Sunday, March 19, 2006

Possible V For Vendetta spoilers

Because I like to think I can listen to others I decided to check wiki for a synopsis and whatnot about the V For Vendetta adaptation. I’m glad I did as it’s confirmed my desire to not watch the film. Plotwise it’s incredibly disappointing to see what’s been taken out - such as inspector Finch’s attempt to ‘become’ V, which means he doesn’t get to have the same finale with V. The manner in which Evey and V part company (does that mean no ‘Land of do as you please’?), how she spends her time away from V and more importantly the way in which she is originally captured - not to mention the changes to her introduction; all different, all worse. The subplot about the wife of one of V’s victims appears to have been left out, which provided a great deal of depth to the story as well as some incredibly powerful scenes. Finch’s younger partner is eather gone or his role is greatly reduced which means that the parallels with V and Evey’s initial meeting are lost at the end. And V’s speech when he captures the TV station is criminally gone! No doubt Americans wouldn’t have liked the religious content.
Making it explicit that V is the man in room 5 eliminates the possibility that V could be Valerie (at least thatValerie was left in, I can only hope it’s as emotionally draining as the original - do we still see V watching her films and his reaction I wonder) - also the notion that V is scarred by burns from his escape undermines the reasons for wearing a mask.
Reducing Fate’s role in the story means we don’t get the reveal of how V is so able to plan as well as he does, which means Susan/Suter doesn’t get to react to it which dramatically reduces his character - I’m guessing he doesn’t go through the same drastic but inevitable character change he did in the comic.
All plot changes are for the worse and are designed to ‘streamline’ but what’s intended as streamlining comes across as pat and weak, and the cutting out of characters and subplots leads to disjointed storytelling which comes across even in the synopsis - it’s also telling that the things considered unimportant enough to edit out are things that gave V For Vendetta emotional depth and texture.
It’s easy to complain and list all these changes but the big horrible change seems to be in the philosophy of the story, V is no longer such a proponent of anarchy (so I suppose the brilliant scene of V’s conversation with Lady Justice is gone) out to wreck the forces of fascism, he’s now a sort of liberal freedom fighter. Yeah, it keeps a lot of the themes but in typical Hollywood style reduces and simplifies them, which for me takes it even further away from what made the comic so special.
It’s also pretty sad that V For Vendetta looks just like any big film, the comic had such a unique look, couldn’t a bit more thought have been put into the visual stylings.
Maybe if I had never read the comic, maybe if I hadn’t read it at such an impressionable age, maybe if it hadn’t been so brilliant, maybe then I would’ve been able to enjoy the film, but that might have been all I’d done, enjoy it , and that’s the problem, the film of V will be forgotten by many, that seems to be the fate of many big films nowadays, but V the comic is one of the most memorable ever written.
One bizarre postscript that I’ve not seen much about is regarding the novelisation of the film. The V book is written by none other than Steve (no relation) Moore, long time friend of Alan Moore. Considering Alan Moore’s opinion of the V film this seems more than a little odd, is the book an attempt by a friend to readdress the damage the film has done, has Hollywood tried to get one Moore and settled for another, or worse are they unaware of the difference? Weird.


kelvingreen said...

To be fair, the film is pretty intellectually honest and faithful to the book, even if some plot details have been dropped or changed.

They've diluted V a bit by, as you say, adding an aspect of the revolutionary freedom fighter to him. But the good news is that they've done a terrible job of tying that into the character as a whole, so it's easily ignored. They've not given V a makeover, they've just added some unnecessary baggage.

I really didn't think it was too bad as an adaptation. It's not as subtle or ambiguous as the book, but it could have been so very much worse. This'll do as a film.

In some places, they even improved on the book, I thought. For example, V is actually quite scary in the film, and that's not something that comes across in te book.

paulhd said...

If I'm being honest I'd have to admit that the film would have to be incredibly faithful to the comic for me to see it. Generally I'm not like that about comic adaptations, but it's Moore, and he's done some much for the medium yet had such a raw deal that it bugs me far more than it should do.
Ambiguity and subtlety are key to Moore's work and it does seem it's the first thing thrown out when the adaptations are made. Funnily enough as a kid I found V very scary, as I got older he became quite an attractive figure as I became older still he got scary again.
Anyway, I am glad that the film is better the previous Moore adaptations and hope that people will go out and buy the comic after they've seen it.

Danny said...

I read V once, a long time ago, and I loved it, but I don't have the recall for detail. I kind of had high hopes for the movie, which are pretty much always misplaced (like thinking 'wow I bet Michelangelo's David would be just as good carved by someone else out of soap'). So I'll add it to the 'rent-it' list...

kelvingreen said...

My father-in-law took me and the missus to see it, so I saw it essentially for free. It's certainly worth a rental, but depending on how extortionate your local picture house is, you may want to reconsider a cinema visit.

It's certainly not as good as the book, but it's a good film version, I reckon.

paulhd said...

Think you've hit the nail on the head for me Danny. I used to quite like seeing the way things were adapted for other media, now I don't get the point.
Does this mean I won't be seeing the film version of The Presige though? Hmmmm, dunno.
I guess I would like to see more original films really, and on that note I'm really looking forward to The Fountain.