V for Vendetta Review

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markabaddon
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V for Vendetta Review

Postby markabaddon » Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:27 pm

V for Vendetta Warner Brothers, Rated R

I had forgotten how powerful art can be. An artist, using whatever medium he/she prefers, can show people not just the way things could have been, but provide a description of what we could become. It is for this very reason that oppressive regimes have always first tried to silence or co-opt the dreamers and visionaries whenever they come to power. V for Vendetta is a movie about such a world, and about the power of ideas to fight that oppression.

Equal parts The Count of Monte Cristo (which is referenced heavily), The Phantom of the Opera (the novel, not the musical) and Orwell’s 1984, V brings the viewer into a world paralyzed by fear. England was the victim of a series of terrorist attacks using biological weapons, and their government responded by curtailing most freedoms. Muslims are especially targeted and the punishment of one character is increased dramatically when it is discovered he possessed a copy of the Koran.

In this society, what started out as protection against a terrorist threat quickly mushroomed into something darker. The former Prime Minister is given a new title of Head Chancellor and swiftly moves to consolidate his power. All television stations but one are eliminated, with the one station being run by the government. Curfews are established to keep people off the streets, in the name of security, with secret enforcers used to enforce obedience. Homosexuals are rounded up and sent to detention facilities, as are writers and artists as they are viewed as disloyal to the government.

Into this madness steps V, an enigmatic figure always covered in a Guy Fawkes mask, played by Hugo Weaving. He initially rescues Evie, played by Natalie Portman, from some enforcers when she is caught out after curfew. V brings her to watch his first act of open rebellion, as he blows up a building in London, which had a symbol of justice on top.

As the film unfolds, you slowly discover more about the background of both V and Evie. They have a shared history and that history is also intertwined with that of the High Chancellor, played by John Hurt (who seemed to be channeling Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine in some scenes).

The final scene of the film feature thousands upon thousands of people dressed in the same mask and cape as V descending on the British Parliament. There is an aerial shot of this scene at one point and it looks like a swarm of ants overtaking a large animal and that is an apt analogy for this movie. V says at one point” People should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people.” This scene perfectly demonstrates that point. We, as citizens, have the power, and if enough people choose to exercise that power then no government can stand against it.

I understand that conservatives have already begun to speak out against the movie, saying that it is an attack on the current administration. These people fail to realize that this film is based on a graphic novel that was published back in the mid-80s and was originally a commentary on Margaret Thatcher’s administration in England. However, what was a concern then is even more relevant today. Our own administration uses some of the same techniques as the one in V for Vendetta and that makes me, and many others, extremely nervous.

I began this review by describing the power of art in showing us what we could become. If enough people see this film, and understand its message, perhaps we will not go down the road towards a society similar to one shown in this film. If not, then decades from now this film may be viewed as a kind of prophecy.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:12 pm

I have become an anti-cgi elitist, as of late. I just avoid these movies, or until they play on teevee. The spate of bad horror films proves my point.

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David Loftus
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Re: V for Vendetta Review

Postby David Loftus » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:57 am

markabaddon wrote:I understand that conservatives have already begun to speak out against the movie, saying that it is an attack on the current administration.



Ohh, they think EVERYTHING is about them.

Then again . . . why not?
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Mon Mar 20, 2006 2:17 pm

THAT'S Guy Fawks? Funny, he looks a bit Spanish to me. . .

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markabaddon
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Guy Fawkes

Postby markabaddon » Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:11 pm

You thought he was Spanish? With that nose, I could have sworn he was Jewish :D (Last name is Goldberg, I am allowed to make those jokes)

Frank, the CGI in this movie is used sparingly, and done to enhance the plot rather than a focus of the story, as was the case in Star Wars. The movie definitely is one that will make you think, I would encourage you to check it out.

David, the reason the administration thinks everything is about them is because they control the 3 branches of the most powerful nation on earth. Harlan talked about this in "Repent Harlequin". When someone is at the very top, every vibration that could knock them from that perch makes them take notice. And there is a whole lot of knocking going on at the White House right now.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Mon Apr 17, 2006 11:47 am

I finally got to see it this weekend. I thought it was very fine. As our local reviewer said, it just misses greatness. I don't know why Alan Moore thought he had to remove his name from the project -- I didn't see that he had anything significant to complain about. Does anybody know what got him irritated?

It was a little unnerving for me, watching a movie that repeatedly insists "there are no coincidences," to hear Macbeth (in which I have just been cast) quoted, and Oppenheimer (a play about whom I was just finishing a 19-show run) referenced. I imagine more than 90 percent of the audience that saw "V for Vendetta" didn't get the reference or missed it entirely.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Apr 17, 2006 6:39 pm

You guys should go to Rotten Tomatoes. I have never seen a tomatometer as low as the last batch of bad films. We have a record in the amount of dreck that is being released.

rich

Postby rich » Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:53 pm

David Loftus wrote:I finally got to see it this weekend. I thought it was very fine. As our local reviewer said, it just misses greatness. I don't know why Alan Moore thought he had to remove his name from the project -- I didn't see that he had anything significant to complain about. Does anybody know what got him irritated?


I agree with your local reviewer. I actually never liked the subplot in the graphic novel with the wife of the Eye (can't remember anyone's name and I'm too lazy to go look for the graphic novel), and I'm kinda glad they removed it from the film, and tightened it up a bit. The thing with the television host was nicely done, removing yet another subplot concerning drug dealers and the like.

So why wasn't it great? It's been a few weeks since I've seen it, but I remember thinking that the ending was too 'Hollywood', if that makes any sense. I mean, I know what they were aiming for, but, unlike markabaddon, I felt it was too heavy-handed a way to end a smart movie.

Oh, and I just remembered another reason why I didn't think it was "greatness". SPOILERS FOLLOW SKIP THESE NEXT FEW SENTENCES. The thing with the government releasing a plague on it's own populace. I didn't think that needed to be in the movie as it's already been shown that the government may not have the actual interests of its citizens at heart. Personally, I think it was an exclamation point that wasn't necessarily needed.
END OF SPOILERS

As far as Moore not wanting to have his name in the credits, that's just 'cause Moore was pissed off that they used his name in a marketing campaign before anything was actually written. I think this was at least a couple years ago. Moore stayed mad when the producers wouldn't make a public apology.

Which is a shame 'cause I think Moore possibly could've provided input that would've tipped the flick into "greatness".

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David Loftus
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Re: V for Vendetta Review

Postby David Loftus » Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:52 pm

markabaddon wrote:As the film unfolds, you slowly discover more about the background of both V and Evie. They have a shared history and that history is also intertwined with that of the High Chancellor, played by John Hurt (who seemed to be channeling Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine in some scenes).



I didn't make that connection. There are so many screen tyrants of which one might be reminded. What's nice about Hurt's Chancellor is that he so rarely seems out of control, or that unreasonable.

There's also an ironic feeling about watching him and remembering his poignant performance as Winston Smith, a guy who gets worked over by a totalitarian regime in a similar manner to that employed on Evie in this story.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus


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