The year is 1899 and a gentleman called simply M, (Richard Roxburgh), hosts a gathering of the era's most famous fictional characters. From King Solomon's Mines comes Great White Hunter Allan Quartermain, Sean Connery; from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea there's Captain Nemo, (Naseeruddin Shah); Jekyll and Hyde are there, played by (Jason Flemyng), as is Mina Harker, (Peta Wilson), the widow of Jonathan Harker who was killed by Count Dracula. Oscar Wilde's perennially youthful Dorian Gray, (Stuart Townsend), Rodney Skinner, alias The Invisible Man, (Tony Curran), and Tom Sawyer, Shane West, are also present and accounted for. They agree to form a league to combat a master criminal called The Fantom.

The concept for this inept film, derived from a comic book I'm afraid, is one of the most ludicrous imaginable. Indeed, it's downright insulting to lovers of Victorian-era literature whose fictional characters are tarnished in this tacky exercise. Perhaps the basic crassness wouldn't have mattered so much had not the film, appallingly directed by Stephen Norrington, been so awful.

Attractive production design isn't enough to save a ridiculous plot and a script that seems to be so nervous about the attention span of its audience that it dispenses with narrative and characterisation just to leap from one dull action sequence to the next.

What on earth was Sean Connery thinking of?