Old 04-17-2006, 07:20 PM
Movie Review: V FOR VENDETTA (2006)

I bought a copy of the graphic novel V for Vendetta last August and quickly read through it in about five days. I was left stunned and amazed. And now, almost eight months later after having seen the film adaptation of the book I am still left somewhat stunned and amazed, but also somewhat disappointed. Don't get me wrong V for Vendetta is a pretty good movie; it's smart, thought-provoking, exciting and makes for a great conversation starter. But to me the Wachowski Brothers (you know, those guys who wrote that movie a few years back and was kind of a big thing) did tinker quite a bit with the graphic novel, in some ways good, and in some ways very bad. But even with those changes I still rather enjoyed my time at the movies. I just hope those who do go out and see it will leave the theater with the urgent feeling of going out and reading the graphic novel.

First off, before we get into it let me just express my appreciation for the two lead performances from Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving. Both of them turn in great performances that do the source material real justice. Where was this Natalie Portman during the Star Wars movies? And Hugo Weaving had an amazing challenge having to act through a mask the entire film with a fixed facial expression and in the end was able to still create a character that you can at one moment hate, and at another love.

The beginning of the film differs from the book, and it was pretty pointless to have changed it, but the film's ending I must say is a real knockout, so much so that I thought for a moment I might actually be blown out of the back wall of the theater and into the parking lot. The screenplay which was written by Andy and Larry Wachowski does drop the ball every now and again (but not near as much as in the Matrix sequels, thank God). A lot of the graphic novel has been rearranged, changed, altered, or tossed out. Like I said before some of the changes are good, and others are bad. But the overall essence of the V for Vendetta graphic novel is somehow quite intact, but for those of you reading this who haven't yet seen the film, or read the graphic novel, don't worry I won't spoil anything for you.

The plot sounds very similar to George Orwell's 1984, which even author Alan Moore admits was one of many major influences on V for Vendetta when he wrote it back in the early 80's. In fact that's what helps make V for Vendetta a really great story and ultimately a really good movie; the issues and topics it takes on, and to this day we are still talking about them. V for Vendetta wasn't written two or three years ago, but over twenty years ago, and it still holds up.

The story imagines a place where, what if Germany had won WWII, and England became a fascist state; where freedom is a long forgotten thing of the past. And one man, who was horrifically scarred both mentally and psychically by this government, decides to strike back using terrorist tactics trying to start a revolution or uprising, and inspire and lead his fellow countrymen to freedom. He calls himself V (Weaving), and he wears a mask that resembles the face of Guy Fawkes, a man who was one of five conspirators that planned to bomb Parliament on November 5, 1605. V saves a young woman named Evey (Portman) from some nasty Policemen late one night, eventually Evey grows to respect and admire him, and soon becomes his protege. But V is not an easily definable character; he loves classical music, his favorite movie is The Count of Monty Crisco and he never removes his mask, EVER.

V for Vendetta is a dark, intense comic book film more along the lines of Batman Begins. It's a serious film with some serious ideas. Some parts are quite uncomfortable to sit through (only because it's so "contemporary"), while others are a fiery blast of adrenaline to the eyes (and the ears). The film does take a few liberties, and takes a few extra jabs at conservatives, who oddly enough weren't actually mentioned by name in the book to begin with; I guess the Wachowski's just couldn't help themselves. Some people will look at this film as an anti-Bush film; some will just merely say it's an anti-fascism film. Some will say that the character of V is a terrorist, and others will say he's a freedom fighter. Just remember one thing; the guy who's calling V a terrorist is basically a caricature of Adolf Hitler. A terrorist against Hitler, is that really such a bad thing? So I think depending on how you go into this film, and how you look at things will ultimately help determine how much you like, or dislike it. Personally I never saw the character of V as a terrorist, but as a revolutionary. V doesn't quite fit the bill of a terrorist. I mean he never goes out and intends to harm innocent people, in fact the only people that are on his "list" if you want to call it that, are precisely government officials and the ones responsible for turning him into the monster that he is.

The film also touches on a number of hot button issues such as, well terrorism for starters, and the tactics used by terrorists, like suicide bombings. It also makes a statement on the persecution of homosexuals, a Bishop with a pedophile problem and it even manages to show us how the media can, or does manipulate the news; which ultimately affects what we chose to believe or not believe. This is a very risky picture to be sure (especially for a major studio like Warner Bros.), and not everyone's gonna like it, that's just the way it is. But when all is said and done, and that Rolling Stones song starts blaring over the end credits it will leave you with something to think about afterwards. And even though the film may have messed around with the graphic novel a little too much, it's still the same journey, and it still raises a lot of the same questions (none of which come with any easy answers), and for those reasons only makes V for Vendetta the first must-see film of 2006. Thumbs up.

