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In 2003, Fox Studios released a film version of Alan Moore's popular graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen...er, sort of. It had the same basic premise and about half of the same characters, but was otherwise rather a departure from Moore's original. Joining the League in the film are Dorian Gray (as in The Picture of) and Tom Sawyer, who is all grown up and a member of the American Secret Service. Due to the film character of the invisible man not being public domain, the screenwriters invented Rodney Skinner, who stole the invisibility formula and turned himself transparent in order to become a criminal mastermind. Quatermain is recruited out of retirement in Africa, where he relocated after the death of his son, to lead the current generation of the League; Mina, Jekyll, Nemo, Skinner and Gray are likewise recruited, while Sawyer joins voluntarily. Jekyll and Hyde are a little different; Jekyll gets more screentime than Hyde and he has to ingest a secret formula to release the monster. Oh, and Mina is now a widowed vampire instead of a divorced Badass Normal. The League believes themselves to be in a race against time to stop terrorists from destroying a peace conference, but the reality is a little different.
One of the greatest examples of the Rule of Sean Connery.
In addition to many of the tropes found in the graphic novel, the film version includes examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: so, SO much. First the whole Fu Manchu story arc had to be dropped because the studio couldn't get the rights to the character. The major characters backstories are seemingly moved around (or not shown at all). And to that new major characters were added such as Dorian Grey and Tom Sawyer who were probably (if ever shown) only were as supporting or cameo parts in the graphic novels.
- Affably Evil: The Big Bad has shades of this, even attempting a sort of friendship with The Mole.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Jekyll has a thing for Mina, something only shown through his voyeurism.
- All There in the Script: Sawyer never gets his first name mentioned. When he first appears, he introduces himself as "Special Agent Sawyer of the American Secret Service," and for the remainder of the movie, all the other characters address him as Sawyer. His first name is used once in a deleted scene, which can be viewed on the DVD; going strictly by the theatrical release, unless you're Genre Savvy enough to work out his identity on your own, you'd never know he was Tom Sawyer.
- Well, if you take time to watch the credits, it does list him as "Tom Sawyer".
- And said deleted scene also mentions that his partner was named "Agent Finn". It's kind of hard to get more obvious than that.
- America Saves the Day: The main reason for Tom Sawyer's inclusion — the studio requested that an American be added to the cast. (Which, as Young Gun shows, creates a huge anachronism.) But in terms of the movie, Sawyer wasn't the only one who saved the world from having a world war.
- Anti-Hero: Skinner, Hyde and Nemo.
- Badass Beard: Nemo.
- Badass Longcoat: Mina, Sawyer, and Quartermain wear dusters in the final battle while Dorian wears a long suitcoat.
- BFG: Quatermain's elephant gun.
- Bishonen: Sawyer.
- Blackmail: The reason Dorian agrees to be The Mole is because the Big Bad has stolen his portrait and will give it back if he cooperates. Interestingly for a villain, he actually keeps this promise.
- Body Double: Quatermain has a double, at least if anyone's looking for him, so as to determine the nature of their visit.
- Bond One-Liner: Early on, Quatermain impales a would-be assassin on a rhino horn that's been mounted on the wall. A Union Jack flag that was hanging over it, alls down and drapes over him
Quatermain: Rule, Britannia.
- Bowdlerization: While Hawley Griffin was a rapist and murderer, his replacement Skinner is merely a cheerful, mischievous sneak thief.
- Britain Is Only London: The only part of the country shown in the film. Also, Skinner — despite being played by Scotsman Tony Curran — has a Cockney accent.
- Canon Foreigner: Skinner is the only member of the League who is not directly imported from a Victorian-era novel. This is because Griffin isn't in the public domain, at least as far as movie rights goes, unlike the rest of the League's members.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Campion Bond does not appear or even get mentioned; neither does Mycroft Holmes.
- Clueless Mystery: Quatermain works out the true identity of the Big Bad, but there's never any indication given of how, since the only clues come in the form of his secretary calling him "Professor" and by The Dragon calling him by his real first name (which is a very common one).
- Cool Car: Nemo's "Automobile" which was mostly a souped up 50s style Convertible
- Cool Boat: The Nautilus.
- Cool Sword: Nemo's scimitar.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Mostly with Quatermain due to the many deaths of the people he knew.
- Deadpan Snarker: Dorian. Although Quatermain gets his fair share too. The Big Bad too.
- We'll be at this all day.
- Determinator: Well, how else do you explain Tom Sawyer knowing how to drive a car?!
- The Dragon: Dante, the Fantom's right-hand henchman. (If you're not sure who that is, he's the one who drinks the ridiculous amount of Jekyll's potion during the final battles.)
- Dramatic Curtain Toss: On Dorian Gray's portrait.
- Dressing as the Enemy: After performing a Mugged for Disguise on one of the Fantom's Mooks, Secret Service agent Sawyer joins them and ends up saving the League from being butchered.
- Enemy Rising Behind: Mina during her fight with Dorian Gray.
- Mr. Fanservice: Dorian Gray, being played by Stuart Townsend, after all.
- False-Flag Operation: British and German troops covertly raid each other to seize their scientists. But they're all false flags to falsely accuse the British and German governments thanks to Fantom.
- A Father to His Men: Nemo and his crew.
- Fire-Forged Friends: The League (minus Dorian) before infiltrating M's Mongolian compound.
- Final Speech: Ishmael manages to live long enough after being shot to reveal Dorian as the traitor.
- Flanderization: Quatermain goes from a burned-out opium addict with an adventurous past to a full-on Badass who cracks wise in the face of danger. Mina goes from a mysterious Badass Normal who once survived a brush with Dracula to a full-on Vampire.
- Flat What: Quatermain after M aka Moriaty informs him that he would be in the league.
M: "I must say, the delight is mine, meeting so notable a recruit to this newest generation of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."
- Fun Personified: Skinner gives the impression of being this.
- Which is a bit jarring, considering his counterpart in the comics was a psychopathic murderer and rapist.
- Gentleman Thief: What Skinner proclaims himself.
- Good Guns, Bad Guns: You know Gray is a rotter when he shoots Ishmael...using a Luger! Also, the villains' automatic rifles resemble Steampunk AK47s, while those carried by Nemo's men look like Sten guns.
- Groin Attack: Quatermain to one of the Fantom's Mooks in Africa and Mina to The Mole Dorian Gray during their fight.
- "Growing Muscles" Sequence: Jeckyl changing to Hyde, Dante when he takes an overdose of Jeckyl's serum.
- Hand Signals: Nemo uses them to direct his men while invading the Fantom's factory/fortress.
- Heartbroken Badass: Mina, after she sleeps with Dorian and he reveals himself as the traitor.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: He may prefer a less provocative title than "pirate," but Nemo will choose his trusty blade over any sidearm in a fight.
Goon: Draw your pistol!
- Heroic Sacrifice: Hyde almost makes two. He survives them both, however. Skinner also survives the one he almost makes, although he does end up very badly burned.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Sean Connery is acting as a Parental Substitute to Landon Carter, as they join forces with Thomas Button, Nikita, Lestat de Lioncourt, Vincent Van Gogh, and Naseeruddin Shah. Oh, and the guy who hired them is Count Dracula.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Moriaty recruiting the people to form the League, which Sawyer pointed out in a deleted scene.
- I Have Your Wife: The Fantom forces the cooperation of the scientists who are helping him by holding their wives and children in prison cells.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Quatermain when he refused Reed's offer to join the league back in England due to hardships he experienced during his many years in Africa, including the fact that he had to be the witness of many people killed. Most of them are people he knew back in his adventurer days, including his only son.
- Immortality Inducer: Dorian Grey's portrait, just as in the original novel.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Nemo while fighting the mutated Dante. Despite the sheer speed of his slices, he's unable to damage the thug.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Quatermain and Sawyer with the rifles, although the former has a hard time doing in his senior years. The former also has good aiming skills with knives.
- In Name Only: The comic book is a Victorian era Crisis Crossover, whereas the movie is an Alternate History Steampunk sci-fi thriller whose characters just happen to be lifted from books. Movie!League makes Quartermain the leader/hero instead of Mina, as well as adding Dorian Gray and Tom Sawyer (who weren't even mentioned in the books), replacing Psycho for Hire Hawley Griffin with an invisible Gentleman Thief, turning Quartermain from a burned-out opium addict to a Badass Deadpan Snarker, and making Mina a vampire.
- In Soviet Russia, Trope Mocks You: This exchange between Skinner and Gray, right after Quatermain and Sawyer captured Hyde:
- Instant Marksman, Just Squeeze Trigger: Quartermain gives this advice to Tom Sawyer.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Quatermain and Sawyer
- Invisible Streaker: Skinner
- Ironic Echo: "Eyes open, boy. I can't protect you all the time."
- It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: It just happens to be Carnival in Venice when the League arrives.
- It's Personal: Sawyer's reason for joining the League. The detailed explanation was cut from the film but is shown in deleted scenes on the DVD. The Fantom killed Sawyer's partner, a childhood friend. This agent is unnamed but he's obviously Huck Finn. The novelization states this outright.
- Just Between You and Me: Lampshaded.
