'THE LEAGUE OF
EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN' WAS NOT A VERY GOOD FILM
boy, this was the one. This was the film I was
waiting all summer for. Any regular reader of
FullyRamblomatic should know that I took out a
permanent lease on the edge of my seat when I
knew that my favouritest comic book in the whole
wide world was becoming a film. But do you know,
this is the umpteenth film I've seen in a cinema
this year and there still weren't any damn
trailers for - oh wait.
inside joke for the regular FR readers, there.
of Extraordinary Gentlemen is an intriguing
premise on its own. British Intelligence brings
together a group of gifted people from various
pieces of Victorian classic and pulp literature
in order to combine their efforts toward the
greater good. On the way, there're about eleventy
billion other references to literature of that
period. I tell ye this, the comic probably did
more to send readers to Victorian literature than
any English lesson. And here's the film.
let me clarify that I went into this film certain
I was going to dislike it. Right from when I
started looking into details on the film I knew I
was going to dislike it, because they made some
pretty drastic changes from the book, and as I
have previously mentioned, it was my favouritest
book in the whole wide world. So my review will
be biased, but it really was an 'orrible shame.
Especially since they found a way to bugger up
every single damn character.
go through them and find out how! That'll be a
fun game, won't it, children!
Book: King Solomon's Mines (H. Ryder
The Comic: Having faked his own death,
Allan turned his back on adventuring and spent
most of the time afterwards doped up to the
friggin' eyeballs until being dragged screaming
from his opium bed and forced into the League.
He's a rather haunted adventurer who gets easily
cross, as you'd expect.
The Film: He's Sean Connery! Whoopee!
The presence of The Sean has a tendency to taint
a film, I find, because he is never his
character; he's always just The Sean. Arnie had
the same problem, probably why he began
single-handedly snapping faith in democracy in
half across his musclebound thigh. It's a shame,
'cos Allan's a pretty good character in his own
right. In this film, he's found in a sort of
retirement home in Kenya, presumably 'cos the
opium stuff would have tainted his heroic image.
They threw in some dippy backstory about him
being haunted by guilt after he took his son on
an adventure and the lad died. I can live with
them ripping up the comic, but that's entreating
on the original books, you tossers!
they keep spelling it 'Quartermain'. Tossers.
Book: Dracula (Bram Stoker),
The Most Boring Book In The World
The Comic: The leader of the League, a
tough and prim suffragete, standing proud in her
own right in a world of men. She divorced her
sappy husband Jonathan Harker and took her old
name back, 'cos he was a twat. She's probably the
best female comic book character ever (my
girlfriend certainly thinks so!). This is because
she actually HAS character, rather than just
being a convenient love interest and tantalising
pair of boobies all rolled into one. She is also
very, very human.
The Film: A convenient love interest and
tantalising pair of boobies all rolled into one.
Oh, and she's a vampire. Hollywood, you've let me
down in the past, but now you're putting the boot
in. "Hey! Lets make her a vampire! That'd be
cool!" I hear those studio execs cry as they
masturbate furiously. They call her 'Mrs Mina
Harker', as her husband died, 'cos he was a twat.
What they did to Mina is the main reason my
girlfriend is not watching the film.
suppose alarm bells rang for me when I first saw
the trailer on TV, and for about one sixth of a
second the focus was on Mina's cleavage. Her head
wasn't visible. It was just a full-frontal close
up of her upper torso, for absolutely no reason.
I seem to remember saying once that the best way
to improve the film 'Street Fighter' would have
been to replace the action with a close-up of
some breasts, but I didn't think anyone would
ever actually DO it. This is doubly notable
because, as I recall, Mina didn't even wear
anything throughout the film that exposed her
Book: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Jules
Verne), The Second Most Boring Book In The
The Comic: A gigantic bearded Hindu
built like a brick shithouse, towering and
fearsome as the tallest member of the League,
owner and operator of the Nautilus and a very big
black beard. Strangely enough, he always refused
to do any actual physical work for the League,
disguising himself as a servant on one occasion
and obstinately refusing to pull his weight ever
again. Very much a case of letting the awkward
kid join your club because he has all the best
The Film: He's TINY. He's a tiny little
man in a very fake-looking beard in ornate naval
gear that makes him look like a small child who
got lost in the costume department. Also, he does
Kung-Fu. Hear me now as I sigh. Haahhhhhh.
