League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
I feel the need to address Roger Ebert's comments about this film because he effectively ruined it for anybody who hasn't visited Venice. I'd like to apologize to Roger right now for not being in his particular social class and not having enough money to visit the wonderful city on water. Perhaps he can send me -- and the other 200 million Americans with limited income -- a check? Then I can be as indignant as he is about car chases through its non-existent streets. This is why rich, elitist pricks should not be reviewing cinema. "Oh look, the crystal chandelier in Lara Croft's bedroom isn't really the Couronne Imperiale, it's a cheap imitation. This movie bites my gold-plated dick!"
While I'm aware that Venice is a city on water, I'm not all that familiar with the depth of its canals or the limitations of its "streets," so in my ignorant bliss I'm able to suspend my disbelief when Tom Sawyer (Shane West) races Capt. Nemo's (Naseeruddin Shah) futuristic car through the city, or when Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) meets a masked villain in a graveyard. What I do know is that "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" is based on a graphic novel, so its attention to realistic detail isn't likely to be very high. However, according to the Ebert School of Criticism, if you give Venice navigable avenues your movie automatically sucks, but if you feature cursed pirates walking around in undead splendor, that's perfectly acceptable. Happens all the time.
Joining Quatermain in this League are Mina Harker (Peta Wilson), The Invisible Man (Tony Curran), Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend) and Dr. Jekyll (Jason Flemyng). What sucks most about this film is director Stephen Norrington's choppy direction, which Ebert mentions not once. This jackass director apparently thinks that he can enhance the impact of Captain Nemo's impressive martial arts moves by cutting away before the audience has a chance to see anything. Every action sequence is crippled by this technique. The studio must have paid millions for some of these sequences, yet Norrington refuses to let the audience watch them. The guy is a directing nightmare.
Certainly Ebert deserves what little congratulations I can muster for at least putting his thumb down for once, even if his criticism seems misdirected. Next time somebody sets a film in Monte Carlo or Rio or the Taj Mahal, I'll be sure to read his review for the geographical layout of the place so that I'll know how to properly appreciate the movie.
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