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League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Prepare for the Extraordinary  

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Legendary comic book writer Alan Moore must have been in an inspired mood when he came up with the idea of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Take some of the best loved fictional heroes and villains (everyone from Dante to Jekyll and Hyde) and league them together in a series of extraordinary, fantastically overblown adventures starting in nineteenth century London. The result, in original comic format was everything, and all in one place.

In directing the first film (of what will surely be a series) Norrington has overseen the addition of two American heroes to the British cast: Tom Sawyer and Dorian Gray. Tom Sawyer is of course grown up now and bears little resemblance to the young boy invented by Mark Twain, but nonetheless proves himself sufficiently extraordinary, if not very gentlemanly, to merit his part. A couple of the old favourites are also missing: Fu Manchu (apparently because the stereotypical Chinese villain was considered ever so slightly offensive) and secret agent Campion Bond because with Sean Connery heading the cast the Bond quota was full already.

The plot is daft of course, but great fun. The same can be said of the shooting, an eclectic mix of faux-historical London, Venice, CGI and copious use of prosthetics for the Jekyll and Hyde character. As Allan Quatermain, Sean Connery plays exactly the same role as in all his other films, striding through the chaos with barely a twitch of those chiselled features and hardly any waver in the Scottish accent we’ve all come to love. As usual it makes you long for those heady days when he was known only as 007 – in many ways this could be counted as the finest Bond film he never made.

Ideal for gentlemen (and there’s plenty for the ladies too) LXG, as it’s affectionately known, is a rollercoaster ride through a fantasy land that puts all other comic book adaptations to shame. It’s an extraordinary film in a league of its own.

James Moriarty

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)