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Book: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Robert
Louis Stevenson) (duh)
The Comic: Messy, nervous, ugly little
Dr. Jekyll turns into gigantic, ape-like Edward
Hyde whenever he becomes overstressed. I'm still
waiting for him to say something along the lines
of "You wouldn't like me when I'm
The Film: They gave him SIDEBURNS. Oh,
christ, the rest of it I can forgive, but
SIDEBURNS! AGH! In all seriousness, they do cock
him up by saying he has to take the potion to
become Hyde, then after a while the potion runs
out and he turns back. First of all, this isn't
how it went in the comic. Second of all, in the
original book, when he took the potion he became
Hyde indefinitely until taking it again, and by
the end of the book was changing without the
potion. CHRIST, Mr. Director Man, it would've
taken all of an AFTERNOON to read all these
books, and how long did you have to make your
shitty film? Bloody damn buggering arse!
and despite being the evil side of Jekyll's
personality, Hyde does very little in the way of
The Invisible Man
Book: The Invisible Man (HG Wells)
The Comic: 'Hawley Griffin'. Having
survived the events of HG Wells' novel, Griffin
is insane and hiding in a girl's school, playing
'pick and mix vaginas'. He joins the League after
being promised a cure, and it soon becomes clear
that he's a giggling sociopath with no regard for
humanity, resorting to unnecessary murder on two
occasions. This doesn't distract, however, from
the fact that he's the COOLEST FUCKING GUY in the
ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD.
The Film: 'Rodney Skinner', a loveable
cockney sparrer, gentleman thief, a bit of a
character, a rough diamond with a heart of gold,
me old china. He stole Griffin's invisibility
process in order to become the ultimate thief. I
suppose he was rather fun, but he FUCKING WELL
WASN'T HAWLEY GRIFFIN ARGH ARGH GROWL GROWL BITE
BITE. This was down to copyright issues with HG
Wells' estate, so I can't really blame the
filmmakers, but one wonders how the comic got
away with him. So he's not THE invisible man, as
advertised, he's just AN invisible man. Griffin
will always be THE invisible man for me.
tried conditioning myself to hear 'Griffin'
whenever I heard the name 'Skinner', but that
didn't work out right. I'd end up hearing the
character as 'Rodley Skiffin' or even 'Horny
Grinner'. Though on reflection, the latter name
does fit Griffin to a T.
book: The Picture Of Dorian Gray (Oscar
'I Swear To Christ I Love My Wife' Wilde)
The Comic: Conspicuous in his absence.
The Film: I honestly don't know why he
was in the film, except [INCOMING SPOILER! HOLD
ONTO YOUR HATS!] to provide a villain figure to
betray them all [ALL CLEAR]. So he wasn't in the
comic, so they couldn't bugger that up. However,
in the film Mina managed to destroy him just by
showing him his portrait, when in the original
book he had to slash the painting up before
getting around to the whole death thing.
Book: That one by Mark Twain.
The Comic: Nope.
The Film: I don't know why Hollywood
feels they have to throw in Americans to make
Americans interested in chiefly British films.
