V For Vendetta

Some quick hitter thoughts on V For Vendetta, which I checked out last night. SPOILERS AHOY!!

Completely unrelated to the film itself, I now see why my cheap ass company uses Loews as their preferred theater of choice when giving away movie passes. Comfort and quality don’t appear to be part of the Loews’ corporate mission. On the plus side, the hiring of narcoleptic octogenarians to run the ticket booth allowed me to use my Get In Free pass despite the fact that the film in question was still within the restricted “10 days of release”. So it wasn’t all bad.

I give the movie a seven, maybe a seven-and-a-half if I was into giving out such fractions, which I’m not. I was thoroughly entertained and actually forced/allowed/coerced into thinking for myself once or twice, so as a piece of would-be propaganda, it did it’s job. I certainly enjoyed it more than filmbrat, who was extremely disappointed. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. Her reaction kind of scared me. I’ve never seen anyone have such a violent reaction to a film’s editing prowess, but she was ready blow up more than Parliament when it was all said and done. Of course, most of her points were valid, but for whatever reason I wasn’t nearly as bothered by them at the time as she was.

In her defense, the narrative was pretty weak. They did a horrible job establishing time and location, as we were never really hipped to what year the film took place (unless it was casually dropped by some character early on and I missed it), and whenever time passed, or worse – jumped around – they made no effort to let us know. About all I could say in their defense was that since we knew it was to climax on a date exactly one year from it’s beginning, guessing the passage of time wasn’t impossible. Still, a little chyron would have helped, boys.

Natalie Portman was okay. She’s cute, even without hair, so as a red-blooded American male, I was willing to put up with a bit more of her faux emotion than others might. The compression of such an epic story into a two hour film resulted in the usual forced emotional arc that we’ve come to expect from these types of films. I’ve certainly seen worse examples.

One thing I could have *definitely* done without was all the overt Nazi symbolism. For one, it just smacks of a lack of creativity that whenever a piece of fiction needs to create a paranoid megalomaniac, they have to swath him in red and black and invent some sort of insignia that oh-so-closely resembles a swastika. Given the place Nazi Germany currently holds in world history, I’d like to assume most would-be dictators would choose a motif that was a little less obvious. The concentration camp-like scenes were also a bit much. I wasn’t offended, mind you, I just found it to be *too* blatant a comparison. If you really want to scare me, drum up your horror from something that resembles modern day life. Paying homage to evil of yesteryear only serves to distance people from today’s current troubles, and we have enough of them to form an effective wake-up call, assuming that’s what your after.

That being said, I enjoyed the story quite a bit. I’m sure the graphic novel has a lot more to offer, and in that regard, author Alan Moore should be happy to have his name associated with the film because it serves as a nice commercial for his work. Nobody really expects it to be portrayed on film as well as in it’s original form (seriously, how often is a film better than it’s source material?), so there’s no real need to get uppity. I may track down a copy of the graphic novel (or wait til defcon_1 does).

The climactic fight scene was pretty badass, with the visual trails from the daggers adding a nice Matrix effect to the proceedings. Slow motion blood spewage was also cool. Ditto the dude landing on his head, which made my pro-wrestling loving heart squeal with delight. Having watched X2 the night before, complete with it’s awful opening fight sequence where it looked like Alan Cumming wasn’t actually hitting anybody, I was quite please with the combat on display in V. The blowing up of Parliament was fun too

So on the overall, it was a fun night of escapism, cloaked with a touch of political shenanigans. I really liked the look and feel of the film, and the acting for the most part was serviceable. (Stephen Rea was excellent). They could have done a better job setting up their world, and keeping us in the loop on some things, but I still felt like I got the story they were trying to tell. So by all means, check it out.

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