From the LONG BOX to the BIG SCREEN

My thoughts on: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Reboot.

So the miserable vultures at Fox have decided to reboot, for it is always reboots, the “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” into a new feature film. Oh goody, yet another possibly gritty reboot of a swash-buckling-politically-incorrect-rip-snorting adventure which will once again horribly miss the point of the story. But is Alan Moore’s Victorian, then later Edwardian, and then General, multi-fiction romp worth adapting again, and upsetting the curmudgeonly magician one more time?

For those who don’t know, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Originally, follows the tale of Mina Murray (formerly Harker) from Dracula, forming a team of similarly fictional characters and start defending Imperial Britain from various threats, including Fu Manchu, Dr Moriarty (and his doom zeppelin) and the war of the world’s Martians. These included an opium sot (and author avatar) Allan Quartermain, the charming, courageous yet xenophobic Captain Nemo, the psychopathic Hawley Griffin A.K.A, the invisible man, and the strangely engaging Mr Hyde. The charm of the original story was that the group was barely held together, as egos clashed, tempers flared and about 60% of the team were out right villains, and yet somehow, they triumphed over evil. All of this is done with the fantastic art by Kevin O’Neill that makes everything seem like Victorian caricature. All of this with peppering’s of classic literature references and some nightmarish re-imaginings of characters, as well as hilarious written extracts at the back of the books (including Bertie Wooster and Cthulhu cross over). Overall, a good series that ended on a rather depressing finale…

Except that’s not the end of it. Moore and O’Neill continued working on the universe, expanding it to the point where it’s almost exhaustively included everything memorable piece of fiction to date. An impossibly young Mina Murray and Alan Quartermain during the 50’s in the “Black Dossier” (their de-aging is a plot point). Where they proceed to beat up James Bond several times, fly away to a mystical aether known as the “Blazing world” where they meet Shakespeare’s Prospero. The Two don’t stop there, Meeting up with a whole cast of paranormal investigators to stop Jack the Ripper, Not Alistair Crowley and his desire to bring about the end of the world, and Janni Nemo (aka Jenny Diver) as part of the Century series, ending with a cataclysmic battle between school shooter Harry Potter and Mary Poppins. Janni Nemo got her own series as well, fighting off against Nazis and Eldritch horrors across the world.

As you can read, Moore and O’Neill designed an exhaustive world for them to play around with, as pretty much all fiction is real in the LEG-iverse. You could use any hero or villain that has appeared in fiction and is out of copy-write is completely free game. That’s one of the great strengths about the universe is that all these familiar characters can be used. The great problem is the when you get an incompetent writer who butchers these characters.

Now, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as already had a movie, Written by James Robinson and directed by Stephen Norrington. I’m not going to review the movie, but needless to say, it’s a depressingly average movie for such a good idea, that ruins several characters, wastes opportunities for new ones, and crowbars moments that don’t work. When you hear about the backstage backstabbing from the studio against Alan Moore, it becomes a depressingly average movie with an awful lot of nasty baggage and implications into it. And I’m sorry to say that that will probably be the best attempt we’re going to get out of this. Bearing in mind the only other attempt was a TV pilot, made even worse now that they had the lacklustre writer of “Green Lantern” whose was penning it.

As for the quality of this possible reboot… Well, we have no information other than it may be happening, but considering we know a lot more about the LEG-iverse now than we did in 2003, I have a feeling that it is going to be a lot more dense and, thus, the main storyline is probably going to be cut down and simplified. Like the 2003 film. The majority of the characterisation is going to be cut down to fit very clear archetypes, the humour and the darkness will probably get stripped out, and the charm that made the world work will be lost. Even worse is that, no doubt, Fox will probably want to “Avenger-fy” it and leave all the characterisation to individual movies that will never be made, because make no mistake, they will try and make a franchise for each movie and drop hints in the movie, with characters doing something strange and the director going “You wanna know why he does this?! Watch his movie, coming 20-never!”

We all know it’s going to be a flop we’ll just have to gauge how bad it’s going to be.

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