Monday, July 14, 2003
On this blog's left sidebar, under the "fruits of the same vine" heading, you'll see a button labeled Reeling It All In. For about a year I'd been keeping up that movie-review site but unfortunately, due to time constraints I can no longer maintain frequent posts. Hopefully sometime soon I can resume, but not at the moment - so - may I regale you with a brief tale of a Sorta-Good Movie Gone Bad?
Last Friday we saw Sean Connery's latest, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. We arrived a full half-hour early to a near-packed theater, and were amazed at the variety of folk this flick drew in: an ethnically and generationally diverse group of kids, teens, moms and dads, retirees and everyone in between. Based on Alan Moore ("Watchmen," "V for Vendetta") and Kevin O'Neill's graphic novel (which I have not yet read) the concept looked interesting and seemed promising.
What a clever concept! Amalgamate a passel of "superheroes" and "supervillains" from classic Victorian fantasy literature, like Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Captain Nemo in his original, more sinister Asiatic incarnation, Dr. Moriarty, the Invisible Man, an adult (Agent) Tom Sawyer, vampiress Mina Harker from Bram Stoker's classic...add proto-Indy Jones Allan Quartermain (Connery)...stir in futuristic-for-1899 (but not too futuristic) technological details like tanks, machine guns, giant submarines and fast cars, and you've got a guaranteed original on you hands!
Well, no, not really.
The film falls painfully flat, burgeoning into one long, boring, verbally dumbed-down pyrofest. Honestly, I haven't been this bored by an action film in a long time. I suspect what happened was the creators tried to compete with every other summer CGI-fest in the 'plexes, like T3, X2, and The Hulk: TLOEG's 'Mr. Hyde' ends up chewing the scenery - literally - looking like nothing more than Bruce Banner's chlorophyll-challenged great-great-grandpappy.
With this many classic characters on-screen, surely they could have written far snappier, more intelligent dialogue without sacrificing the action. What about the original Star Wars? Indiana Jones? Spoiler: a car chase through Venice?
Hello? Can anyone hire a screenwriter? Five minutes after walking out of the theater I found myself foundering for details on the movie's plot - and no, I wasn't having a "senior moment." It can't be Alan Moore's fault...(hint: Watchmen Watchmen Watchmen)?
I wanted to yell to all the people filing in to the packed theater - some sitting on the floor and standing by the exits for lack of seats - run, run while you can!