Victorious, we venture to V for Vendetta

Saturday night, after Sammy went to sleep, John and Yvonne came over and it was movie night. John stayed home to watch Sammy and graded papers, while Kimi and Yvonne let me pick the movie, per my prize for the Oscar contest.

Munich was my first choice, but we couldn’t find any nearby theatres showing it. So my fallback was V for Vendetta.

As a former comic geek, of course I had read the seminal series by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (in 1988, when the DC series came out). And since I read Boing Boing, I saw their post about an interview with Alan Moore wherein he talked about why he wanted to remove his name from the movie. (Interview by Heidi MacDonald.) The interview made me nervous; it did seem like the filmmakers had a fundamental misunderstanding of what the comic book was about. When I heard Joel Silver‘s name was attached, I was prepared to hate the movie. But seeing the high user ratings and good reviews (Ebert & Roeper, Peter Travers from Rolling Stone), I became interested again. This is the first time in 2006 that Kimi and I have gone to the movies.

Overall, I recommend the movie. While the English accents (from Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving) are a bit unstable, and the oversimplification of the plot is regrettable, I’m surprised they didn’t dumb it all the way down. The average American moviegoer doesn’t know who Guy Fawkes is, and may not even want to see a movie set in England (especially an alternate history near-future England). Visually it doesn’t resemble the Matrix movies very much (which is good, because I had suspected the Brothers Wachowski had but one trick), and the impenetrable pseudo-philosophy from the Matrix trilogy is fortunately absent as well. Less successful is the reinvention of Evie as a viewpoint character, but that’s now comparing the source material to the film and I almost never prefer the film version when I do that.

If you are not a comic book reader, I imagine that there is really little to tell you that this is a comic book movie. That’s a good thing, since most comic book movies are terribly dopey.

I think Yvonne liked it as much as I did, but Kimi liked it far less than I did, perhaps due to some of the more violent knife-fighting scenes (some of them more or less filmed in Matrix-like bullet time).

How daring for a movie, post-911 and in this political climate, to depict a terrorist-like anti-hero as the main character and establish sympathy and rapport for him. And by defanging the fascist English state portrayed (as Moore asserts was done), you really are risking audiences to rebel against watching a main character in a mask who blows up buildings. I suppose that without Natalie Portman’s character that gambit would not have succeeded at all.

In other news, on Sunday night, Kimi and I had dinner with Nancy at Mike’s Cafe in midtown Palo Alto. Poor Nancy, laid up with a broken foot. With Sammy in his stroller and Nancy in her wheelchair, we took up a lot of room. But I really like Mike’s.

3 Responses to “Victorious, we venture to V for Vendetta”

  1. rone Says:

    I’ve been pimping my friend Hannibal’s review. Short summary: he didn’t care for the movie.

  2. Scrappy Says:

    Well, I enjoyed the movie, but then again I didn’t read the original. Of course, now I want to! Yes, I thought there were some holes in the script, but I don’t always question it. I was entertained.

    I liked the message of the movie given the current state/leadership of our country. I kind of feel that this is a movie that won’t be seen by the ‘right’ people (much like Farenheit 911)…

    I have to say my least favorite part of the movie was seeing the poor, visibly-traumatized toddler who had been dragged to the movie by his parents crying in the hallway as we left the movie. WHY do parents do this to their children??? Why do theatres allow it? It’s child abuse as far as I’m concerned.

    Anyway, I’m so happy to have gone to the movies with Kimi and Stephen… I didn’t realize the movie dry-spell had been so long! =)

  3. Stephen Says:

    Rone, I disagree violently with some of Hannibal’s criticisms, which I feel will only be objections to someone who has read the comic 15 or 16 times.

    Even if Shakespeare had written the screenplay and it was directed by David Lean starting Orson Welles and Natalie Wood, produced by God himself, a movie is going to be fundamentally different from a comic and fans of the latter will be predisposed to not like choices necessary to create the former.

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