League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The: Ultimate Edition DVD Review
PictureThis beautiful picture is anamorphically framed at 1.85:1. It is rich, dark and lavished with details. From the opening scenes, which pan down the slate grey rooftops of Olde London Town, to the crisp white snowfields of the arctic, or rich mahogany and crimson of the library, or M's office, this picture will rarely disappoint. Indeed the main problem encountered was that such high levels of picture detail do, occasionally, show up the special effects to be computer generated. This sometimes gives the feeling you are watching a cut scene from a lavish Playstation game, rather than engrossed in an alternate reality, which is what should happen when watching a fantasy movie. Black levels are superb, and manage to hold the high detail into the deep shadows on offer throughout the whole movie. There is only a trace of EE and haloing when Quatermain and Sawyer are shooting on the deck of the Nautilus, and again during the snowstorm outside the Fantom's base of operations. Otherwise it is an exemplary coding.
SoundThis disc contains not one but two amazing tracks. Both the DTS track at 768kbps, and the DD 5.1 track at 448kbps are excellent presentations. The same opening scenes that are so visually impressive are no less impressive sonically. As the camera pans down over London's rooftops the viewing room is filled with deep, powerful LFE. Teeth rattle and pictures fall off walls (well they did in my viewing room). On screen, bricks and plaster shake free, you feel like an earthquake is about to hit, and then the tank erupts through the wall. This sounded remarkable in my cinema room. If I had to pick a favoured track the DTS has a greater breadth, depth and focus, but it's like choosing between a Ferrari and a Porsche, you would be more than happy with either. Effects are perfectly placed throughout the whole movie; the front soundstage has a wonderful three dimensionality to it. Vocals are rich and weighty, and again placed with surgical accuracy. A soundtrack to be proud of and demo material to shake your granny out of her corsets.
ExtrasExtras are extensive and spread across two discs. Disc one is limited to the two separate commentary tracks. Track one is cut between three different commentaries, which were clearly recorded separately and cut together later. It contains comments by Don Murphy, and Trevor Albert, the films producers, and a witty chatty track between actors Tony Curran (the invisible man) and Jason Flemyng (Hyde). The actors provide most of the amusing on set anecdotes, and the producers tell you where all the money is spent. Director Norrington is notable for his absence. Visual effects supervisors Matthew Grasner, and John Sullivan provide track two duties along with Jacqueline West the costume designer. This is also essentially a technical track although it provides many interesting and fascinating facts. Surprisingly Jacqueline West is particularly enjoyable. I never knew so much went into the design and making of costumes for a movie, and everyone has a big Sean Connery story, the man is clearly a movie legend. It is interesting to note that Connery was offered roles in the Matrix and Lord of the Rings and turned them both down because he did not understand the scripts. He picked LXG because he still didn't understand the script but felt he had better jump on the bandwagon before he got left behind. A word to Mr Connery, SACK YOUR AGENTS.
Disc two has a whole raft of behind the scenes featurettes loosely divided into Pre-production, Production, and Post-production sections. It will take a good 3 hours to get through all of these sections and they are exhaustive and absorbing. Eighteen extended or deleted scenes, interviews with all the cast and crew, with Steve Norrington being the only notable absentee, a look at the special effects and CGI work, you name it and you will find it here.
VerdictThe movie is a modest disappointment for me. The graphic novel by Alan Moore is a superior effort, but the film fails to generate the same level of suspension of disbelief, still it was a notch above the mediocrity of some recent “blockbuster” efforts. Some of the CGI is substandard stuff, but this could just be the highly detailed image, that shows it up for what it is. The disc however is a class act, a superb DTS track, a corking crystal clear image, and lovely packaging (although the sumptuous booklet is all in Japanese). If I was going to own any version of LXG it would probably be this one.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £28.18
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