Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

V for Vendetta: A Love Story

Jerry Stratton, March 21, 2006

Well, I just got back from V for Vendetta. It was a decent enough action movie. It blew things up (although it could have blown up more), and I went through a large popcorn. Like any good high school drama the hero outcast convinced the rest of the school to march en masse before the credits rolled. But it came from a very good book and could have been a lot better. It definitely failed to live up to its potential, especially given the caliber of the actors.

If you haven’t done so yet, you really have to read the book. Other than that, I don’t have anything to say about the movie, just about movies in general. Does every fucking movie have to have a god damned love story? Is the movie industry so bereft of creativity that they can’t imagine a movie where two of the main characters don’t profess their love for each other by the end? I now think that Brokeback Mountain was not a groundbreaking movie, it was just a movie where the only main characters were guys, so the love story had to be them.

In this case it added nothing to the movie. It was poorly tacked on and trivialized what remained of author Alan Moore’s original story.

The government conspiracy was about as cliched as the love story. In this case, adding a conspiracy trivialized the rest of the story, which was about a country’s choices. Rather than a brilliantly-written diatribe against people for choosing bad government, the movie just glossed over that part and then added in a conspiracy that absolved the people because they’d been tricked. There were no tricks in the book: the people knew what they were choosing and they chose it because they wanted order. They were willing to trade their gay, black, and Pakistani neighbors for security. They didn’t realize how far the oppression would go and that oppression always crosses the tracks, but they were not tricked. That’s a big part of what the book was about.

The only purpose of adding that tiny little conspiracy subplot seemed to be to absolve the country of having chosen their current oppressors.

Other changes were good, bad, or whatever, but overall they take what was a unique book with serious questions and turn it into just another action movie with a high school-like twist. When the movie was postponed after the London subway bombs, I made a guess that what happened was that they kept all of the explosions and shit from the comic book, but removed all of the ambiguousness as well as all of the uncomfortable bits about people choosing a bad government, and reworked the ending into a happy one, thus making a movie in which the hero is a terrorist and terrorism is an unambiguously good thing.

It wasn’t quite that bad, but it’s basically what happened. Blow up buildings and the people will realize the wrongs of their government and flock to your support. Natalie Portman will kiss your mask. And the entire high school will realize how cool you really are.

  1. <- Dazed and Confused
  2. Singer Supermen ->