Overview - The original League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a deeply flawed mess, nor an enjoyable one at that. Top heavy with mindless action, it was also hurt by having no real plot, as well as a very poor villain. BionicBob applies his “Strikes!” vision over this, aiming to pull the edit into the pulpy serial era.
Audio - Very aggressive 2 channel PCM (translates into a large-ass file) stereo. Explosions, fights, chases were all louder than a football rally. Dialogue was clean, no mumbling words, or talk drowned out by music. Often hard to successfully pull this off, but credit to BBob for doing so.
Video - Things I like/appreciate. Nice editing job here. Numerous changes and I never noticed a one. Inspired use of tints for Africa and the subsequent snowfall in Mongolia. Perhaps too much restraint here as tints could have been used for undersea shots. Restraint can be the wise choice, however ...
Because the one effect I noticed repeatedly - and often - was the print damage. Five minutes of pristine images followed by scratches and noise. One got the feeling part of the film had been restored, the rest was in a squirrels nest. The inserted deleted scenes resembled 5th generation video tape. Don’t know if these could have restored to match the stock. When these scenes appeared they were quite noticeable.
Narrative - Minimal improvement to the original structure. BBob’s tighter pace shifts this from “change channel now” to watchable.
Enjoyment - As always, BionicBob is very generous with extras. Trailers, artwork, a multi-paneled making of document. The latter gives insight into the editor’s artistic choices. Thank you very much for those.
As for actual enjoying, after awhile I was checking the time. I was disappointed when I viewed this at the cinema, the DVD reminded me of that disappointment. BionicBob is one of the most talented editors on FE, but he went overboard on the visual damage this go around. I would have expected this from a fledgling editor, but not from him. Less is more.
To be honest, League might be too difficult to salvage. The story itself was derivative and dull, the direction amateurish, there were too many characters, and most of the actors seemed to walk through their roles. If - IF - you enjoyed the original, and if you don’t view black n white as a stigma, you will appreciate this edit.
First off, I'll give my view on the original movie...
The script is a rambling, incoherant, contradictory, convoluted, nonsensical and cliche-ridden mess. In fact, it's scarcily credible that something like this could be written this badly by accident. The makers bought the rights to a fantastic concept and then threw as much of that original concept down the toilet as they could and filmed their own thing (I'm sure that now, in these post MCU days the source would have been respected to the benefit of all).
It's to this film's credit that despite those huge negatives, there is a lot of fun to be had so long as you disengage the logic enters of your brain. I'm pleased to say BionicBob has brought the movies' strengths to the fore.
There is a hell of a lot of compression in this encode. It's present throughout but in the Sepia scenes it is really bad. Although, as this edit is a kind of "Grindhouse" job with film-damage and stuff, the poor image quality becomes forgettable to some extent.
Nearly seemless from start to finish. The removals were well executed and the swapping round of scenes was always for the better. Especially in the snooze-fest that was the original sequencing of the Nautilus dialogue scenes. The pacing felt much more even in this edit. I didn't get bored of the talking and I didn't get bored of the over-cooked action either. Despite the extreme low-quality of the deleted-scenes I think they could have been colour-graded better to match in. However again, the mismatch fitted okay with the "Grindhouse" aesthetic.
Switching to monochrome was a great choice as the CGI effects looked cheap when this film came out a decade ago and look positively embarrassing now, which the single colours hide quite well (Except the Mutant-Hyde-Creature at the end, there is no disguising that atrocity!). The Cyan Mongolia sequence looked stunning and really looked like footage from a hundred years ago. I saw a silent movie about the Titanic a couple of years ago and the icey landscape looked just like this.
Again it's nearly seemless with only one or two moments where I noticed anything at all. The music changes are all excellent and well integrated.
The deleted material is all welcome and improves the narrative on a character level. I felt much more for characters like Quatermain and Jekyll and despised Tom Sawyer a whole lot less. The plot is still full of holes large enough to park a Zeppelin in though but there is little that any editor could do about that.
BionicBob's edit felt more "Old-timey", it felt more "Pulpy" and it felt more adventurous. I doubt this film can ever be fully saved, short of scrapping it and starting again but there is no question that this is a far superior cut of the film than was originally released.
p.s. As per usual with a Bob release, there are a few nice DVD extras including a trailer and an extensive and fun image gallery.
It's been many years since I watched LXG (bought the DVD secondhand) and I dismissed it as one of the many CGI-laden franchise-hopefuls that fizzled out in the vein of Constantine, Van Helsing, etc. Bionicbob presents the film here as it should be seen-- a true Victorian steampunk/pulp adventure. I'm not familiar with Alan Moore's comic book series, so I'm judging the narrative solely by the way its presented in this edit-- it is pretty damn fun.
The grindhouse effect, faded look and varied color hues were a great choice and gave the film authenticity. My favorite was the cool blue Mongolian sequences and the orange tinted Africa sequences worked well too. Not only do they help place the sequences geographically and thematically but also help compartmentalize and move the film along in chapters. There is a lot of grain (and some artifact), but honestly, this is a grindhouse film--it is part of the look and feel of the edit itself and it is not distracting in the setting of the scratches, film damage, dust and other grindhouse signatures that are present throughout. The deleted scenes look grittier so I could tell them apart from the actual theatrical cut, but again, all part of the presentation.
There were no audio blips or hiccups at all.
Narrative wise, it is a fantasy film-- and a very entertaining popcorn flick. Its not meant to be taken seriously, but is supposed to be a thrill-ride and certainly delivers, especially in the last quarter. As a comic book film, this film should not be judged against darker films like the dark knight, but against lighter fare (van helsing, etc) and for my money bob's version of LXG blows the others out of the water. I rated it a 10 because it was such a significant improvement over the original that this should certainly be considered the definitive cut of this fun movie. And dude, it has freakin Sean Connery-- that's enough reason to watch the movie. If he can make Zardoz look good, he can make this movie look good.
Great work all around. Highly, highly recommended for fans of steampunk and comic book movies, as well as those just looking for a fun popcorn flick. Congrats bob ;)
I like the original: nicely done, but a bit bland. There was no real sense of the grime and grit of the Victorian era. Rather, there were empty, immaculately streets, neat docklands, and not a proletarian in sight, all making one think of a giant stage set where the extras were sent home early. Some of the production design was incredible, like the Nautilus, and Hyde (although his CGI has not aged well), the action set pieces were great, and adding in Tom Sawyer and Dorian Grey worked well. But it was all a bit ... empty. It lost the depth of the comic, despite some nods to the comics' richly detailed world like the paintings of previous Leagues on the walls of M's office. This edit's framing the film with an introduction that includes tips of the hat to Maple White Land, Opar and other forgotten fantasy worlds worked nicely; tweaking, cutting, and adding in deleted materials helped the story; and making the film look more like a battered serial from the 1930s, locating it in a lost world of pulps and penny dreadfuls worked surprisingly well in providing a grittier look and a sense of heroic fun and derring-do. A really great job. Thank you editor!
the actual editing to the movie is good. some of the worst stuff cut out, souple of nice bits here. deleted scenes giving a bit of flesh to the story is nice. its still the same movie. it's just not the best starting point. However, the visual work that's been done is the star of the edit. it adds a load of life and charm, making everything seem a little cheerier and old-timier that does more for keeping me invested than a lot of what's actually going on. it also helps hide some of the worst offending shots in the movie, and allows for some less obvious deleted scene insertions.
Good work. Showed it to my brother who has a soft spot for this movie. he had a lot of fun too.