NOTE: There is no difference between the special edition and the definitive edition - all the extras are exactly the same.
I had never read the "comic" books that the film is based on, so I came to the film with no preconceptions, and I enjoyed it for what it is - a family orientated adventure film.
We open with the dark cobbled streets of London in 1899 and a strange, never seen before, metal vehicle (we know to be a tank) is rolling through the streets and heading straight into the Bank of England, where a German scientist is kidnapped.
We move to Kenya, June 1899, where a man comes in search of the legendary hero Allan Quatermain. Except Quatermain (Sean Connery) is now jaded by his experiences and until attacked he wants nothing to do with the problems of the empire - only then does he agree to return once more to save the world.
July 1899 Quatermain arrives in London and is introduced to "M" (Richard Roxburgh - Van Helsing
)) who explains that the villain of the peace is a man known as the "Fantom", and that over the centuries there have been groups of chosen men with special attributes who were known as "The League of Extra Ordinary Gentlemen" or "The League".
This League will be Quatermain, Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), Rodney Skinner aka the Invisible Man (Tony Curran - Underworld - Evolution
), Mina Harker (Peta Wilson - La Femme Nikita
), Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde (Jason Flemyng - Primeval
) and Agent Tom Sawyer (Shane West - ER
This film was going to divide people into those that know the graphic novels and those that don't know them at all. Since I don't know them I have nothing that I can complain about - I enjoyed them. The film not only suffered because of the link to the graphic novels, but because it's release coincided with the release of Van Helsing - even the DVD was released at the same time.
What I love are the references to the older books, such as Moby Dick, Around the World in 80 Days, etc. There are also hints as to who the baddy is very early on in the film. I also like the fact that the Mr Hyde character was not created by the use of CGI but the old fashion way using makeup.
Interestingly, Roxburgh appeared in both films, and moved between the sets, which were being filmed only a short distance apart.
It is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon with the family.