Sunday, April 09, 2006

Vendettas

Every single review I read of V For Vendetta tried to do some lame pun on the title. Which is to be expected, I suppose. Most entertainment writers are hacks (I'm not saying I was brilliant, but clearly most entertainment writers were never at the top of their creative writing classes), so when a movie with a title like V For Vendetta comes across your desk, well, their mind must short circuit with the possibility.

I finally got to see the movie last night. This isn't going to be a serious review of the movie. For one thing, this is its fourth weekend in release and it's begun its slow slide down the box office charts and on its way to DVD. If you're going to see it, odds are you have. If not, then odds are you're waiting to rent it or you're like some of the fine folks I encountered on Damian's site and are physically repulsed by the mere idea of the movie.

When I reviewed movies for The Express this was the type of movie I always found hardest to review, I've collected comic books for the better part of 30 years. I have blinders with these types of movies that are long and wide. Which means I can be more forgiving then I ought to about obviously deeply flaw movies (Constantine and Fantastic Four) because they were just good enough to make me want to see more and hope that they can work the kinks out for any sequel.

Then again, it means when you get something like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I become perhaps disproportionately enraged by how badly they managed to take a graphic novel I love and mangle it beyond on all recognition.

Plus, I always wonder if audiences are following various parts of the plot. I can, because I've already read it, know where they're going and have made the leaps where they've cut stuff out. But I'm wondering if the audience is confused by it.

As I said, they're hard to review for me.

So as I forewarning, I love V For Vendetta and consider it one of my top five favourite graphic novels of all time. Is it a good movie? Sure. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. Do I find some of the changes maddening? Oh my yes.

I can forgive directors for making changes to source material. It has to be done. What works on the page doesn't always work on the screen. And I understand some of the big changes from page to screen in V For Vendetta. Such as the changes made in the Leader. I never liked the character's near fetish love with his computer in the book. And I understand the power of having V there for his end, as oppose to sending a proxy in the book.

And yeah, a lot of the secondary government characters had to go. And making the movie more of a critique of elements of current U.S. policy (I saw the movie last night, and then read this story this morning. Talk about rude awakenings) is understandable.

But it's often the little changes that drove me nuts. Such as why Evey leaves V after her transformation. Why the whole population is shown wearing V mask in the finale (Nice visual, still looks silly). I also hated the playing up a love angle between Evey and V. The book has the more sensible angle that she believes V to be her father.

And there was nothing about what happens next. "We all remembered that day. The End." Kind of lame. Some sort of epilogue would be appropriate.

Again, this is also mild stuff and most people watching the movie would neither notice it or care. And I did like the movie overall. Hell, I'll likely be buying the DVD when it comes out. Which, at the rate they turn them over these days, will be sometime in June.

It's worthy seeing. There are good visuals, decent acting (V was a bit hammier, and less scary, than I would have liked) and interesting idea.

But really, buy the comic. It's a piece of brilliance and shows Alan Moore (who disavows the movie) and David Lloyd at the top of their game.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Saw this film last night with Dups, and thoughoughly enjoyed it. I thought the direction was a bit off in places: over-long static shots of the mask in close up, the 'incongruous raindrop', and unrealistic explosions of famous architecture. But otherwise, a thought-provoking film.

I thought the masked citizens at the end was a nice touch, symbolizing how V is every one of us - even the dead.

It would have been nice, though, if the villains had more sophistication. It is ambiguity which gives force and topical importance to the moral questions invoked by the film.

So, have you noticed that between V and Darth Vader, Natalie Portman seems to be cast against masked villains in dark capes with swords? Who is next, Zorro?

regards, cat`

colette said...

Hee-hee-hee. I am so going to remind you of this entry the next time you rag on me about my LOTR movie rants.