Sunday, March 19, 2006

Film Review: V for Vendetta

i consider this to be the make it or break it film when it comes to adaptations of Alan Moore's work. From Hell was completley devoid of anything resembling a connection to the source material, opting for a much simplier "Se7en in the 19th Century" approach that fell flat. League of Extrodinary Gentlemen lobotmized Alan Moore's interpretations of classic literary figures until they became little more than the Super-Freinds for English Majors.

V for Vendetta looked to be different, though. on its surface it appears to be a faithful adaptation of Moore's vision of a Totalitarian Britain being terroized by V, a romantic/anarchist in a Guy Fawkes mask. the book was so much more than "Batman vs. A Brave New World". it invoked serious debate and questions pertaining to assorted ideas, be they liberal/conservative/facism/anarchy. the villians and the heroes were so shaded in grey that the terms were rendered meaningless, and who was right and who was wrong was left to the reader to ponder. it was not a simple world, nor was it inhabited by simple characters or ideas. it was not a simple good vs. evil comic book. Alan Moore's work usually never is.

the film version does succeed in a few areas; Hugo Weaving's performance of the title character, the prison scenes where Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) is scalped and tormented, and the story of Valerie; a lesbian who is incarcerated and eventually dies due not just to her sexuality, but her choice in celebrating that sexuality, not being ashamed of it. the latter is perfectly taken from the book, all the heartbreak and soul attached to it.

where does the film fail? every where else. the ideas are imascualted, strip mined, and glossed over until they have all the persuaive power of a t-shirt slogan read in a shopping mall. the film-makers are purely to blame here. the actors do the best they can with what they are given. John Hurt plays the high chancellor as an over the top Hitler meets Emperor Palpatine type as opposed to the stone-cold creepy politican he was in the Book, and Portman pulls of a respectable performance as Evey. the problem here is the screen writers (the Watchowski Bros. of reprehensible Matrix fame) not affording the characters the kind of attetion, detail, and humanity they require. they do the same to the ideas and themes Alan Moore presented in his text.

on top of all of this; the editing is dismal, the pacing/flow is all wrong, and the ending was perhaps the biggest insult, the biggest case of "missing the point entirely" that i have ever seen. i won't spoil it for the more curious of you, so i'll leave it at that.

so Alan Moore's work is once again castrated by Hollywood dumbards. let's hope no one gets a wild hair up their ass and decide that Watchmen needs a similar treatment.

seriously....leave Watchmen alone.

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