When a film is adapted from a comic book, it must two serve purposes and two masters. It must please the comic’s core fanbase while appealing to new fans. It must also, as best as the creative team can, full transplant the narrative and characters from the page to the screen.
In 2003, the film adaptation of the comic book The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen hit the big screen. In an AU (alternate universe) Victorian era, a group of heroes from famous novels must come together to save the world. The group includes Tom Sawyer (Shane West), from the classic Mark Twain novel, The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, and Mina Harker (Peta Wilson) from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Led by Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) from H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, this band of adventurers and heroes must save the world from a villain known as the Fantom.
Bear in mind that I have never read the comic book and when I saw the movie, I was unaware that the source material comes from a comic book. As a standalone movie, it’s ok. It’s just the run of the mill film adaptation of a comic book that is top-heavy on special effects and light on both character and narrative.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that a book is favorably viewed when it is adapted multiple times in new and different ways.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court was written by Mark Twain in 1889. It has been adapted several times over the years.
The first of the two adaptations is A Kid In King Arthur’s Court (1995). Calvin Fuller (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has somehow found his way to Camelot. But this is not the idealized Camelot. King Arthur (Joss Ackland) is a widower with two daughters, the Princesses Sarah (Kate Winslet) and Katherine (Paloma Baeza). His confidence needs a major boost as he watches the scheming Lord Belasco (Art Malik) try to take the throne.
If you were a kid in the mid 1990’s, this movie was not that bad. But looking back, there are elements of this movie that as an adult, makes you question why you enjoyed the movie in the first place.
In 2001, a multicultural adaptation of the book, Black Knight was released. Jamal Walker (Martin Lawrence) works at an medieval times esque amusement park. He thinks his job is a joke. Then he falls in the the moat and wakes up in 14th century England. Jamal only then realizes that he is not in Kansas anymore when he sees someone beheaded. King Leo (Kevin Conway) is the fraud on the throne. Sir Nolte (Tom Wilkinson) and Victoria (Marsha Thomason) are both working to return the rightful queen to the throne. Can Jamal return to the 21st century and how can he overcome the forces of Sir Percival (Vincent Regan)?
This movie, well, it could be better. The major issues with this film is that not only has it been watered down , but in trying to reach a more diverse audience, the filmmakers just lost the magic that inhabits the original novel.
Do I recommend them? If your 10-14, then I recommend the first film. Otherwise, I do not. Do I recommend the second film? Not unless there is nothing (and i mean absolutely nothing) else to watch.