As with the original, Tom Sawyer sticks out like a sore American thumb amidst all the iconic British pulp characters, but he's much more tolerable in this version, which moves along with the zippy pace of a good Republic serial rather than a dull, leaden 2000s Hollywood action film. Though there is precious little of Alan Moore's groundbreaking deconstructions in this adaptation, James Robinson (writer of the definitive 90s superhero Starman) gets some of his deft characterization and period detail through this troubled production, which is a close Silver Medal when it comes to comic writers.
BionicBob's tasteful choices salvage this movie from an utter wreck to a film you could imagine existing within the meta-world of the League, as fictional characters from the British Empire queue into the cinema to watch a now-Scottish Alan Quatermain and a vampiric Mina Murray battle the forces of evil -- fidelity to the source material be damned.
This edit is, without doubt, the version I will return to the next time my LXG-nerve tingles. Or pulp-nerve, for that matter. Visually the edits are flawless. Not a single cut caught my eye, thus keeping me inside the experience. As it were. However, the streaks became a tad too distracting at times. As did the hairs. Not every time and not a majority of the time, but a few times. A bit too prominent at places. The deleted scenes added into the mix did stand out, but felt more as parts of the pulp experience than jarringly out-of-place (as you said in the About This Edit-featurette. A fun thing in itself! Keep making those.).
The monochrome choice was a brilliant choice and really helped sell the otherwise lackluster movie. It obscures poor CGI in plain sight while at the same time adding to the pulp theme, which is great fun! The different colors was indeed a nice touch, as others have stated.
Dare I say it looked almost too "old timey" for me not to yearn for 1.33:1 or the like. The wide ratio almost distracted me. Almost. Re-framing it, together with less streaks and hairs, would be an impressive feat! I'd watch the hell out of that.
Vultural said what is to be said about the sound. Very well done! Perhaps a tad loud in my mind, but stellar edits.
And as others have stated, the original movie is rather lacking overall and can be tricky to do something about. I think you did a masterful job at capturing some of the good ol' adventure, fun and action spectacle the original buried somewhere.
I'll consider this a gritty-ish pulp movie from now on and will return to this when silly adventure is needed.
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.