The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. An early Blu-ray, LXG didn’t look bad, but it seemed a bit spotty.
Sharpness was adequate. The movie usually provided pretty good clarity, though it rarely seemed particularly sharp. This meant the movie came across as reasonably concise but not extremely detailed.
I saw no instances of jagged edges or shimmering, but some light edge enhancement popped up at times. The image lacked any evidence of source flaws, but I got the feeling some digital noise reduction was used, as the film could show some of the mushiness that comes with that technique.
LXG maintained a generally dark look, which meant we experienced few dynamic tones. The colors remained subdued but seemed acceptable; the general flatness that came with the transfer affected the tones.
Blacks followed suit. Dark tones showed decent reproduction but could be inky, while shadows were a bit too dense. Like the colors and sharpness, the image’s vague sense of muddiness affected these scenes. Nothing here looked terrible, but the whole package remained average.
On the other hand, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen seemed very impressive. The soundfield contributed an extremely active affair that helped make the movie more engaging.
The material came from all around the spectrum and seemed neatly and accurately distributed. Quieter scenes like those aboard the Nautilus demonstrated a smooth and believable sense of atmosphere, one in which elements like lapping waves popped up cleanly.
The many louder segments really brought the track to life, though. From the opening images of the Phantom’s rumbling tank through all the fights, the capture of Mr. Hyde, and any of the many other lively sequences, LXG used all five channels in a vivid and involving manner. The components appeared in the right places and meshed together smoothly. This became a truly impressive soundfield.
Audio quality kept pace with the soundscape. Dialogue seemed natural and distinctive, and I encountered no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess.
However, the loudness of the other parts of the mix occasionally drowned out the speech to a minor degree. Music sounded firm and dynamic, with clean highs and tight lows.
Unsurprisingly, the effects created the parts of the mix with the biggest impact. Those elements seemed crisp and concise, and they suffered from no signs of distortion or other problems.
The film poured on the bass, and those bits seemed tight and powerful. LXG provided a simply outstanding soundtrack that worked very well from start to finish.
How does the Blu-ray compare with the original DVD from 2003? Audio offered more range and power, while the visuals seemed more concise and clear. I might not have been impressed by the Blu-ray’s picture, but it still worked a bit better than the DVD.
The Blu-ray mixes old and new extras, and we find two audio commentaries. The first comes from producers Don Murphy and Trevor Albert and actors Shane West, Jason Flemyng, and Tony Curran. The last two actors sit together, while the other three are solo for their comments, which are edited together into this coherent whole.
The format works well and creates a nicely paced and entertaining commentary. We learn about a nice mix of elements, with an emphasis on locations and turning the Czech Republic into different places via effects, the adaptation of the graphic novel, and working on the characters.
Curran and Flemyng amusingly take the piss out of the film with their funny anecdotes and impressions. They give us a glib piece that includes a lot of good material, especially in regard to their interactions with Sean Connery.
Murphy proves almost irritable at times, at least when he addresses fan quibbles about liberties taken, so he almost gets nasty on occasion. Some moderate gaps pop up during the piece, but not too many empty spaces mar it. Overall, the commentary seems likable, informative, and engaging.
For the second commentary, we hear from costume designer Jacqueline West, visual effects supervisor John E. Sullivan, make-up effects supervisor Steve Johnson, and miniatures creator Matthew Gratzner, all of whom sit separately for this track. Not surprisingly, the commentary mostly touches on technical issues. The various visual elements dominate, with notes on different forms of effects, the Hyde costume, and character outfits.
West proves to be the most active and engaging participant. She really delves into the details of her wardrobe designs and choices and offers a slew of great details on the subject.
The others also add nice remarks, but West stands out as the most useful of the bunch. Overall, the track seems compelling and expands our understanding of the various topics.
New to the Blu-ray, a Trivia Track accompanies the film. This provides info about the production as well as aspects of the source material and story/characters. The notes pop up too infrequently to contribute much.
Another Blu-ray exclusive, Shooting Gallery offers a game. This requires you to move a cursor around the TV screen and fire at characters. It’s awkward and wholly lacking in entertainment value – or purpose.
An unusual index appears via Search Content. Instead of the usual chapter stops, this domain lists a slew of movie characters and topics and allows the viewer to find all of the times they appear in the film. I don’t know how useful this is, but it’s an interesting addition.
The Blu-ray also provides a collection of trailers. We locate ads for LXG as well as Transporter, Transporter 2, Planet of the Apes (2001), Phone Booth, Behind Enemy Lines, and Kiss of the Dragon.
Like most early Fox Blu-rays, LXG drops features from the DVD. We lose deleted/extended scenes and a documentary.
A fairly messy mish-mash of a superhero flick, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen sits as one of 2003’s bigger disappointments. Director Stephen Norrington set the bar high with his prior flick, but LXG doesn’t remotely live up to the highs of Blade. The Blu-ray provides excellent audio along with mediocre picture and a few interesting supplements. LXG remains a let-down as a movie.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN