THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

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THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (vts. include abb. "LXG" [see IMDb, our source here for filmographic details]). Stephen Norrington, dir. USA / Germany / Czech Republic / UK: 20th Century Fox, Flying Colours Productions S.r.o., Angry Films, JD Productions, Mediastream 1. Productions GmbH (prod.) / The 20th Century Fox Film Corporation et al. (dist.), 2003. Alan Moore, graphic novel story; Kevin O'Neill, graphic novel art. James Dale Robinson, script. Sean Connery, star, exec. prod. Carol Spier, prod. design.

If we were to take this film more earnestly than we should, it would be an incessantly intertextual exercise in "Steampunk" (cyberpunk sensibility in a Victorian [alternative] universe), showing the 1899 transfer of imperium from Great Britain to the USA, but with the moral that all empire is fleeting and the strong suggestion that the spirit of Africa is more powerful than European and American weapons. The film is relevant here for featuring 20th-c. and SF weapons in a Victorian setting, including J. Verne's Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, tanks, automatic rifles, and very Industrial-looking robots with flame throwers. Coming out in the same summer as TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES, this film may point at a growing anxiety over what LXG refers to as an "arms race"—with World War I as threat in LXG and reality in our universe set up as a warning for us in the 21st c. CAUTION: Perhaps less so in the novel, the film incorporates attitudes wherein only the lives of well-born or well-placed gentlemen (and one Vampiric lady) really count, decorously accompanied by what Edward W. Said might call "Orientalism" and Chinua Achebe would call racism (as in "An Image of Africa: Racism in [Joseph] Conrad's Heart of Darkness").