The League Of Gentlemen's 
Apocalypse

The League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse

**1/2

Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

The peerlessly vile and entertaining characters from the successful cult television series, The League Of Gentlemen, have had their lives and cleverness explored thoroughly in 30 minute segments, all the while becoming more demented and clearly less funny. They exist in a parallel universe called Royston Vasey and face extermination via an apocalypse raining death-by-fireball for reasons unknown to them.

In a comedy full of occasionally revolting and obvious bodily function gags, a select few of the inhabitants of Royston Vasey find themselves transported to the real world, to find their creators and try to convince them not to abandon the show, thereby avoiding catastrophe. Unfortunately for them, the writers have begun work on a new screenplay, a comedy based in the 1670s, which has it's own universe.

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There's a cheerful, Charlie Kaufmanesque self-awareness to the writing, with Adaptation being a notable influence, although it should remind the viewer more of Last Action Hero with Arnie, as the Vasey characters come to terms with their imaginary status. Interestingly enough, they adapt more easily than one would think, the pun-inspired Herr Lipp being a particular standout in his domestic horror turned inspired father figure in a hideous German/Northern accent, impersonating his own creator, Steve Pemberton. It's a strangely affecting performance, while utterly squirm-inducing when trying to fool Pemberton's wife.

The film takes large leaps into movie inspired fun, with Beauty And The Beast/Willy Wonka style coat hangers and Hammer Horror pastiches in the 1670 sub-plot. This sequence, while noticeably clever, doesn't half slow the pace down, although "David Warner in a wig," as a villainous sorcerer, chews scenery admirably, as he does with his Time Bandits Evil Genius, conjuring giant stop-motion poisonous puppets at a moments' notice. Eventually, and inexplicably, the characters from the 1670s and some of the Royston Vasey crowd swap universes to meet up with their creators. By this time, we have abandoned all reason and the script forces us to surrender to illogical, self-indulgent silliness.

There's nothing wrong with this, you understand, but when the jokes don't hit their mark, preferring yawn-inspired goofiness, who cares? The character-based comedy mostly works as well as it does on the show, but the laboured and frequently infantile storylines make the film fall flat on its face when it's not half way up its own arse.

Reviewed on: 04 Jun 2005
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Apocalypse packshot
Convoluted comedy from TV based series that questions the meaning of reality.
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The Remote Viewer ***1/2
John Gallagher **1/2

Director: Steve Bendelack

Writer: Jeremy Dyson, Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton

Starring: Reece Shearsmith, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton, Bernard Hill, David Warner, Victoria Wood, Emily Woof, Simon Pegg, Peter Kay, Michael Sheen, Liam Cunningham, Kate O'Toole, Bruno Langley

Year: 2005

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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