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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

On the fence for V for Vendetta

On the fence for V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta is posting good numbers in its first two weeks at the box office this spring. While not a record breaking run-away smash-hit, it seems like Vendetta will continue to draw those straggling comic book fans out of the woodwork and to the cinema. Prolonged interest in Vendetta might have something to do with the films last minute scandal. The comic book creator of V for Vendetta, Alan Moore, bad mouthed the Hollywood script in a New York Times interview. His griping seems to be over changes in his material.

At a time when comic books and graphic novels are becoming some of the most lucrative movies at the box office, (see Spider Man, Batman Begins, etc.) and comic book creators are given more control of their material, as in Sin City, one can understand why Mr. Moore might be taken aback by the prospect of losing control of his material. However, Andy and Larry Wachowski, the auteurs of The Matrix trilogy, should be considered capable hands for generating a script. After seeing the film however, one can see Moore’s point.

V for Vendetta, the movie, is a mostly satisfying experience. There are some awesome parts. There are many fine action sequences in the movie. The film editing by Martin Walsh is of note. Less dynamic moments are kept interesting through the editing. One particularly attractive sequence in the second scene of the movie is a series of cuts, back and forth between the two main characters V (Hugo Weaving) and Evey (Natalie Portman), which offers a nice gloss of Hitchcock’s famous first scene from Strangers on a Train. This astute editing keeps the movie engaging through some boring stints into dialogued based exposition. The best movies do not tell you, they show you.

Vendetta’s major problems are script based. Moral lectures from a masked man are quite arduous. In the third scene of the movie V prattles on for about five minutes using the letter “v” to alliterate. This abuse of alliteration will ruin the poetic tool for generations of poets to come. The script gets akward again with arbitrary references to Shakespeare. While this is supposed to say something of V’s character, placing him at odds with the militant censorship instituted by the regime he is fighting, it only helps to detract from the pure action based moments of the plot. These lackluster literature vignettes and an implausible melodramatic romance muddle the movie’s major themes.

Dictatorship, dishonest governments, police-states, and public apathy are the forces V battles. But V is not any typical superhero out for justice. He is a terrorist out for justice. He blows up buildings, straps bombs to his chest, he makes press broadcasts, and he takes hostages. This is the most interesting aspect of V for Vendetta. If V the anti-hero had been emphasized over V the lover of art and literature with a genteel British accent, the movie would have been edgier. With an “R” rating Vendetta could have dealt with its political allusions more intellectually instead of opting for blood, guts and a “PG” love story.