Big Bad: "Now some of you will pause to ask; why I'm letting you know all this? What fool reveals his strategem before the game is over? It is over — for you. Because my voice isn't the only sound being made. While I've rambled on, a secondary layer of inaudible sound higher than humans can heard — audible only to dogs, lower animals — is being heard by crystal sensors dotted around your vessel."
- Lighter and Softer: Definitely is this when compared to the original comics.
- Local Reference: The inclusion of an American (Sawyer).
- Meaningful Funeral: The finale.
- Mirror Monologue: Jekyll, frequently. Subverted in that the mirror talks back.
- Mistaken Identity: "Wrong Quatermain!"
- The Mole: Dorian Gray is really working for their enemy the whole time.
- Mugged for Disguise: Secret Service agent Sawyer was following the League. He saw the Fantom's Mooks following them, knocked out a straggler and took his costume.
- Mugging the Monster: "Get back or the vampire gets it!"
- Mythology Gag: In one scene, a poster telling of "Volcanoes on Mars!" can be seen in the background, a nod to the plot of the second volume of the comic. In another scene, theres an advertisement for an upcoming carnival that features "Dr. Alan Moore" and "Dr. Kevin O'Neill".
- Neck Snap: During the fight in Dorian Gray's mansion Captain Nemo does this to one of the Fantom's mooks.
- The Obi-Wan: Quatermain lives just long enough to see Sawyer kill the Big Bad.
- Offstage Villainy: Nemo and Hyde. The movie doesn't have Kick the Dog moments for either of them like the comics. They come across as relatively decent people with no qualms about killing their enemies and, in the case of Hyde, a lust for violence that still doesn't stop him from doing the right thing - in fact, he's the one suggesting plans to save everyone - despite characters often talking about how detestable they are.
- Oh Crap: Hyde, when Dante drinks a large amount of Jekyll's potion.
- One to Million to One: Mina can split up into a swarm of bats at will, travel some distance and reform into a human again.
- One-Winged Angel: Dr Jekyll and Dante who turns in a huge, towering behemoth after drinking too much potion.
- Parental Substitute: Sawyer's relationship with Quatermain.
- Passing the Torch: Quartermain's last words to Sawyer are "May this new century be yours, son, as this one was mine". In a possible double meaning, this also foreshadows America taking over from Britain as the dominant world power in the Twentieth Century.
- Pimp Duds: Dorian, especially his cane.
- Playing Possum: One of the Fantom terrorists before he tried to take Mina hostage. Let's say that he met a gruesome fate.
- The Power of Friendship: What seems to be fueling the League after Sawyer's Rousing Speech.
- Punny Name: The Big Bad.
Quatermain: The Fantom? Very operatic.
- Quickly-Demoted Woman: Mina's position as leader of the League in the comics is handed off to Quatermain instead. A possible subversion, however; she becomes the most powerful member of the cast, an immortal vampire.
- She could be considered Second-in-command, or even the new leader following Quatermain's death.
- Rapid Aging: Dorian Gray after his portrait is destroyed.
- Redeeming Replacement: Skinner to the original Invisible Man.
- Redemption Quest: Jekyll after Quatermain informs him that the British Prime Minister can grant him amnesty for his crimes as Hyde. He joins the league because of this.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Mina Harker when she lets her inner vampire out.
- Redheaded Hero: Both Mina and Jekyll have red or auburn hair. Skinner may also qualify; the character is bald, but the actor is red-haired, suggesting that Skinner would be too if he had hair.
- Red Shirt: Basically anyone on Nemo's crew other than the captain himself. (And maybe Ishmael.)
- Retraux: The Big Bad's recorded message (though only heard by the League) is seen by the audience as a scratchy B&W film.
- Reverse Mole: They thought Skinner was the mole. They thought wrong. He was spying on the real one. In the novelization , it turns out that he's actually a planted member of Her Majesty's Secret Service!
- Rouge Angles of Satin: The DVD subtitles contain a glaring error. Quatermain, when describing his last mission to Sawyer, says that "I even took my son along." Somehow, this was transcribed on the DVD as "I even took my son-in-law."
- And in the fandom this is even worse. The character is Dorian Gray; his first name is not Darien or Dorain and his last name is not Grey. That's just for starters — the worst one was probably a fic that misspelled Tom Sawyer's first name as Tow.
- Rousing Speech: Sawyer gives one to the League after they manage not to get killed. It's even longer and more Narm-tastic in the deleted scenes.
- Rule of Sean Connery: Sean Connery himself as Allan Quatermain is one of the few graces of this movie.
- Schizo-Tech: The firearms used by Fantom forces. They were really Uzis, AKs and Thompson physically altered to look like steampunk weapons.
