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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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The League

Saw League of Extraordinary Gentleman with my brother last week, and enjoyed it a lot more than I was hoping to. I'm a huge fan of the original six-issue comic series by Alan Moore and Kevin Ross, but after seeing the dismal original trailers, which looked like a rip-off of the X-Men, I was expecting a complete mess.

My hopes perked up after I learned that James Robinson, of the comic Starman, which was quite wonderful, had done the script. Like Moore, he's a master at dropping in all sorts of cultural and literary references into his work.

In the movie, Robinson has taken the idea behind the Moore and Ross comic, that a team 19th-century literary heroes has been put together to deal with a world threat, and created an original story, with some additional characters not in the comic. Once you accept that it's not the comic story on the screen, I found that I was enjoying it quite a lot. Connery is wonderful of course, as was Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray. I even liked the Tom Sawyer character. And the movie has the best on-screen Captain Nemo ever.

My friend Andrew once commented that Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (a great movie in it's own right) made Captain Nemo an Englishman from then on (played by James Mason). If you read Verne's books, it's clear that while Nemo's identity is a mystery in 20,000 Leagues, he's certainly fighting against the English. In Mysterious Island, we learn that Nemo's actually East Indian, and in the Moore comic (and this movie), he's gone back to full-blown Sikh mode. Which really, really works. He's played by a veteran Bollywood actor who's clearly having great fun. Some of the best scenes of the movie are his character and Connery, the two old tigers, talking.

The design of the Nautilus was spectacular, if somewhat impractical. But then, Nemo isn't interested in pure efficiency, more in making a statement. And he's not worried about being tracked by other ships or subs as he's so far ahead of everyone else. But it did look only slightly smaller than the Titanic. A little large to fit in the canals of Venice.

They downplayed all the references to other literary characters and events in the movie compared to the comic, where practically every pages had some little joke in it. Apparently, they were worried about copyright issues, even for characters which are now in public domain. Moore has said that he's considered doing League stories in other time periods, but modern times would likely involve too many copyright problems.

All this said, the movie is rough in spots, and there were definitely sequences that needed to be extended and explained better. The movie's running time is just under two hours, which surprised me, as longer run times are acceptable for "big" movies these days. Another 15-20 minutes I think would have smoothed things out. Also, one of the big action set-pieces made no sense at all, even by action movie standards.

Still, it was loads better than Hulk, and only the second movie this year I'd consider buying when it comes out on DVD"X2".

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I loved it! No doubt being a BIG Sean Connery fan ( and NOT due his roles in the James Bond series but in his earlier works). I found it very enjoyable. I thought the characters were great though you are dead on about some scenes having rough spots. It was nice to see Sean in a natural role meaning- old, wise, doesnt want to take any sort of s*** from anyone- definitely an old tiger.

The fight scenes were great- yes- i had to to think it through why Nemo was Indian since I grew up with the James Mason version.

Not to give a spoiler but i was disappointed re: villian. I expected alot more...but overall one that i would buy for my DVD collection.

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