League of not-so-great gentlemen:
A review of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Okay, where do I begin?
I know this is not the famous graphic novel. They misleadingly market this novelization of the film to appear to be a novel based off the graphic novel. It is not. It's a novel based off the film script. Well, okay. I figured I could like it for what it was...
In regard to the film, when the making of footage shows the director of film (which was based off a graphic novel with the intention of getting young people interested in reading the classics again) goes out of his way tell you 'The characters in this movie are from these huge, archaic books I never read so I found a writer that at least read some of them.' That's the first warning sign that a film is in trouble.
I think my biggest pet peeve, and ironically also my favourite part, was Dorian Gray in the film and novelization. It was not Dorian Gray of the novel, not authentically anyway. This version of Dorian dies when he looks at the painting. This bothers me because so many people who have never read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde now think that looking at the painting would kill Dorian. I've heard of people arguing with those who have read the book to insist that they, the reader, got it wrong, that stabbing the painting doesn't kill him, it's looking at it! WRONG! Dorian looked at the painting a lot in the book, that was sort of the point.
A big issue with this Dorian is M stole the painting from Dorian's Foyer. Quartermain notices the spot where it had been. If looking at it would kill him why did Dorian have it hanging in his foyer? Did he cover his eyes every time he walked into his home?
Now for the serious flaws of the time-line.
Tom Sawyer's story takes place with him, at age twelve, before the civil war. That means it has be before 1865. Tom Sawyear cannot be a teenager in 1899.
Mina Harker: Mina Harker's story (Dracula) takes place in 1897. So In two years she was made a vampire, widowed, dated Dorian, and became a Chemist?
Dorian Gray: Dorian Gray becomes immortal in 1891 (The Picture of Dorian Gray). So In those eight years he lectured at a university where Quartermain was a boy as according to this... Less than eight years after college and Quartermain looks like that? The boy didn't age well!
Another thing about the film that didn't sit right for me is Dorian's life was in danger. M had something that could kill him at any time, and Mina pretty much executed Dorian for that. But because Dorian once broke up with her and that's okay? M might as well have had a gun to him the whole time but Mina was right to kill him? Sure Dorian acted cold but would it really have been better if he was sniveling and pleading? That didn't make Dorian look that evil to me or Mina look that good.
Also Nemo 'inventing' the automobile? Are they not aware that horseless carriages AKA automobiles were already being marketed by 1899 but Quartermain asks 'What's that monstrosity?' Has he been under a rock? And we're supposed to believe Nemo built a 1940s style lemo in 1899 anyway and has a sailor as his chaufer?
Under tight scrutiny League of Extraordinary Gentlemen would require a TARDIS for those characters to all meet at those points in their lives. Just because they're all from the nineteenth century does not mean that their stories can mesh with a plausible storyline. My grandfather was born in the 1920s. That doesn't mean he and I could be teenagers together because I was born in 1981.
This film can be fun as brain candy but under tight observation it makes little sense and it's blatantly obvious the director didn't read or respect the original novels the characters came from, which is a shame because the original purpose of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's graphic novel was to try to get young people interested in reading the classics.
I had hoped the novelization would clear up some of these inconsistencies but it did not. it thinly glossed over them. I noticed the author of the book even tried to avoid mentioning Dorian's hair because they seemed to know he's actually blonde in the original novel and did not want to draw attention to that.
There is more detail in the novelization, of course. That's a lot more than what I can say about the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's chest novelization but it certainly did not help to fix the continuity errors of the film and in fact, despite the author's efforts to avoid them, seeing them written in text just made them more apparent.