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About This Film
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003): This is a
superhero movie in the truest sense. It's quite unique, because
popular fictional characters from the 19th century are all put together
in one story. The characters are positively unique and engaging,
many of them being retooled from their original literary
appearances. The year is 1899, and a mysterious villain called
"The Phantom" attempts to start a World War and nearly succeeds.
A team of unique individuals is called together to fight this fantastic
force. The Phantom has incredible weaponry, including early
versions of tanks, rocket launchers, and machine guns. If you
know your history you'll know that these items weren't invented until
many years later in the 20th century. This is supposed to give
you an impression that these things have been around longer, in various
forms, than anyone ever expected. It's very clever. Then we
have Captain Nemo's impressive submarine and a little invention he
calls the Automobile. Cool! The way these vehicles are
designed is impressive within itself.
Each one of the major characters deserves
recognition. Here is a
rundown of the ingenious portrayals of these classic characters,
recreated and made even more special for this movie.
Adventurer and uncanny marksman. Played by Sean Connery.
I've always admired Sean as an actor and feel that as time has gone on,
he just keeps getting better and better! It's really unusual for
an actor to be able to get such diverse parts as he (or she) gets
older, but he's so good that parts just seem to come up. He's
come a long way since the James Bond films.
Quatermain is a bit old, we assume 60s or 70s.
He is an unusually
good shot with a gun. Plus he has managed to survive all these
dangerous adventures he's had over the years. A medicine man in
Africa once blessed him with eternal life, saying that Africa would
never let him die. He is recruited as the leader of this team and
was reluctant to do so. His spirit has been crushed by the death
of his son some years ago. He is teamed with a young American
named Tom Sawyer who reminds him of his son and perhaps as a younger
version of himself. It's a bit unsettling for him, but the two
become close nonetheless.
First Appearance of Allan Quatermain:
pirate, now an explorer. Played by Naseeruddin Shah. This
character is so cool, and a large part of that has to do with the actor
who plays him. How come this Captain Nemo is so much more
interesting than the Captain Nemo from the classic "20,000 Leagues
Under the Sea" film? He has a much more flamboyant wardrobe for
one thing. Plus, it is really because of him that the League can
do much world-saving at all. Without his incredible submarine
Nautilus or his Automobile, none of them would have been able to get
very far. More so than that, I like Nemo's personality. He
is a somewhat reformed pirate and has a sociable demeanor, but make him
mad and you'll feel every inch of sharp, cold steel. He's a
swordsman, and we often see him tear up the bad guys with it. "I
follow a different path." is probably his best one-liner in the
film. This comes about when the enemies make note of how they
have guns and he doesn't. Shah is an amazing actor for this
character and comes from India. He has made a ton of films in
India, but I hope he can land even more roles in American films someday.
At first, leader Allan Quatermain and Captain Nemo
have an icy
reception, but they fast become friends. They are more or less
co-leaders of the team. Nemo's Nautilus has great importance
because it's the League's major vehicle and he's the Captain. He
doesn't allow any monkey-business on his ship.
First Appearance of Captain Nemo:
He first appeared in the novel "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules
Verne in 1873. Some sources say 1870. Jules Verne was
French, and lived from 1828-1905.
Mina Harker: Scientist and
vampiress. Played by Peta Wilson. She looks good, but more
than that she has a sexy personality. Mina was turned into a
vampire years ago by Count Dracula. She has lived for these many
years. No one knows that she is a vampire until the team is
almost completely put together...except for M. She goes from prim
and proper to wildly dressed, redheaded vampire. At the beginning
of the film we almost anticipate a romance between Mina and Allan,
later we see a relationship rekindled between Mina and Dorian Gray, but
more strongly we see Mina and Tom Sawyer fall in love. He really
isn't her type at first, "cute, and young", but he grows on her.
We actually see that she becomes concerned for his safety later in the
Peta plays this role very well and I would like to
see a sequel made so
she can play her again.
First Appearance of Mina Harker:
She first appeared in the novel "Dracula" by Bram Stoker in 1897.
Her creator was Irish, and lived from 1847-1912. The story was
set in 19th century Transylvania, Romania.
Scientist or monster. Played by Jason Flemyng. How many
times have we seen or heard something about Jekyll & Hyde?
And how many times does it bore us senseless because it only amounts to
some guy whipping on makeup and making growling noises like
Frankenstein? This is not the case here. Far from it.
This is, without a doubt, the best portrayal of the characters Jekyll
& Hyde in any form of media. Jekyll is a brilliant scientist,
but very uneasy and nervous. When he becomes Hyde, it is not a
makeup job. Thanks to special effects, we see a
computer-generated Hyde that is as big, mean, and nasty-looking as the
Incredible Hulk! What's even scarier is that Hyde is so
eloquent. He doesn't really growl. Everything is
well-prosed. He speaks even more proper than Jekyll, but he's
very much unstable. Hyde has a temper. Dr. Jekyll learns to
control Hyde more and more in the film, which is good to see, and Hyde
learns to use his power for good. Before, these two personalities
hated each other, and towards the end of the film they build an
alliance. Jekyll also loses some of his nervousness as he starts
to get his life together among all the crazy happenings. I like
Jason Flemyng as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He should play these
characters again, perhaps in a spinoff from this film. Visually,
Hyde is the movie's most impressive character.