Americans LOVE British shit. They love our
television, they loved The Full Monty, and even
they hate it when Americans start fiddling about
with our formulas. He's some special agent or
something. They give him some father-son
relationship with The Sean, and he's apparently
able to operate the world's first automobile as
soon as he gets in. I think Dorian Gray put it
best: "We don't need you."
take one or two plot points from the comic, then
hurl everything else through the nearest plate
glass window, to strike the pavement below at
great speed and get run over by about fourteen
vans. [MORE SPOILERS COMING! AWOOGA-WOO!] The
bloke leading them turns out to be Professor
Moriarty, also filling the role of chief villain
[DANGER HAS PASSED, ALL IS WELL], but besides
that it's all new. There's some plot to spark off
a World War, and some hackneyed stuff about a
plan to clone the superpowered members of the
League. It all comes down to familiar action film
territory, especially when they have to break
into Moriarty's secret base, defeat his hordes of
henchmen and blow the place to smithereens.
lots of reasons for me to hate the film, but not
necessarily reasons for others to hate it. I
suppose you might like it if you never read the
comic, and if you're into mindless popcorn action
flicks. I'm glad to say the spirit of the
original intention (a tribute/satire on Victorian
fiction) is there, since there are plenty of nods
and cameos to a host of other books from that
period, even if they get a bit crowbarred-in at
times. Dialogue's extremely dodgy in places, too.
trouble with having seven protagonists is that
you need seven antagonists, seven backstories,
seven 'struggles against adversity' and seven
resolutions. So some of it gets a bit rushed,
quite a few backstories are recounted in a matter
of nanoseconds, and towards the end the action
switches constantly between about four or five
different battles, with Mina fighting Dorian and
Quatermain fighting Moriarty and Skinner fighting
another invisible man and Hyde fighting another
Hyde. It's all done in a very fast-pace, but at
least it does get done at all; at least all the
characters have character.
summary, then, I would recommend this film only
if you've never read the comic, don't like to
think much, and don't think the following
questions would nag you at all:
If the villains were trying to clone super
soldiers from Skinner, Hyde and Mina, why weren't
they interested in trying to reproduce Dorian
Gray's indestructible nature? I guess 'selling
your soul to the devil' is too unscientific.
Why does everyone immediately suspect Skinner
when they realised someone has betrayed them? Did
they all read the comic, too?
Where did Hyde get a hilarious oversized top hat
to wear? Why didn't he get a hilarious oversized
suit while he was at it?
Why does everyone change into a new outfit
whenever the camera's off them? (Although, to be
fair, this was prevalent in the comic, too)
How the hell could anyone analyse an invisible
skin sample? Maybe you'd figure it out
eventually, but how would you then back-engineer
it to reproduce Griffin's invisibility process
and create another invisible man just days after
the skin sample was acquired?
Why does Moriarty look about 30 when he's
supposed to be as old as the hills by 1899?
Is Mina the kind of vampire who can go out in
broad daylight, then?
How did Dorian Gray photograph various parts of
the Nautilus with a gigantic noisy Victorian
camera without alerting anyone?
How did Hyde's enemy drink Jekyll's formula when
he was clearly just pouring it all over his face,
none of it going into his mouth at all?
While we're on the subject, why does drinking
tons of formula turn that bloke into a gigantic
monster? Jekyll's formula was designed to divide
a person's evil side from the rest of him and
bring that evil persona out into physical form.
It shouldn't matter exactly how much formula you
drink, your evil side will always be the same
size, right? Maybe it was just because the guy
was much more evil than Jekyll, but in that case,
why does Hyde cry "No! Not the whole
thing!"? Grumble grumble mutter read the
bloody book mutter grumble.
Where does Nemo get those FABulous outfits?
Where does Skinner keep that little pot of
make-up he always smears his entire head in at a
moment's notice? Wouldn't carrying it around
everywhere compromise his invisibility a tad? And
why does he have designer stubble when he's
wearing it? Wouldn't the make-up hide that?
How do Jekyll and Skinner, one semi-naked and the
other butt-naked, survive running around icy
tundra with no apparent ill effects?
How does the Nautilus, the biggest ship ever
built ever, navigate the canals in Venice, and
why doesn't it cause comment?
Why am I sitting in this place watching this
dross when I could be out enjoying the sun,
meeting new friends, or gaily humping some flower
of girlhood under the swaying boughs of a shady
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