3/27/2006

V for Vendetta

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you! :O
So if you read my review and don’t want to see spoilers, do not be surprised if you explode etc.

Being the latest comic book adaptation film, V for Vendetta was the most obvious film that we could go see. (although I personally wanted to see The Proposition but our cinema is crap) so yes, being a comic-book based film there was really no question… unless it were based on a boring comic book, like She-Hulk or Electra. Although I must say that I was rather put off by Jonathan Ross’ review of the film, though I can safely say that I am glad I went against his better judgement.

Directed by James McTeigue – being his first film as a fully fledged director- Starring Natalie Portman (Evey Hammond), Hugo Weaving (V), Stephen Rea (Finch), Stephen Fry (Dietrich), John Hurt (Adam Sutler), Tim Pigott-smith (Creedy), Rupet Graves (Dominic) and Roger Allam (Lewis Prothero).  

The film is based on Alan Moore’s ten issue limited series that appeared in the British comic Warrior, I will talk about the film as though it is based on the graphic novel, even though Moore severed the connection.
Based in the near future V for Vendetta follows V, a freedom fighter who is on a personal vendetta to get his revenge on those that have created such a dystopian society and ultimately destroying his life for reasons unknown, he attempts to reclaim the society that once was, the ‘land of do-as-you-please’ (I love that phrase).

From the original premise of the film (and the Wachowski brothers being involved) I would have labelled it as perhaps as a hard action flick, though I was pleasantly surprised that –in my opinion- there was little of what I would class as action per say. I suppose I would agree with Imdb.com it is an action/drama/sci-fi/thriller, personally I would recommend the film to anyone as it has a nice mix of genres and it complemented by a good story, though some might find it a little controversial… and not to moan but it seems that many Americans feel the film is awful simply because America is mentioned in passing as destroying itself and no longer being the super power that it is… I suppose being British makes the film more enjoyable for me, because for a change it’s a film based in an area that I can easily recognise and relate to. Although we do not all say bollocks as much.

With a lot of the cast being English I didn’t really understand the casting of Natalie Portman, I read into it and apparently both Scarlett Johansson and Bryce Dallas Howard were both up for the role of Evey, and if you ask me I think Bryce Dallas Howard might have done a better job… but she would have probably looked a little too mousey, so perhaps Portman was the better choice (I am not a fan of Johansson’s lips, and she looks way too innocent for my tastes).
Being a film set in London it was fun to see actors like Ben Miles (Coupling) and Stephen Fry (Blackadder I suppose), and although they did not have very large roles it was a nice touch to make the film that bit more British.
As for Hugo Weaving, I felt his casting –like Natalie Portman- was also rather strange, seeing as James Purefoy was originally up for the role –although apparently he didn’t like the idea of his face being in a mask through the whole movie, vain huh?- and he, like the rest of the cast being British fit rather nicely… but instead they chose an Australian actor? (I suppose that I am sometimes mistaken for Australian so it does make sense) and perhaps with the Wachowski brothers there was some sort of thing, him being used by them before. Although as for his acting I can say that I was rather surprised (not having seen many films containing him other than the obvious), as he was fully capable of bringing a costume to life, as well as apparently stirring a lot of fan girls just because of his voice (as you will find on most forums), though I felt that V seemed more impressive in the comics, not sure why.

With the screenplay written by the Wachowski brothers and being disowned by Alan Moore I did not think that the screenplay would be too fantastic, full of action and fighting and whatnot. Though I found that both the screenplay and the story was a lot better than I had expected, and after reading the original graphic novel that the film was based upon it is true that there are some obvious changes, but the film kept in spirit with the novel rather well if you ask me.

In comment to the music, after reading the comic I think ‘every time we say goodbye’ should have been included in the film. Though I felt ‘cry me a river’ went nicely anyway. On the subject of it I was rather surprised that V and Evey danced so much in the comic as opposed to the film (who I thought might have made it up).
The nice touch of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, which I believe was also featured in the comic when he broadcasted a message across the radio, rather than blow up the old bailey, I felt in all the music was well used, and very fitting to the film.

It would seem that there is mixed opinion to the final fight scene of V, specifically towards the bullet-timesqueness of it, though I felt it looked rather good. I was particularly worried that the whole film would end up in bullet time but I was surprised that it was done rather well, and nowhere near as over the top as it could have been.
Much like Catherine has expressed on the film, I have also found myself a fan of the sort of dystopian environments that are not usually present in films, and for this I was grateful of a movie adaptation that stuck by pretty faithful to the comics, rather than completely change the setting (albeit the year).
As much as I seem to go on, and moan I did genuinely like the film, it appealed to me in the Phantom of the Opera sense, as well as its totalitarian atmosphere, its fun to have a film based around an insane terrorist of sorts based not in fact but fiction.

When I think of bad points (as I read the comics subsequently after watching the film) they are more of parts that I felt should have been included in the film from the comics, specifically that it was never actually mentioned that V had to of been sent to Larkhill for a reason, questioning the possibility of him being gay, or perhaps even Evey’s father. Some other parts I felt were rather good in the comics were times when V’s creativity and variety was expressed; through a magic trick including a rabbit, and that most of his tricks of illusion being that of dummies with tape recorders, that I found rather novel.
In terms of the adaptation from comic to film I felt it was accomplished rather nicely, and that the film is pretty much perfect as it is, especially seeing as adding anymore would have excelled the film to around two and a half hours, which is too long for the average cinema-goer to bear…

Overall it was a great film, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, and although it would seem that there are many mixed opinions on the film I would heartily recommend it to anyone that can withstand an action film containing some meaningful and eccentric dialogue.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 8/10
I was not used to so many people in the cinema at once, and especially the refurbished chairs. I believe that I can safely say that I enjoyed the film, and even more so after reading the graphic novel, which I felt was done justice. I know there are many mixed opinions about the film circulating, but being British I enjoyed a Hollywood film being based around a dystopian London.

2 Comments:

At 2:47 pm, Blogger Brinstar said...

I read the comic book before I saw the film and I felt that they deviated in ways that I didn't agree with. Indeed some of the darker overtones of the comic book were taken away by the film. For example the fact that in the first scene of the film, where Evey is walking on the street, that she isn't prostituting herself as she was in the book was an unwelcome departure. It took away from the desperation of her situation, and the desperation that the nation was going through. I also did not like the fact that V, in the film, professed his love for Evey before dying. That changed their relationship in a way that was definitely not in the book. The relationship in the comic book was more of a mentor and student, and love, if there was any, was mostly one way (Evey for V). Also, in the film, they made V out to be far less clever than he was in the book. In the book, he basically ran the government from behind the scenes using the Fate computer. He was toying with them all, a mastermind and a genius. In the film, he was more of a vigilante. His ideals weren't really captured in the film.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the film for what it was. However, the comic book is far superior in almost every way.

 
At 3:25 pm, Blogger Cptalbertwesker said...

Indeed I agree with you there very much on the big difference with Evey's character, especially with the position that she was in she was better off in her nice cozy job with her big tv etc than living off with V.

But yes the book was a lot better than the film. Though to detach the film from its origin, it merits pretty nicely as well :)

 

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