First Appearance of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde: He first appeared in the novel "The Strange Case of
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886. The
story is set in London, England. Robert Louis Stevenson was
English and lived from 1850-1894.
Invisible Man aka Rodney Skinner:
Powers of invisibility and professional thief. Played by Tony
Curran. I love his cocky attitude. It's also a neat
aesthetic to have him paint his face with white make-up so we can see
his expressions. He's definitely one of the lower elements,
dressed in his leather trenchcoat. Rodney is nowhere near as
refined as any of the other characters and not really a
gentleman. He more or less has to prove himself to the entire
team, because nobody trusts him. When it's really Dorian Gray who
turns out to be the traitor, not Rodney Skinner, our invisible man has
to save the day. It's a nice touch how the team does a complete
turnaround of his character. He is trustworthy, after all.
Tony gives the Invisible Man that bawdy attitude
which is always funny.
First Appearance of The Invisible
Man: The character of Rodney Skinner as the Invisible Man
was created for this film. The writers play off the fact that the
original Invisible Man aka Hawley Griffin died and that this character
stole his formula and became the next Invisible Man. Skinner was
the name of a landlord in the novel "The Invisible Man" by H.G. Wells
in 1897. This is where the name, not the character, was derived
for this film. The story is set in London, England and in rural
southern England. H.G. Wells was English and lived from 1866-1946.
Young adventurer, fearless, good marksman. Played by Shane
West. The grown-up, trouble-making friend of Huckleberry Finn
doesn't have any super abilities like the rest of the League.
He's a good marksman, but nowhere near the level of Allan Quatermain's
ability. Allan teaches him, though, and he gets better. He
is probably more fearless than any of the other members and surely a
bit cocky. He's young, a U.S. Marshal who pretty much falls into
the League after trailing them for awhile. Basically, he's the
token young guy of the group. He falls in love with Mina Harker,
a vampiress, and has some life experiences under father-like
Quatermain's tutelage. When Allan dies at the end of the film, he
passes the torch onto Tom Sawyer, who he sees as a much younger version
of himself destined for a life of high adventure. Shane West is
actually one of the very few "young guy" actors from this decade that I
think is a really good actor.
First Appearance of Tom Sawyer: He
first appeared in the novel "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark
Twain in 1876. Tom's creator was American and lived from
1835-1910. The story was set in St. Petersburg, Missouri in
1845. It's not specified that the year was 1845, but many
consider it so. It's definitely set in the 1840s. In 1899,
when "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" was set, Tom Sawyer
would've been much older. Take it with a grain of sand. A
twenty-something Tom Sawyer makes for a much cooler story.
M, The Phantom,
mastermind. Played by Richard Roxburgh. All three of these
characters is the same person: Professor Moriarty, psychotic
criminal mastermind and nemesis of Sherlock Holmes. It is
believed that Moriarty is dead. He assumes the role of "M," the
man in charge of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". In
fact, he made up the League just to set up our heroes; the League never
really existed. He also donned the disguise of "The Phantom", an
ugly character with silver mask covering scarred face, long black hair,
and whom we are lead to believe is German. As the Phantom, he
plotted to start a World War so he could get rich selling his weapons
and, of course, have great power as a world leader. We later
learn that he is Professor Moriarty, the enemy of famed British
detective Sherlock Holmes, who is still very much alive. As M, we
first think he is one of the good guys. We find out he
isn't. Roxburgh does a good job playing all of these
characters. They're all just so darned evil!
First Appearance of Professor Moriarty:
Immortal, expert swordsman. Played by Stuart Townsend. Long
ago he made a deal with the devil for immortality. He could live
forever just so long as he never saw his own portrait. His
portrait aged while he didn't. One look at the hideous painting
would kill him. He is an expert swordsman and very, very
cocky. In fact, he's more cocky than Tom Sawyer or the Invisible
Man. I know he's supposed to like women, as he has a fondness for
Mina Harker, but he comes off very effeminent. It makes for an
interesting character; he just isn't too manly. Townsend does a
good job of making this character catty, but cool at the same
time. It's an interesting portrayal. This character, like
M, is also someone we think is a hero at first, but who turns out to be
First Appearance of Dorian Gray:
He first appeared in the novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by
Oscar Wilde. This was Oscar Wilde's only novel, and the story
originally appeared as a serial in an American magazine in 1890.
By 1891, the stories were compiled into a novel. The story is set
in London, England in 1890. Dorian's creator, Oscar Wilde, was
English and lived from 1854-1900.