Untimely Reviews – V for Vendetta

Ever read a book then see the movie but think the book was better? Not me. If I know a movie is coming I won't spoil it by reading the book first. In the case of "V for Vendetta" however, I made a point of spoiling this movie.

"V for Vendetta" the movie is based on a graphic novel written by graphic novel legend Alan Moore. The book was written in the early 1980s about events that take place in the late 1990s. Talk about untimely!

V for Vendetta
Alan Moore

Here in the mid 2000s, many of the themes of the book are outdated. We little fear nuclear war. Terrorism is now viewed as abhorrent under any circumstances. Men are not as sexist.

The real meat of the book, however, is in its larger themes of government oppression and the courage to stand up to it. There is one particular event in this book that is as surprising as it is powerful. This one story within the story really defines the book and the entire read, sexist and all, is worth it for this one mind blowing moment.

The movie keeps the defining jewel of the book, but diverges poorly from the rest. Changes must be made. The future is not 1997 and technology has advanced. I can accept that. The book has a parade of scheming characters whose convoluted machinations could not be told in 2 hours. I can accept that too. Mysogeny is generally looked down upon in the 2000s. I applaud that. But, nuclear war has been replaced by a virus? Lame. Worse are the parts of the movie where the characters literally read through the plot. This isn't a book on tape; either show it or lose it. Things go downhill fast after an hour and fifteen minutes into the movie. As I said, the crowning jewel of the book remains virtually intact. See this movie just for that, then fast forward to the grand finale.

I am glad that I read the book first. Not because I necessarily prefer the book to the movie, which I do as all readers must. Quite the contrary, having seen the movie and its up to date vision of the dystopian future of England, I might have found the book to be out of date, out of touch, and generally sullied by its misconceived future and its author's treatment of female characters.

I also recommend another landmark graphic novel by Alan Moore, "The Watchmen". Some day it may also become a movie. Expect more threat of nuclear war and other things so tres 80s. Also expect a fairer treatment of women and an escoriating attack on machismo. After enough two star movies, it is refereshing to find a dense story with subtleties that unravel only upon long reflections. It surely beats the heck out of the "Clone Saga."

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