The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Year: 2003
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Stephen Norrington
Writer: James Dale Robsinson/Alan Moore/Kevin O'Neill
Cast: Sean Connery, Stuart Townsend, Richard Roxburgh

Yes, it's another blockbuster. It's not the most original movie you'll see this year, it's an easy-to-digest holiday movie, with no existential dramatic subtext and no pretensions about its purpose. Sure it's ridiculous, but so are most of the other big American movie juggernauts this year, even the 'respected' ones such as Hulk.

The premise of the graphic novel - bringing some the Victorian era's most famous fictional characters together to form a sort of 19th century antiterrorist task force – is an exciting enough idea to bring the punters in, and director Stephen Blade Norrington delivers a pretty rip-roaring payoff. The Nautilus is an enormous art deco submarine, Dr Jekyll's evil alter ego is a redheaded CG Hulk's younger brother, and immortal Dorian Gray yawns impatiently as bullets tear harmlessly through him.

Brought together by mysterious high-level defence bigwig M (fanboy websites point this to evidence of a sequel that will include the precursor to James Bond), they must do battle with a mysterious figure known as the Phantom. Hell-bent on plunging the world to war by stirring the pot of international unrest, the villain also plans to profit by supplying the new terrifying new weapons of war (including the tank and automatic rifle) to both sides.

The league chase the Phantom from London to Paris and Venice to the frozen wastes of Mongolia, and just when you think it's going to finish too early and it was all just too easy, a pretty vanilla-flavoured twist plunges them (and the audience) deeper into the action. Yes, action. Intriguing as it is for the story to be populated with the great personalities of classic literature, LXG is about adventure, action excitement and computer-generated money shots of destruction, no less than Charlie's Angels. Keep that in mind, and you'll have a good time.

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