- Secret Identity Identity: A double feature with the Fantom. Not only is he really M, the guy who hired the League in the first place, but as Quatermain somehow figures out, he's really Professor Moriarty, the presumed-dead nemesis of Sherlock Holmes!
- Sequel Hook: The Meaningful Funeral ends with a native witch doctor doing...something that makes the ground shake, lightning crash across the sky, and the clouds to turn dark. This was probably meant to be Quatermain coming back from the dead. However, according to Jason Flemyng, the sequel will probably never happen because Connery doesn't want to do it. That and he's retired from acting.
- Also, in one scene there's a brief shot of a poster with a message about "Volcanoes On Mars!", a subtle nod to Vol. 2 of the comics where the League battles the aliens from The War of the Worlds. Had a sequel actually gotten made, the plot might have had something to do with this.
- Sideways Smile: Partially in England when M watches Quatermain confused after hearing Skinner's voice, not knowing he's totally invisible.
- Shooting Superman: An odd example where both sides of the conflict are shooting and Superman. When Mina fights Dorian, they go at each other with knives and sword...but they're both immortal, and quickly heal up from the surface cuts they're giving each other. Dorian comments, as cuts to his and Mina's faces close up, that "We'll be at this all day."
- Shout-Out: When Dorian shoots Ishmael (who was himself a Shout-Out to Moby Dick), he uses a golden gun — as in the James Bond story The Man With the Golden Gun.
- Shur Fine Guns: The Fantom assassins deployed in Kenya. One of them had a jammed Steampunk-like machine pistol, which Quatermain used to his advantage in unarmed combat.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Hyde.
- Subverted with the Invisible Man. Griffin is said to have died before the League got a chance to recruit him, whereas the book states that he faked his supposed death at the end of Wells' novel. But Skinner, who takes Griffin's place, survives until the end of the movie, whereas Griffin was killed by Hyde in the second volume of the comics.
- Stillborn Franchise: Apparently there were plans for sequels but since Sean Connery refused to do anymore of these films
- The Stinger: After all of the characters leave Quartermain's grave, an African shaman begin's chanting over it... and the dirt above the grave begins to tremble as the skies darken and lightning flashes.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Lots of it.
- Submarine Pirates: Nemo and his crew.
- Super-Powered Evil Side: Hyde, though rather differently from the book or the graphic novel.
- Sword Cane: Belonging to Dorian Gray.
- Take the Wheel: While the protagonists are driving in Nemo's car in Venice, Sawyer does this to Quatermain — who promptly tells Sawyer he has no idea how to drive the bloody car.
- Team Handstack: The title group, just before entering the Fantom's factory/fortress.
- Title Drop: Many times.
- Took a Level In Badass: While hardly an extra in the comic (see Badass Normal in the general series section) and actually demoted in role, Mina is upgraded into an incredibly powerful elder vampire who is the most dangerous member of the team and who gets the movie's primary Wolverine-style fight with fellow immortal Dorian Gray.
- Trapped in Containment
- Travel Montage: During the trip to the Fantom's factory.
- Unwitting Pawn: The League.
- Villainous Demotivator: After Jekyll declared that he never wants to turn back into Hyde ever again, Dorian asked "What good are you?". Leaving him to contemplate his purpose now.
- We Can Rule Together: The Big Bad makes this offer to The Mole, who declines. It's something of a subversion of the trope, however; he doesn't refuse because he's a good guy (he's definitely not). He just doesn't want to be bothered, and would quite like to return to his old life.
- Another reason he refused is because he's seen empires come and go in his long life. Though the Big Bad is not happy with his decision, accusing him of suggesting the Big Bad to be his inferior.
- We Do the Impossible
- What Could Have Been: Roger Moore was offered a cameo as Campion Bond, a part that was ultimately cut from the script, and would've been the first time two actors to have played James Bond shared the screen.
- The ending cuts to Quatermain's hand coming out of the dirt and grabbing his rifle. A Call Back to what he said earlier in the film, "Africa will never let me die." But that wasn't used because they want to leave it ambiguous.
- What the Hell Are You?: A Fantom terrorist tries to shoot Dorian, but fails after attacking him from point blank range.
Fantom terrorist: "What are you?"
- World War One: The threat of having one with the public attacks on Britain and Germany by each other's troops. Even the Big Bad warns of one coming. It was possible that World War One still occurred after the mastermind's death.
- The League decide to join in on the war by helping people.
- Young Gun: Tom Sawyer. At first glance, this makes no sense; Tom Sawyer was a twelve-year old in the pre-Civil War era, who, if anything, should be older than Quatermain. The producer used Comic Book Time to justify this by saying Tom was only 17 years old in Tom Sawyer, Detective, which was published just a few years prior to the time period of the film's setting.