Stars: Sean Connery, Peta Wilson, Shane West, Jason Flemyng
The film: Sunk at the box office by flashier fare like T3 and X-Men 2, watching this big-budget eye-candy is by no means the worst way to spend a drizzly winter afternoon. In an alternate-history 1899, a posse of heroes are assembled by the British government to bring to justice the sinister Fantom, intent on breaking up global peace talks so he can sell everyone guns. But there’s a gimmick: these are fictional heroes, from Tom Sawyer to Dracula’s squeeze, Mina Harker. Some of this silliness works just fine – highlights include a sneaky Invisible Man and Captain Nemo’s magnificently realised submarine – but Sean Connery’s phoned-in performance and a wholly unconvincing Jekyll/Hyde transformation drag it down. Still, the thing obviously cost a bomb, looks breathtaking throughout, and there are even a few sly one-liners that made it through from the original, smarter comic.
The extras:. A second disk of background and special effects jiggery-pokery will keep movie buffs happy, while the 17 deleted scenes give a hint of the film’s famously “troubled” production process.