Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith, Michael Sheen, David Warner, Victoria Wood and Bernard Hill

Steve Bendelack

Running Time:
91 mins

Out to buy on DVD 02/10/05

"I made a little brown fish"


As the inhabitants of Royston Vasey go about their daily business, storm clouds start to gather overhead. When Fire and brimstone cascades from the heavens they all gather at the church and Rev. Bernice Woodall (Shearsmith) reveals that this is foretold and they are witnessing an apocalypse. The prophecy also reveals an awful truth however. All of the residents of Royston Vasey are in fact fictional characters created by Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson and they have decided not to write any more stories about them condemning them to death. Their only option is to go the real world and talk them into continues their stories but mass murder Hilary Briss (Gatiss), useless businessman Geoff Tipps (Shearsmith) and German teacher Herr Lipp (Pemberton) are probably not the best people to send.

After a radio show, TV series and live shows, The League of Gentlemen moves to the big screen but can they be the next 'Monty Python'? Not quite.

The dark comedy that made the radio and TV series such a cult hit would be very hard to transfer to the silver screen. Some may argue that the film would have a built in audience, which is true but the series was an acquired taste with people either adoring it (of which I am one of those people) or completely not getting it at all. It looks like Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson have taken this into consideration and delivered a movie that doesn't quite have the same punch as its televisual counterpart as is tries to gain mass appeal.

In quite an inventive move, the writers have decided to bring their beloved characters into the real world. We all know that Royston Vasey is a fictional creation but this comes as news to the inhabitants of that very local village. When it seems that their village is on the verge of destruction, Rev. Bernice Woodall reveals that awful truth and reveals a portal to the real word in the catacombs of the church. Unfortunately the killer butcher of Royston Vasey and his two prisoners go through the door and take the key with them, as they attempt to evade the police. Now this is a great premise that opens up a huge possibility for dark comedic escapades but the film only delivers on very few occasions.

The thought of Herr Lipp impersonating Steve Pemberton and taking care of his children is both shocking and hilarious. Hilary Briss been let loose in the real world is a nightmare prospect only for him to discover there is more to life than meat and murder. Tubbs and Edward making a home visit to Jeremy Dyson's house. Geoff Tipps making himself the hero instead of his usual cowardly self. These are all ideas that, in part, humanise the character as they realise they can be more than just how they were written. This makes the underlying message that we can be more than just a 'pun', quite a relevant one as it shows that even the most devilish characters can be more than what people expect them to be. This message throws a lightness into the film however that of its dark origins might find too bright.

As you would expect the performances from Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith are as exceptional as ever. Each of them play their characters and themselves with great gusto, even portraying the real versions of themselves as slightly big headed, show business types with troubled marriages and nothing but their work that has pigeon holed them for ten years. Geoff Tipps, played by Reese Shearsmith, takes centre stage and has most of the best lines. The same can be said about Steve Pemberton's Herr Lipp but Mark Gatiss doesn't really get the chance to excel as Hilary Briss because the character just isn't as evil as he was in the series.

Apart from the performing side of the League, the film also has some great guest appearances. David Warner is excellent as the diabolical Dr. Pea, the 17th century devil worshipper who is part of the new work created by the League to replace Royston Vasey. Bernard Hill and Victoria Wood are funny as the King and Queen from that story. Also look out for two hilarious turns from two comedic stars in Dr. Pea's lab. Michael Sheen is also good as the only member of the League who never appears on screen, Jeremy Dyson.

'The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse' is a funny movie for the average filmgoer but for fans of the cult series it is a slight disappointment. While the underlying message is good, the decision not to go with some of the more popular characters from the series may disappoint the legions of fans. Amusing throughout but really nothing more, fans will wish they had spent the money on a new TV series rather than a toned down version of beloved Royston Vasey characters.

For Fans

For Everyone else


Presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack the transfer is very good.


League Commentary
The League of Gentlemen themselves Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson bring you a fun and comprehensive commentary. The League talk extensively about the development of the story and the direction of how they wanted the film version to go. Not wanting to do an extended episode scenario, they talk about trying to bring some originality to the film version and they reveal the reasons behind this. This is a very amusing commentary throughout revealing how much the League actually love what they are doing.

The Making of the League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse (12.14 mins)
Director Steve Bendelack, producer Greg Brenman and the League of Gentlemen Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson reveal how they brought the hit radio and TV show to the big screen. The idea behind the film is discussed and they reveal how they approached the story to make it suitably different from what they had done before but still keep their sense of humour. The featurette also takes you behind the scenes of the Irish shoot and the crew visit to Hadfield, the real Royston Vasey.

The Real Royston Vasey (5.47 mins)
Pauline takes you on a tour of Hadfield, the town used as Royston Vasey in the TV show and now the film. Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson talk about the impact the show has had on the sleepy Yorkshire town.

A Cast of Thousands (4.05mins)
Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson talk about the multitude of characters that they play in the movie, revealing how they coped with sharing the screen with Royston Vasey's inhabitants as they appeared as themselves and the characters.

A Gentleman's Diary by Steve Pemberton (12.32 mins)
Steve Pemberton keeps a video diary for a one day of the shoot. Starting in the early hours of the morning we see how Steve prepares for playing Herr Lipp, Pauline and himself during the climatic church scene at the end of the movie and the difficulties that entails.

Deleted Scenes (16.29 mins)
Sixteen deleted or extended scenes that includes more of main Royston Vasey characters and more of the Dr Pea and the classic characters.

Outtakes (9.34 mins)
A montage of outtakes that see the League mucking up there lines and falling about laughing. There is also extended footage of Simon Pegg and Peter Kay's cameos.

A montage of behind the scenes, visual effects and model shots from 'The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse'

Trailers (1.50 mins)
Watch the teaser and theatrical trailers for 'The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse'


While the film might be slightly disappointing for fans of the series, the DVD is filled with enough bonus features to make them a little happier. The commentary track is extremely good and the featurettes are funny, if a little short. This is a decent DVD for a film that really should have offered more but fans should be pleased with the results.


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