7 / 10

Last edited by Nived; 04-18-2006 at 11:39 AM..
Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2006, 10:57 AM
This movie was so freaking overrated, it makes me sick.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2006, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by fooknasty
This movie was so freaking overrated, it makes me sick.
you might want to get that checked out
Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2006, 06:13 PM
The graphic novel.... 10
The movie... 7

If only they could have left it alone. I can't think of a single thing that they changed that was better than what was already in the graphic novel.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2006, 10:48 PM
I've seen a little of the art from the graphic novel, and was not impressed. But based off of your praise of it I might have to go back and give it a closer look. You might have read these already, but if you're interested in more graphic novels I reccomend:

Sin City Volumes 1-4
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Batman: Hush
Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2006, 11:07 PM
It's funny you should mention that, because I just picked up BATMAN: HUSH Volumes 1 and 2 last Friday. I haven't started reading it yet, but I flipped through the artwork and it looks awesome! I'm gonna read those as soon as I finish reading the book I'm currently reading.

I also have...
V FOR VENDETTA by Alan Moore
WATCHMEN by Alan Moore (almost finished reading it)
BATMAN: YEAR ONE by Frank Miller
ARKHAM ASYLUM (which is a crazy graphic novel)
SIN CITY: Volumes 1, 2 and 4 (i've read all of the books except Hell & Back)
Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2008, 02:31 AM
Alan Moore's storytelling is just so rich in detail, atmosphere & concepts, that it can almost seem impossible to capture even just a sliver of it's essence onto a film adaptation. Therefor, even though this movie quite obviously cannot compare to the comicbook series, just the fact that it was able to retain anything at all from Mr. Moore's stories to any kind of degree of consistency
(which, IMO, is the only movie to do so far) is enough to mark it as a success for a big comicbook nerd (such as myself) who is a fan of his works.


Last edited by MightyCelestial; 01-16-2009 at 02:08 AM..
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2008, 09:36 PM
I enjoyed it. Probably would have been a much better movie had two other brothers made it.


Last edited by AshleysDad; 08-26-2008 at 09:44 PM..
Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2008, 02:48 PM
I thought it was a decent adaptation of Moore's graphic novel, although the plot was overdramatized and the symbolism a bit too excessive. I enjoyed the politics parody and the warning of wardom collapse in our future.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2008, 10:32 AM
Very overrated movie. I almost fell asleep in the theatre.

Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2008, 11:34 AM

V for Vendetta focuses much of its time on media manipulation, how ironic considering Alan Moore's futile attempts to manipulate his audience to agree with his anarchistic views. 2/10.

V: "penny for the Guy" - perhaps a penny for him, but in hindsight I wish I hadn't wasted a penny on the film.

Although the negatives far outweigh the positives, the positives aren't completely smothered by the rubble. The acting is very impressive, particularly Natalie Portman in one of the few roles where she's succeeded in being an advantage rather than her usual burdensome self. Some nice visuals on offer in one or two scenes, the opening images of Guy Fawkes was well done, as were some of the scenes of nightime London back streets.

The ideology of the film is rather pitiful. Stroppy individuals' react to a government they dislike, in what amounts to no more than a hissy fit. The politics of the film is silly and extreme. In this world there's no democracy, no center-right or center-left politics. It portrays politics as far-right or far-left, and if you dislike your government then destroy the world. Pathetic. The film had the reverse effect on me than what Moore would have hoped, both far-right and far-left were shown to be moronic ideologies, I felt no sympathy for any character or any world view the film suggested. The references to Bush and,or Thatcher were undermined by the simple fact their reign was not in any context suggested by the film, in reality we have democracy, in reality we can vote the other way. No need to stomp up and down like a brat just because you don't get your own way, you simply vote for the other party, just like the Americans did who voted for Obama.

Last edited by Leonidas.300; 12-08-2008 at 11:11 AM..
Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2008, 08:46 AM
Originally Posted by Nived View Post
The graphic novel.... 10
The movie... 7

If only they could have left it alone. I can't think of a single thing that they changed that was better than what was already in the graphic novel.
When it comes to adaptations - particularly adaptations of literature as sprawling and complex as Alan Moore and David Lloyd's 'V for Vendetta' - it's almost impossible for the source material to be "left [...] alone".

In fact, the Wachowskis' original draft of the script from way back in the mid-90s was every much as sprawling as the graphic novel (which Moore admits he was writing without any real sense of direction for a number of the issues - he was just winging it ).

But it wasn't cinema-friendly.

So they went back and re-wrote the thing so that it would actually work as a two-hour screen narrative.

After all, the demands of one medium (i.e. the graphic novel) is quite different from the demands of another (i.e. the film).

What matters is that the film works as a film, and V for Vendetta absolutely does that.

I've read the original graphic novel and the Wachowskis' shooting script, so I am fully aware of the differences between book and film
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump