The League of Gentlemen Cover To transpose reality onto a logical plane can sometimes become a paragon of illogical thought. Or, if you want to be coldly analytical about it, just shut the f*ck up and read this film review, one Directed by Steve Bendelack; and Starring: Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith, David Warner, Peter Kay, and Simon Pegg. It was made in 2005 and lasts for 91 minutes.

The League of Gentlemen

The creative team named the ‘League of Gentlemen’ have decided to stop working on their television series set in the town of Royston Vasey, so that they can then start work on other more lucrative projects instead.

However, the characters within this television series have other ideas, and a hand full of these chap’s fight there way back to the ‘real world’, so that they can prevent their ‘creators’ from pulling the plug on them.

Oh, and before I forget to mention it, in Royston Vasey, the local vicar, Bearnice Woodall, foreshadows the signs of the Apocalypse – which is nice of her, huh?

OK, so who are these characters and creators then? Well, firstly, there are the ‘Mark Gatiss’ characters of Matthew Chinnery, Hilary Briss, and Mickey. Next, there are the ‘Steve Pemberton’ characters of Tubbs, Pauline, and Herr Lipp. And finally, there are the ‘Reece Shearsmith’ characters of Edward, Papa Lazarou, Geoff, Bernice, and Father Halfhearte.

In haste, the Royston Vasey characters go to the ‘real world’ and track down there respective creators, so that they can then do whatever it is that they have to do, to get them to change their minds. Granted, sometimes this does not go according to plan – as one of the creators die. Whereas, at other times, things get a mite more confusing – as one of the characters, Herr Lipp, replaces his creator, making things... errr... very strange indeed. Also, to make things a trifle even more perplexing, one character, Geoff, starts to read his way through a new ‘League of Gentlemen’ project – a medieval plot involving a black magician named Dr. Pea (David Warner) – and in so doing intertwines himself with this world as well.

Mind-boggling, right?

Now what transpires next is a rather bold and brash set of circumstances that lends itself to pathos. As creators fall – characters do battle – homunculus scream – Royston Vasey burns – and then, when all is said and done, salvation is finally found with tails on.

The end for now.

With my hand on my heart I have to confess that I am going to find the ‘League of Gentleman Apocalypse’ a hard film to review. Now this has not got anything to do with the film itself, oh no, but rather in the way that I perceive it. You see, I have been a fan of ‘The League’ since their days in radio, and I understand instinctively the roots of their comedy as well as what they are trying to achieve with this film. The Goons – Monty Python – The Two Ronnies – Dick Emery – and many more British greats have inspired them to do what they are doing – which is to subvert the face of satire with a brand of their own strange and baroque humor.

The League of Gentlemen Film

For me, this film is an amalgamation of creative logical thought, mixed together to develop something that all creators yearn for – to interact with their characters. Granted, on a surface level, the plot of this film is about how characters and creators don’t always see eye to eye – and how if this can transpire, who wins and who looses. Moreover, this is also a very finely tuned sketch film too, with certain segments purely to develop character not plot, and make us – the audience – understand the two-dimensional facets of whomever we are presented with. Also, in addition to all of this, there is a story in here about how creators can sometimes be blind-sided with ‘catch-phases’ and ‘silliness’, without truly understanding the developmental techniques needed to make a ‘project’ sustain the depth of time.

I think.

Danger in The League of Gentlemen

OK, I understand that all of this may sound rather highfalutin within the confines of a surrealist comedy movie. Nevertheless, at the same time all these factors’ make the ‘League of Gentleman Apocalypse’ a great film in my eyes. Iit enhances the previous television series onto a grander plateau, whilst simultaneously highlighting what great actors this team really is. Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, and Reece Shearsmith, all give out a plethora of really bold and brash performances in this film that convey ‘The Leagues’ style.

Oh! Kudos should also go out to the other player in this film too – with Victoria Wood, Michael Christopher Sheen, Simon Pegg, Berhard Hill, and Peter Kay all playing minor parts that really do lend themselves to the style of this project. Plus, I have to mention mister bad-ass himself, David Warner, who is just one of the most menacing old guys whom I have ever seen on the big screen.

The Cast of The League of Gentlemen

Now, for me, if this film did have a bad point to it, it would have to be that whole ‘medieval section’ – as it was kind of OTT for my liking. And I best not forget to mention the way in which this film does seem somewhat confusing in places – especially for those people whom are not familiar with the television series.

Overall, however, ‘League of Gentleman Apocalypse’ is up there with other such great crude comedy classics, such as the Terry Gilliam films ‘Jabberwocky’ and ‘Time Bandits’, and the Python film ‘The Meaning of Life’.

Great film – surrealist in tone – bold in execution – and lends itself to pathos on subtext.


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