With this recent talk of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN potentially getting a remake, and of course the original 2003 Adaption getting panned by pundits when it is brought up, as someone who really enjoys and likes that 2003 film, I have to step up as the dissenting voice.
No, the film is not the Alan Moore book. Like most films it takes the broad strokes of the property and adapts it to make a film. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.
On theatrical release it didn’t work for this film, but much like other films that for whatever reason failed the test of the moment (such as Carpenter’s THE THING which was a failure upon its release and critically either dismissed or ignored) THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN is a film that is unfairly judged for what it isn’t (faithful to the sprawling and not particularly interesting or cinematic Alan Moore and Kevin O’NeilL series. And I say that as a huge fan of both creators. Their LEAGUE series is better in concept than execution, for me.) rather than being judged for what it is.
What Stephen Norrington’s 2003 film is, what it has always been for me since first seeing it back in 2003 or 2004 (on DVD, not in the movies), is a rollicking,two-fisted action adventure mashup of two things I love, Universal monster movies and Pulp Serials such as 1936’s flash gordon (which if you have not seen the 13 part serial, it is one of the best) and Indiana Jones.
So, I never watched the film bemoaning it wasn’t Alan Moore’s comic book faithfully reproduced. for my money what they did with the germ of Moore’s idea I felt was a more satisfying movie, than the book was a satisfying read. the film’s action sequence in the library i would argue is still one of the most thrilling action sequences, as is that car race through a collapsing venice; and the combination of cgi and practical effects worked for me. I also think it has some of the best set and costume designs, i love that car.