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Extraordinary Gentlemen

2003-07-17 16:24:44.291259+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Phil said that The League of Extraordinary Gentleman[Wiki] sucked so bad he walked out of the theater. But on the way home yesterday I had a few extra minutes as I walked by Stacey's so I went in and browsed, and came out with the compendium of the first 6 (which is now "volume #1". Comics are so confusing). I understand why the movie sucked.

Okay, the comic isn't bad, but it's a mood piece, not a real story. There's little setup and payoff, not much to make the characters likeable, the motivations are unclear. Sure, there are the cute references to The Pearl[Wiki], but neither that nor the other literature references are witty or subtle enough to carry it. And movies definitely don't take well to those sorts of gags. I don't recommend the comic, and given that and what I've heard elsewhere I'll definitely be skipping the movie.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-07-18 14:49:58.003326+00 by: other_todd

I adore the book. It's a pastiche but it's one of the cleverest ones I've ever seen. And, yeah, I love all the various literary and cultural references it's crammed with. That said, I agree that the book is mostly about mood, not plot ... but that wouldn't have been fatal to a movie adaptation.

The real problem, I think, is that the book, love it or hate it, is not for dummies. And Hollywood only makes movies for dummies these days. Something had to go; so we have yet another movie without a script.

P.S. Moore and his usual suspects are very big on making sets of storylines arc so that they reach some sort of reasonable conclusion in units of sixes, twelves, tens, what-have-you and can be bound into "graphic novel" format. I think he does this because he's sharp. I personally can't chase down his comics in individual issues, and I'd rather have the books. There will be a volume #2 of the League, I'm informed, this year.

P.P.S. The Chinese in volume #1 is accurate but wrong. That is, it says what it's supposed to say, but it uses simplified characters, which would not be used in that time period. Tsk!

P.P.P.S. Dan: Try Top 10 instead. There are two volumes available. Absolutely my favorite from the Alan Moore/America's Best factory.

#Comment made: 2003-07-18 16:03:11.12863+00 by: Dan Lyke

There were enough setups that I could see payoffs in the next 6, and I'm intrigued enough by some of the mood to browse that collection in the bookstore, but other authors manage to build larger story arcs while still offering incremental payoffs. And some of those dangling setups left me thinking "if he's not going to pay this off, why should I care?".

I guess another part of it is that I felt hit over the head by some of the literary references; I haven't read Sherlock Holmes since high school, yet it was well before the mention of "the detective" that I knew who... [spoiler removed], and the sequence paying homage to The Pearl[Wiki](ObFreudianSlip: Originally typed "The Perl") just went on and on.

On simplified Chinese: I was told on my excursion into China during this most recent Hong Kong trip that the more literate think the simplified glyphs lose a lot of the subtleties of meaning, and while it may be helping bring some measure of literacy to the Chinese lower classes the people I was with were mobbed with folks asking for help filling out their customs papers, and it's still a matter of class distinctions. But if we're going to quibble over anachronisms...

I'll look for Top 10.

#Comment made: 2003-07-18 20:15:24.339913+00 by: John Anderson [edit history]

Personally, I like tLoEG more than Top 10, but I like tLoEG more than you, so YMMV. 8^)= Book 2 (issues 6->12) features Martians, of several sorts, and is probably a bit stronger than book 1. Other comics worth checking out: Y - The Last Man, Global Frequency, and The Filth.

#Comment Re: Extraordinary Gentlemen made: 2004-01-15 12:57:58.143601+00 by: meuon

It was on sale cheap.. I'm pseudo-housebound right now so I bought the DVD of the movie. Fun to watch if you put your brain on hold after you recall who the characters are in literary history and don't analyze anything. My biggest complaint is Captain Nemo and the Nautilus as portrayed in the movie. Of course, Nemo is a favorite character of my childhood, so I consider converting him and the crew to some arab-like ethnicity, and the abortion of the size, shape and technical aspects of the Nautilus to be sacrilegious.