straight into the theater.

What I was “treated” to was far worse than I could have imagined.

Imagine, if you will, a grand and rousing graphic novel with subtle characterization and a detailed sense of atmosphere written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O’Neill. The book’s adventure storyline is fairly engaging, but it is the surroundings and attitudes of the years directly preceding the turn of the 20th century that are captured so richly combined with far-out imaginative fantasy elements, that make the “League” novel unlike anything else.

Now imagine some studio higher-up throwing out ALL of that incredibly creative blueprinting in favor of what he thinks will make a marketable movie. Jettison the colorful backdrops and fancy designs of the comic book to make way for murky backgrounds, dark and washed-out set design, and boring, rigid machine designs.

Then take the book’s fictional literary figures Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, and the Invisible Man, rob them of their personalities, and make them all talk with all the panache of Arnold Schwartzenegger in a kid’s movie. In fact, completely throw out everything about the entire plot that was good, and replace it with a stupid conventional shoot-’em-up/blow-’em-up. While you’re at it, brilliant studio exec, why don’t you add in a young American buck for the ladies to offset all these stuffy European oldies. Hell, how about ol’ Tom Sawyer, guns a-blazin’ like Chow Yun-Fat in a John Woo flick? That’ll really make Mark Twain proud.

It may have sounded great on paper demographically, but it all adds up to one insultingly bad movie. The concept of these late 19th century characters banding together like some sort of superhero team is a brilliant one. The possibilities are limitless. But all that Moore has explored with great detail and research in the comic is of no consequence to the makers of “League,” because the concept is the only thing remotely similar.

Once again, I did my research, and on this tour, read Volume One of the “League’s” exploits knowing that the movie would be out soon. And, as disappointed as I was with “T3” after watching the first two “Terminator” movies the days before, I was way more disappointed here.

And I haven’t even mentioned the awful use of CGI special effects, even in the most superfluous of places. For instance, rather than filming actual smoke, they’ve just put computer generated fakey-looking smoke there instead. All landscapes, architechure and backdrops are bad special effects, and after a while you wonder where the actors were standing when these scenes were filmed. I think the whole movie was done in front of a blue screen.

Comic aside, the movie just plain sucks. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that this “League” was good. Director Stephen Norrington should be made to watch his own “Blade” over and over again, so he could at least figure out how to have fun with a comic character again. And Sean Connery should fire his agent for letting him star in such an insipid mess. Did he even read the script? Was there even one? Or did they decide to go with the premise of the League and simply improvise the rest?

There is an ending that suggests a sequel, but I guarantee it’ll never be made. When word gets out on this stinker, it’ll be lucky to cover the cost of that fake smoke effect.Terrible dialogue, terrible plot, terrible set design, terrible CGI effects, terrible insult to the book, terribly unintentionally funny, terribly joyless proceedings all around.

And no rides on the world’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster. What a disappointing day.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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