The League was an unfortunate and exuberantly produced film accompanied by a poorly written cast pertained as an excuse for amusement!
World renowned Writer Alan Moore and Artist Kevin O’Neill brought to life the characters of “The League” in 1999. The more popular of the two, Allan made graphic novels as if they were Essay Contests in High School! He focused on characters particularly in the European setting where the assembled heroes and anti-heroes can be distinguished as the timeline’s version of the “Justice League” well, with a touch of tea and crumpets at least!
The Graphic Novels had two Volumes and a Graphic Novel circulated in various publishers including the Wildstorm/DC Comics that run from 1999 to 2007 while transferring to a lesser known Topshelf/Knockabout Comics from 2009! From here, “The Hunt is on!”
A tank rolling on the streets of Moorgate, it ransacked a bank suggesting a bigger purpose. Shortly after, the same group were seen kidnapping Scientists from Germany and killing people in the process. Two countries now at the brink of chaos, blaming each other for the conspired attacks which could start the First World War!
Packed with dull one liners and theatrical shabbiness, it depicts world famous literary figures, heroes and icons assembled to hunt down the perpetrator named Moriarty who I see as an under performer Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge) dressed as a disfigured old man called Fantom who looks more of a disconcerted, angry and disillusioned theatre actor who lost his part in an audition for the role!
The original James Bond has fallen short in providing an “extraordinary” take on his character. Like the rest of the cast performance, Sean Connery (Indiana Jones) is British explorer, hunter Allan Quartermaine haunted by past misgivings he relocated to Africa to find peace of mind. He’s the de-facto team leader who generates mistrust and verbal quips with all its members. While personal favorite Tony Curran (Underworld: Evolution) is the Scientist turned thief Rodney Skinner also known as The Invisible Man part time jokester, full time hero. He is indeed given some dual purpose for the film and it will only prove more of his worth once the dust settles. Tony has played extensive roles with a bit more levity on real acting. Naseeruddin Shah (It Could Be You) is Captain Nemo, the undeniable but generous pirate, he provides the team with hardware and resources to accomplish their mission.
The picky and prickly Stuart Townsend (Aeon Flux) who I believe has mediocre talent is the seemingly immortal with an “effeminate” demeanor Dorian Gray. He still has emancipation for the only “Rose” in a group of thorns her name is Wilhemina Harker, the wife of the late Jonathan Harker who previously partnered with Van Hel Sing the famous nemesis of Dracula himself!
With Peta Wilson (Superman Returns) on board, half of the team are getting their blood boiling even for the young Shane West (A Walk to Remember) who plays Tom Sawyer an American Secret Service Agent (can you believe it he’s an Agent of ASS). Lame delivery, lame performance for the upstart, he makes his brash motives to contribute in the battlefield just to impress Mina.
Don’t forget the man-monster, running on roof tops trying to avoid punishment for his crimes to England, Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First Class) is introduced as the menace to society Mr. Edward Hyde and before becoming his alter ego Dr. Henry Jekyll who falls for the vampiress as well (can someone get another lady in the film please, too much testosterone running around)! Jason is so slowly climbing up to be an international star and can have a lot of potential if he can be given more serious roles. He was also seen from the same Writer of another comic book From Hell!
A lot of inconsistencies were so obvious, an example was from the shooting range Allan was doing on top of the Nautilus speeding at least 20 knots from a far end view while at the same time he was talking with Tom we see the ship hardly moving or not moving at all! Another scenario was the Exploration Pod who got a few minutes head start (even before they started fixing damages) and yet the gigantic submarine could not catch it!
On the other hand, Special and Visual Effects are thought off meticulously even for the Submarine going up and down the sea looked genuine! Together with Industrial Light and Magic and the emergence of Double Negative of London gave the film’s consistency for this area of expertise. Another aspect was using Previs but only in a limited extent, it helped a little with the storytelling but the execution of the Director was crucial on how it supposed to be relayed in terms of inputs from Screenplay and in-depth was the adaptation made to make it lambasted with poor dialogue, it was like a pissing contest waiting for a “return fire” from the casts sarcastic bantering!
Combining the available settings of the Victorian era it also brings out the use of steam punk weaponry and vehicles to provide a cohesive setting of the given timeline! The elements brought in by the creator of the comic book deals more fantasy based exploiting the fascinating competencies of manmade science as well as supernatural fetish! It was mediocre to say the least given that it had well administered basis of the screenplay and yet it still falls short for tautness dialogue leaving behind an obscure excuse for Director Stephen Norrington (Blade) and Writer James Robinson (Cyber bandits) for being lazy chaps! Off you go, don’t let the door hit you on your way out!