Film Review: V for Vendetta (2005)

Release Date: December 11th, 2005 (Austin Butt-Numb-A-Thon)
Directed by: James McTeigue
Written by: The Wachowskis
Based on: V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, David Lloyd
Music by: Dario Marianelli
Cast: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, Stephen Fry, Rupert Graves

Anarchos Productions Inc., DC/Vertigo Comics, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Fünfte Babelsberg Film GmbH, Silver Pictures, Virtual Studios, Warner Bros., 132 Minutes

Review:

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” – V

While this is a film that kind of blew me away in early 2006, when it hit regular theaters, it doesn’t have quite the same effect on me now. Maybe it’s because I’m older and my views on the world have evolved, allowing me to see through the simplistic, good versus evil formula that this story employs.

It’s still a damn good movie and it’s hard not to pull for the heroes as they stick it to real fascism in an Orwellian type of world but its solutions to the problem aren’t really solutions and they’re kind of juvenile and reckless.

And honestly, is it really a film about smashing fascism or is it a film about a guy simply out for personal revenge and using his theatrics to inspire regular people to put themselves in danger in an effort to get him what he selfishly wants?

Either way you chop it up, it’s still an entertaining film that leaves the audience with a lot to ponder and for fans to discuss till the end of time. Hopefully, those can be rational discussions as we now live in a world where shitbirds want to burn everything down because, “ermahgerd ferscism ers baaahd!”

The film is perfectly acted and I’m saying that as one who rarely likes Natalie Portman. She is great in this and so is everyone else. Hugo Weaving is the real glue that holds it all together, though, and he was able to give the performance of a lifetime while fully obscured by a mask and a cloak.

Since it’s been so long since I’ve seen this, I forgot how much it deviated from the original story and after having recently read it, I’m not sure why, as the structure and story of the comic seemed more effective to me. Some of these alterations are major, like all the TV station stuff. I guess it makes sense for the film but it wasn’t necessary in the grander scheme of things and it makes me wish that this were more of a beat-for-beat adaptation like Watchmen mostly was.

This is a story that would probably work better as a television series. Granted, nowadays it’d be butchered and reworked into some sort of weird amalgamation of shit like the Watchmen TV series but the comic is paced in a way that would work better in an episodic format over ten or so episodes.

As a film, however, this mostly works. I feel like it succeeded at generating the emotion and weight that it needed but some things were left out and could have made it even more effective.

In the end, it’s still solid, looks great and it showcased incredible acting performances from its stars.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: the comic it’s based on, as well as all the Watchmen comics and film.

Comic Review: V for Vendetta – 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Published: November 20th, 2018
Written by: Alan Moore
Art by: David Lloyd

DC Comics, Vertigo, 397 Pages

Review:

While I had several singles issue of V for Vendetta, as a kid. I’ve never actually completed the run and I’ve never read the ten-part maxi-series in its entirety.

That is until now, and because Comixology recently had a sale on the 30th anniversary edition, which was pretty pricey for a digital comic before the sale.

Being a long-time fan of Alan Moore’s work, most specifically Watchmen, and a fan of the V for Vendetta film adaptation, reading this was long overdue.

For the most part, I was really impressed with the story in its original form. It was more fleshed out than the film, which I can now say was a really good adaptation of the source material despite having limited time to fit as much in as possible.

The comic, however, was able to convey things in a deeper way while also showing things that couldn’t have been used in the film due to the differences between the two mediums and major studio Hollywood’s tendency to self-censor.

I can’t say that I was blown away by David Lloyd’s art style but that’s also pretty subjective and it does fit the tone of the story well. It’s just not my general cup of tea and it came across as pretty subdued with muted colors and action that didn’t feel as dynamic as it could have been. Still, it works for the story and I don’t want to sound like I’m just shitting on it.

If you’ve seen the film but never read the comic, the plot is basically the same. There’s just a little more meat and potatoes with the comic.

While many comics that have been labeled as “masterpieces” don’t live up to the historical hype, I’d say that V for Vendetta does. It’s a long read, packed with almost too much dialogue but it’s certainly not boring and it has solid pacing where every scene feels necessary.

Frankly, it truly is one of Alan Moore’s best.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: Alan Moore’s Watchmen, as well as his more political work.