Sunday, March 19, 2006

Viva La Revolutione!

V for Vendetta Film Review

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta, the film, is extraordinarily good. After two years of poor and pathetic excuses of cinema, and I’m saying that sadly Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire has been the highlight film of the past few years, and that isn’t saying much; we finally have a smart intelligent film again.

V for Vendetta is based off of the graphic novel by the same title by creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Now some of you may have been wondering why Alan Moore’s name wasn’t credited on the film? Well, basically Alan Moore is a big cry baby whiny face, and he’s mad that D.C. comics screwed him out of his property. He’s put the blame on everybody but himself. Hey big boy, if you didn’t want D.C. to run with your property and bank a buck or two off of it, then maybe you should have been smarter in the first place before you sold it to them. Alan Moore’s complaints are half scattered as his blame has been shifting from a complaint about loud mouth producer Joel Silver to initial tension with holding past grudges with D.C. comics. Alan Moore just doesn’t seem to get the fact that big American company’s greed means they’ll sell their soul to the devil, and yours too, if it means making a bottom dollar. Not only that, he's been ranting about such injustices since the 80's. My grandmother always used the adage, "fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, and shame on me." As far as I’m concerned, Alan Moore doesn’t even have a right to complain. Last I checked his name wasn’t Ogure Ito, an artist whose property Tenjou Tenge was horribly tarnished by D.C. comics CMX line.

Maybe Moore doesn’t like cinema? Or maybe his artistic sensitivity is borderline girlish, but I’ve known girls that whine less than him. As far as films and comics go, they are slightly different mediums. Well, okay, maybe I’m just trying to sound sympathetic, they are entirely different mediums. Just take a look at the changes to the X-Men movies, and you’ll find that they altered the characters quite a bit. Many changes come at the sake of making the comic stories have more of a cinematic appeal. Cinematic techniques are something necessary to make something two dimensional come to life and pop out at you. No matter how good the art or storytelling of a comic book is, there are certain liberties that film must take in order to insure that the original feeling and message be retold in a way contemporary audiences can understand. This means that often times there will be alterations. Certain movies are handled well and the closer the film to the original work it is based off of, the better the homage will be.

Tank Girl, Ghost World, Batman, Sin City, and V for Vendetta are all films that took the characters and made them accessible to today’s audiences while staying true to their roots. That said, I am proud to say that V for Vendetta belongs at the top of an ever increasing list of good comic book movies.

V for Vendetta poster

Certain reviews have been comparing V for Vendetta to Phantom of the Opera. Granted, both have antagonist anit-heroes who are eloquent speaking and have etiquette whilst murdering people, but that’s about where the similarities end. Perhaps the injection of romance between V and Evey confused some critics. However, as a film the movie would have seemed very dry without just a hint of emotional attachment between the kidnapper and the kidnapped. As it turns out, this type of psychology is more common than not, but in the film there is more going on between the two characters. Evey genuinely feels compassion for V. She is his opposite in most instances. V is power, force, anarchy, fire, and passion. Evey is delicate, sensitive, compassion, water, and love. Together they make an interesting dynamic duo.

One of the main appeals of the movie is Hugo Weaving’s portrayal of V. Not only the voice behind the mask, but the physical acting is brilliant as well! Natalie Portman’s British accent is flawless for the most part, and she is looking as stunning as ever. When I first read the comic, I thought Evey looked like a seventy year old man, but it’s nice to have such a soft human face on the character. This contrast against V’s hard artificial face makes a welcome compliment to the mask. Each character compliments the other, and as the film progresses you can’t help but really enjoy these characters.

Past the wonderful characters, the film has political topics which some deem too sensitive for today. Other critics are sayings it’s about time. Either way, people are split on the political debates the film brings up. I won't say much other than in politics rarely can anybody settle on common ground, but this film brings up the topics of interest intelligently all the while putting a contemporary relevancy to them which work for the story. I could think of a million and one ways that the film could have mucked up the entire relevancy it has for today by making it seem overly outdated. One way would have been going with the original plot from the comic of nuclear war. Instead the film has a more recent conversation as it deals with genetic and chemical warfare. In the past, say in the cold war era, nuclear threats would have been a more terrifying and relevant topic for the times, but in today’s world it holds no real tension. This change makes sense because much like Stan Lee’s comic book creations, there’s only so many times you can do nuclear incident.

The film retains those great angles and action sequences reminiscent of the Watchoski Bros. early Matrix films, however, remains entirely original. The direction by James McTeigue shows that he has the same great instincts as the Watchoski’s, not to mentions he’s able to make a dark film viewable. V for Vendetta has a very slick and sexy cinematography by the late Adrian Biddle. This was the last film of his illustrious carrier before he past away. The writing of the script flows well and the dialogue isn’t thick like the Watchowki Bros. Matrix blather. If anything, V for Vendetta is more accessible to the non-intellectuals all the while remaining intelligent enough to please everyone.


Like any other film, there are certain plot holes. Some people have questioned V’s ability to lay train track, refurbish a subway, have half a million masks made, etc. all critiquing that a normal person couldn’t possibly do such feats. Maybe they were watching a different film? The one I saw had a SUPER hero able to overcome any feat! With time and money, couldn’t anyone pay to have track laid down? People’s inability to infer things leave me to believe there is an overwhelming lack of imagination in today's movie going audiences. Do we all need to be spoon fed every moment? The Harry Potter film franchise has had its fair share of illogical moments as well, but you don’t see everyone griping about its leaps of logic.

There were however certain moments which didn’t connect. But these moments had no real emphasis on the main story or the characters interactions. The only real flaw was in the relationship the Bishop had with the political organization and the experiment which created V. But its relevance really wasn’t as important as the fact that it was an allegory for corruption in the Church, and how in the Orwellian, Totalitarian regime, even the most revered had been corrupted. This gives V even more meaning, and whether or not the relationship between the characters made sense, the relationship between the ideas does make sense. V’s television broadcast echoed views about governmental power and citizen’s responsibility to keep it in check. These views echo James Abram Garfield’s speeches about the same issues. Where as many may see the topics in the film as a somewhat forced present day metaphor for “America,” I can assure you that the themes in the film contain a greater allegory, one that transcends time periods and fuels a series of universally shared ideals. V for Vendetta is spot on in it’s stance to bring up these hot topic issues, but lets you think for yourself. It never becomes preachy or tiresome, but rather holds one’s keen interest as it does have relevancy to our times and times past. In the final verdict you only get out of it what you bring into the theater with you.

In my humble opinion, V for Vendetta is worth seeing. After several years of high budget but low quality films, I finally got excited about watching movies again. Go watch this movie!

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