March 19, 2006

Ideas Are Bulletproof

It was the first time I had seen a movie well....since Batman Begins, before a lack of funds limited me to DVDs from the public library. However, now that I have a semi-regular income, I decided to go all out and see a brand new movie. After smuggling in some Switzer's red licorice (another reason I love St. Louis), I sat down, watched some boring pre-movie advertising, and after the trailers, caught my first post-hiring, post-2006 movie.

I'm talking, of course, about V For Vendetta.

Now, I know there's been a lot of talk about the movie - especially from Alan Moore - but there's a good news/bad news to this movie. Bad news - if you're expecting a shot-by-shot recreation of the graphic novel, you will be sorely disappointed. However, if you're expecting a faithful adaptation of the graphic novel - with some really cool, interesting bits thrown in - you won't be disappointed.

One of the key aspects of the film is that, even though it takes place in near-future England, it is as timely as if it were made about modern-day America. (Yes, some people might feel the filmmakers are copping out by not making it about modern America - however, England's had its share of dealing with similar issues). Plus, it allows the filmmakers to take some harder-hitting strides, giving the film a power in 2006 America as it did in 1980s England.

Now, some liberties are taken with the plot, mostly in creating a B-plot around a plague. Several characters are given motivations and backgrounds that serve to really further the overall theme. In addition, the third act - consisting of the infamous "dominos" scene to the end - creatively sums all of Moore's and Lloyd's themes in a way that is much more emotionally satisfying. (And somewhat more honest - would a better world need a V-like character?) Plus, the third act contacts enough F*&% Yeah! moments to keep Dave's Long Box busy for several weeks. The only real disappointments are an almost stock-in-trade warehouse showdown with oh-so-cool effects, as well as a slight attempt to create a "love story" that comes off as a slight case of Stockholm syndrome.

However, kudos have to be spread to where they belong - the actors, especially Hugo Weaving. Let's face it, acting behind a mask is tough, and much like Stephen Thorne in Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars, is able to connote much through voice tone and body movement. Stephen Fry also deserves kudos, and Natalie Portman shows that with a good director who allows her to act, she can come through in spades.

Unlike other comic-related movies, the technical achievements don't overshadow the strength of its script. It will also get a lot of the religious right upset, because it is an allegorical picture of our modern times. It's the movie that Michael Moore wishes he had made - passionate, intelligent, creative, and with enough to make you want to see it a second time. It's an almost perfect adaptation of a masterpiece of graphic literature.

See this movie. Now. Even if it means selling plasma.

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