The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (review)
Minutes of the Meeting
This was shoved under the front door of Flick Filosopher World Headquarters, the 4-page document encased in a manila envelope upon which the red stamped “Top Secret Eyes Only LXG” had been crossed out in purple marker, and hand-printed neatly under it, in blue Flair pen, “birthday card for JB — please sign and return to FM ASAP” had also been crossed out in the same purple marker, and under that in a hasty scrawl in what could have been the same hand as the blue Flair was written “The truth is in here. Spread the word. — FM.” So I’m spreading the word, though I obviously cannot vouch for the authenticity of anything you’re about to read.
[transcript of LXG conference of 07/09/03 location LXG HQ in re: security breach? Dr. Buckaroo Banzai presiding]
Dr. Buckaroo Banzai: All right, everybody settle down. Can we do a quick roll call? Okay, I’m here, obviously. Bond?
Lara Croft: He’s not here.
Angus MacGyver: Probably off bedding yet another beautiful yet deadly double agent.
John McClane: Oh, like you weren’t always falling desperately in love with the Soviet spy or the Stasi mole.
MacGyver: For pete’s sake, McClane, at least it wasn’t my own wife in constant danger of being shot with my own gun.
Banzai: Come on, people. Bueller? Bueller?
John Connor: He’s not here, either. No sense of priorities at all. Doesn’t he realize what’s at stake? He’s off at a baseball game or a kegger while we’re only trying to save the world again.
Dr. Allan Grant: God, here we go. Mr. Last Best Hope for Humankind. Have you been taking lessons in smugness from Ian Malcolm?
Agent Fox Mulder: Come off it, Connor. It’s only a movie.
Connor: Only a movie? Only a movie? Christ, you people really piss me off. All this, all this stuff that you know and love, your movies and your stupid little clubs? It’s gone. Poof. Over. Sayonara for the human race.
Harry Potter: Not yet, John. Anyway, Dumbledore would never let that happen.
Dr. Emmett Brown: And when it does, we can go back to the future and fix it!
Banzai: But no matter when you go, Doc, then you are.
Connor: Do you have any idea what a disaster time travel can be? Oh, never mind.
Banzai: So much for roll call… Potter, toss some of those Every Flavour Beans down here. Now, people, it’s not “just a movie.” This meeting is to discuss the possible security implications of the release of the film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen–
Croft: Shouldn’t that be “Thish meeting ish to discush the poshible shecurity implicashuns–”
Croft: Clearly Potter and I are the only ones with ears. Who is this fraud film audiences are being asked to accept as our esteemed predecessor, Allan Quartermain?
Agent Clarice Starling: According to the FBI dossier on Connery, Sean, the British national portraying Quartermain in the film, he is actually Scottish.
Croft: Nevertheless, that accent is surely a put-on.
Banzai: Has anyone actually seen the movie?
Bruce Wayne: Agent Starling and I attended the gala premiere in Hollywood last night–
MacGyver: Oh, hey, I snuck in through the air-conditioning ducts and got a pretty good seat on the aisle right near Peta Wilson–
Mulder: I got a ticket, too, through my Deep Throat inside the military-industrial-entertainment complex–
Potter: Ron and I used my Dad’s old Invisibility Cloak to sneak in, and then Hermione Apparated in–
Banzai: That’s, er, extraordinary, of you all. And?
MacGyver: Well, I really prefer old Westerns.
Wayne: I suppose the inclusion of former LXG member Special Agent Tom Sawyer doesn’t really qualify.
MacGyver: The kid playing him was pretty pathetic.
Croft: [snort] Or just pretty.
Starling: Our dossier indicates that the actor in question, Shane West, is best known previously for… [sounds of shuffling papers] a Mandy Moore film.
Grant: What about this Townsend guy? I saw him in that vampire movie, and he doesn’t really seem the sort capable of projecting the depravity of Dorian Gray. I’m sorry to speak badly of an LXG alum, but the man was an immoral monster, and Townsend seems rather…
Wayne: Cuddly? [laughs] Doesn’t anyone have a dark side anymore?
Mulder: Speaking of vampires, it’s obvious that no actual research into vampirism went into this movie. Why was that Peta Wilson vampire walking around in the sunlight, getting a tan? I’ve got cabinets full of X-files, FBI documentation–
Starling: Agent Mulder, some of us prefer to rely on science, not magic– [yelp] Mr. Potter, please contain your Chocolate Frogs if you must eat in here.
Mulder: What was that you were saying about magic, Agent Starling?
Wayne: Basically, the film is crap. It’s full of laughable dialogue and a whole lot of incomprehensible exposition. And the direction is just awful. I know our venerated alum Captain Nemo had an amazing machine in the Nautilus, but the way it’s depicted in this movie is ridiculous. Didn’t anyone else notice? In long shots of the Nautilus at sea, it’s zooming along at a mighty clip, but in the closeups of characters on the little deck on the tower, the sea behind them is completely still. It defies the laws of nature.
McClane: Something we all do on a regular basis.
MacGyver: Not all of us. Some of us respect the laws of nature. Anyway, there’s plenty that’s bad here, Wayne, and you’re just nitpicking.
Wayne: No, I’m not. It’s so blatantly obvious that it was all I could focus on in those scenes. It’s like seeing the string suspending a saucer spaceship in some 1950s SF movie, or the zipper on the monster suit. And that Hyde monster was pretty fake looking, too.
Banzai: Well, if the audience is going to be distracted by plain bad filmmaking, do we have anything to worry about?
Potter: I thought it was kinda cool, actually. The Nautilus was really interesting, and I loved Captain Nemo’s car. And the bit where the bad guy drinks way too much of Dr. Jekyll’s potion was awesome. Professor Snape would really like that part.
Banzai: Thanks, Harry. I must remind the committee that Potter is only 15 years old.
Potter: I’ll be 16 in three weeks.
McClane: Come on, it’s Just. A. Movie. Stuff blows up, punches get thrown, there’s a little bit of nookie. It’s harmless fun.
Banzai: So there’s no danger of the general public starting to suspect that the League is actually a real organization?
Connor: There was that comic book a while back…
Banzai: Read by no one but geeks. And anyway, Alan Moore has been dealt with. But now a mass audience will be exposed to the concept.
Mulder: I hate to admit it, but I’m gonna agree with Supercop here. I found something online, on a site called Cinemarati, where people talk about movies.
Croft: Leave it to Mulder to believe something he reads on the Internet.
Mulder: No, listen. This is about the film: “It went through a process of suckitude, I thought. Right in the beginning and for maybe the first half hour or so, I thought, ‘Oh, this is gonna kinda suck, isn’t it? It’s all just sitting there on the screen, doing nothing.’ And then it started to actively suck with, I think, the ‘chasing down the Hulk– I mean, the Hyde’ scene in Paris, where half the city was destroyed and no one notices. And then, when it arrived in Venice, it sorta got worthy of Mystery Science Theater — like with the concept that the way to stop a very small explosion from doing its damage is to destroy everything in a five-mile radius with a honking huge explosion. So, it’s a journey of suckiness. It grows into its suckiness — it’s not sure what to do with it at first, and then it gets comfortable with the idea that it’s sucking, and then it wholly embraces it, comes out in its suckiness in an aggressive ‘We’re Here, We Suck, Get Used to It’ way.
Starling: May I, Agent Mulder? [sound of papers being passed] Mulder, this is attributed to someone calling herself “The Flick Filosopher.”
Croft: Oh come off it, Mulder! “Flick Filosopher”? It’s a joke.
Mulder: The point is that even movie fans aren’t taking the film seriously.
Banzai: So, the bottom line is that this is not a realistic depiction of the League or our work.
MacGyver: No way. For pete’s sake, Murdoch and I get on famously compared to these pretend LXGers. These characters couldn’t have pulled off ordering a pizza together, never mind saving civilization as we know it. They could barely stand one another.
Mulder: And this differs from reality how?
MacGyver: I meant, there is no shecurity rishk– security risk.
Banzai: Okay, we’re done. I’m due in neurosurgery in an hour. Or is it the recording studio? Mrs. Johnson–!
Croft: I’m due in Tibet.
MacGyver: I’m due back at the Phoenix Foundation.
Grant: Damn, I think I have office hours today.
Potter: I’m due back on Privet Lane!
Brown: I’m due back in the future!
rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence, language and innuendo
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viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics