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July 14th, 2003


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09:49 am - The League of Extraordinary Crap
I see a lot of films. I also see a lot of movies, but somehow I make a distinction between the two, and I'd never really realized it until a few months ago when my roommate Josh asked me what the difference was. My response was basically that in a film, nothing blows up and nobody gets naked. That's not entirely true; there's a lot of crossover (especially in the nudity department). In general though, the ones where Josh Hartnett receives fellatio in a burning building are movies, and the ones where Max Von Sydow turns into a burning fish are films.

That said, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman is definitely a movie, and not a very good one at that.

I don't know how it went wrong. The premise would make a reasonably intelligent comedy for an audience willing to do a little bit of literary legwork. The basis for the story, Alan Moore's graphic novel, is a smart, cheeky pastiche of Victorian weird and science fiction, presented Thunderbirds-style. Somehow the quiet smugness of the graphic novel got translated into full-blown "look at how many books we can make fun of" pomposity, and it doesn't work. At all. And it's really too bad. The sets look great, and the performances are generally very good, but the dialog feels like it was written by a twelve-year-old. On top of this, the director, Stephen Norrington (who has done some nice work in the past) seems more interested now in the Holy-Sack,-Let's-See-How-Many-Jump-Cuts-We-Can-Work-Into-Two-Seconds-Of-Expositionary-Dialog school of directing. Here's an excerpt from the shooting script:

267. INT. ICE CREAM PARLOUR. DAY.

QUARTERMAIN, HARKER and NEMO are standing at the counter, looking at the menu. A BORED TEENAGE GIRL stands behind the counter, reading a copy of The Oxford English Dictionary, Volume OE-OR.

Contrary to the graphic novel, HARKER is a vampire, for no apparent reason.

QUARTERMAIN steps up to the register and clears his throat.

Closeup on HARKER'S elbow.

BORED TEENAGE GIRL
Yeah? What?

Cut to NEMO checking his wallet. He glances at the menu, trying to figure out if he has enough cash to cover his ice cream.

Closeup of QUARTERMAIN'S beard.

QUARTERMAIN
I think I'll have-


Cut to VENICE PUBLIC LIBRARY.

LIBRARIAN
These are due-


GRAMS: Jarring chord.

Ice cream parlour.

QUARTERMAIN (cont)
the


Closeup on NEMO'S eyes.

NEMO
Mina, darling, sweetiepie, honeybun, candypants, funky bunch,


Worm's eye view of HARKER'S nostrils.

QUARTERMAIN (VO, cont)
Double-


Library.

LIBRARIAN (cont)
on the twenty-third.


Fast zoom to SAWYER'S eyes, wide with horror.

SAWYER
Rock.


Ice cream parlour. Camera on QUARTERMAIN.

QUARTERMAIN (cont)
chocolate-


Camera on NEMO.

NEMO (cont)
could you spot me a quarter for my sugar cone?


Cut to Kadoka, South Dakota for no reason.

QUARTERMAIN (VO, cont)
mint-


Cut to the Mines of Moria to show off our budget

QUARTERMAIN (VO, cont)
delight?


Ice cream parlour. Tight on dictionary.

BORED TEENAGE GIRL
We're out.


QUARTERMAIN
Blast.


And it goes on like that, and it's no more entertaining to sit through. What a waste.
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Red Red Groovy -- View The Universe

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