A secret group of super-powered characters from Victorian literature saving the world under the banner of Rule Britannia? The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen certainly has a pitch that grabs your attention, and throttles it into submission.
At least on paper.
And on paper is probably where it should have remained, since this mega-budget ($100+ million) adaptation of Alan Moore's fantastically gloomy graphic novel is a disastrous debacle. It'll surely have comic fans ripping up their prized first editions in disgust.
The premise scores points for ingenuity: in a parallel universe, 19th century Britain harbours a shadowy group of superheroes torn from the pages of Victorian literature.
Led by Alain Quatermain (Sean Connery), the league of gentlemen includes The Invisible Man (Tony Curran), Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah), Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (Jason Flemyng, who turns into a CGI cross between Hulk and an orang-utan when he gets mad), Dorian Gray (Stuart Townsend), and honorary lady member Mina Harker (Peta Wilson).
Their mission is to stop the villainous Fantom from starting a world war. And once the introductions are out of the way, the movie unravels faster than a ball of string in a cement mixer.
Indeed, it's so bad, it makes the press feeding frenzy surrounding its troubled shoot - Connery and director Norrington having on-set fisticuffs, floods destroying $5 million worth of sets, the director being locked out of the editing room by his grumpy star - sound less like schadenfreude-fuelled gossip than all-too-believable reality.
Struggling to rein in Connery's scenery-chomping PacMan impression, while desperately trying to paper over dodgy digital effects - that might as well be held together by sticky-backed plastic - Norrington eventually gives up and lets this nuclear bomb of a movie explode in everyone's face.
Destined to go down in the history books as the Heaven's Gate of superhero flicks, this is nothing more and nothing less than an extraordinary waste of time and money.
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen is released in UK cinemas on Friday 17th October 2003.