"I made a little brown
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
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'?
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.
PICTURE AND SOUND
Presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
soundtrack the transfer is very good.
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
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
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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