DVD
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Starring: Sean Connery, Peta Wilson, Stuart Townsend and Jason Flemyng
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP 15.99 (single disc), 22.99 (two-disc set)
24226DVD/24226CDVD
Certificate: 12
Available now


It's 1899 and the world is a dark and ominous place. Tensions between Germany and England are growing and a mysterious megalomaniac called "The Fantom" is provoking war, believing he can cash in on the conflict by selling weapons of mass destruction. Desperate to maintain peace, an agent of the British government has the task of rounding up a team of extraordinary figures with legendary powers. And so begins the adventures of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen...

I missed this movie on its theatrically release and after watching the DVD I am seriously wishing I had gone to the cinema - for this is a movie that really should be seen for the first time on the big screen.

Despite criticism from the press at the time, this was certainly the best Hollywood blockbuster released last year - easily outshining Hulk. I'd even go as far as saying it is one of the better comic conversions of late. I enjoyed it more than Spider-Man, and put it on equal footing with The X-Men. Some of the media coverage at the time was crazy - slating the movie for unrealistic elements... Hello! This is a movie based on historical figures! Did they throw the same level of criticism at The X-Men? No! Is that believable? Er... No! But that is the point! Loose yourself in fantasy for the duration and stop your complaining. Or maybe the press were still smarting from the travesty which was Hulk.

Sure, Alan Moore fans may complain that it doesn't stay true to the comic. But if it had, then the film would not have been half as good as it was. Some stylistic changes were made, which aren't too drastic. And while Tom Sawyer was included to give the American's a historical figure of their own to latch onto (the rest of The League are based on Victorian England creations) this doesn't really detract from the main thrust of the comics.

Take it as it is... a fun action packed movie with some great twists. On top of that, it also illustrates why miniature effects work is more impressive than CGI. Some of the model work is amazing.

The only real question I had was why is the villain of the piece so horribly disfigured? He is wearing a metal mask to hide his true identity, so why then go to the trouble of wearing make-up to appear as though he is mutilated?

Extras include: Disc One: Audio commentary by producers Don Murphy and Trevor Albert, and actors Jason Flemyng, Tony Curran and Shane West. Audio commentary by Jacqueline West, John Sullivan and Matthew Gratzner. Disc Two: Pre production featurettes: Matters of Pre-Visualisation; Stills Gallery; Production documentaries: Assembling The League. 17 deleted and extended scenes. Post-production featurettes: Behind The Fantasy. European premieres. 3 trailers. 12 TV Spots. Posters.

The extras are worth watching (even the Andy Peters documentary) but unless you are a real fan of the movie then I'd seriously recommend only buying the single disc collection. An added bonus is the inclusion of a DTS soundtrack.

While this movie is far from perfect, it is a hell of a lot of fun and if you suspend disbelief for the duration you'll come away with a smile on your face.

Darren Rea

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cover
Single disc edition
£10.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
Single disc edition
£12.99 (Blackstar.co.uk)
   
Single disc edition
£13.99 (Streetsonline.co.uk)
   
cover
Double disc edition
£15.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
Double disc edition
£13.99 (Blackstar.co.uk)
   
Double disc edition
£19.99 (Streetsonline.co.uk)

All prices correct at time of going to press.