The League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse

DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Martin Drury

Read Scott Macdonald's film review of The League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse
The League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse

While the film is a play within a play about the production of a play, the extras are a mix-up caught in a muddle. To reach the special features on this disc, you must navigate your way through strange pentagrams, ornate decorations and the faintest whiff on the breeze of Hammer Horror inspired graphics. All the while, Papa Laz stares at you from the menu screen. Can you discover the menagerie of special features before you're claimed as "his wife now, Dave"?

The Real Royston Vasey featurette appears to have been included purely to encourage day trippers to saunter around a real-life, isolated country town in search of insane shopkeepers, flame-haired butchers and a strange, manic circus ringmaster. One can also discover from this short snippet how The League spent weeks driving about in a cramped car looking for a suitable English "local" town to become Royston Vasey.

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The Steve Pemberton Diary featurette will enchant fans of The League's exploits and film buffs, but the casual viewer of the movie will be put off by their penchant for introspective discussion, constantly talking about themselves to themselves rather than addressing the audience.

The Deleted Scenes are, ironically, funnier than the Outtakes and for once it is clear that the reason such moments were not included in the film was because time constraints did not allow for their inclusion. They deserve to be on the cutting-room floor rather than in the bin. There's a loss of sound on a number of the Outtakes that ruins your enjoyment of the menagerie of mistakes. Poetic beauty pours itself into the extras in a torrent as a cast and crew, used to making the most out of the macabre, suddenly find themselves "corpsing" during the production process. However, soon the giggling fits begin to grate on the viewer and there's only so many times that you can sit and watch men, who are supposed to be serious actors, mess up the "local shop for local people" gag.

The Photo Gallery appears both misplaced and misguided, as anyone interested in uncovering hidden gems of photos from the set can simply go online to find their treasure. The Trailers seem to want to sell you a film you've bought already and the audio commentaries are included only as a honey-trap for The League's "number one fan" that would pay good money to hear Mark Gatiss read out his shopping list.

The special features on this DVD are not the icing on a beautifully decorated, rich and fruity cake. They are the froth that lingers around the rim of a cappuccino mug after the contents have been drained dry. Rumour has it that, with a little insider knowledge, an Easter egg of surprises awaits the traveller who can crack the code and unleash a few extra special features out from under the noses of The League of Gentlemen.

Unfortunately, rumour also has it that this is a film without a plot, accompanied by extras without a purpose. Good for a chuckle, but lacking in the belly laugh stakes. This is a local DVD for local people. The question is, are you local enough?

Reviewed on: 24 Sep 2005
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Convoluted comedy from TV-based series that questions the meaning of reality.
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Product Code: 8237565

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Making Of featurette; The Real Royston Vasey; A Cast of Thousands; A Gentleman's Diary by Steve Pemberton; deleted scenes; out-takes, photo gallery; trailers; audio commentary

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