The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

Rating: ****
Release Date: 7/11/03
Music: Trevor Jones
Cast: Sean Connery, Peta Wilson, Richard Roxburgh

Fantastic! A visual feast of action and adventure with all the flair and splendor of a Terry Gilliam film. It's 1899 and the world is on the brink of war. A megalomaniac known as "The Phantom" is terrorizing the world with his revolutionary weaponry and technology, causing England to summon the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to deal with the threat. Expert marksman Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) leads the team which consists of such legendary characters as Captain Nemo, Doctor Jekyll, Dorian Gray, the Invisible Man, Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), and a promising young American gunslinger. But things aren't as they seem, and soon the League has more trouble than they know how to deal with, leading to a non-stop series of gorgeously over-the-top action sequences.

At its heart, this is a character driven film, and the charismatic and forceful personalities of all the players lend the film an incredible amount of charm and chemistry. The extraordinary characters are perfectly complemented by their extraordinary surroundings and the massive scale of everything that happens around them. This is an extremely fun movie to watch and it's easy to enjoy. It's not bogged down by pretentiousness, attitude, moral ambiguity, insulting dialog, or social commentary - it's simply a fun and fantastic adventure that sparks the imagination and makes you feel like a kid again. The acting is good, the music is wonderful, the costumes are lovely, the fight scenes are exciting, and while many of the visual effects are tacky, they certainly don't detract from the overall tone of what the film is trying to achieve. Good stuff all around.

However, fans of Alan Moore's original comic book series will surely be disappointed, because the film takes extreme liberties with the material. Calling it a loose adaptation is overly generous, as the film shares very little in common with the book, and it dumbs down the narrative quite a bit. The biggest disappointment is how the film relegates Mina to being a support character, rather than the leader of the group.