Went home to visit the folks today. As always, it’s fascinating and amusing to watch them enjoy Dad’s retirement and the vacations they have planned for the years to come.

I’ve been able to get Dad excited about different movies or TV shows lately. Last month I got him hooked on Firefly and Serenity. This time out he asked me if I wanted to go to the movies and see V For Vendetta with him. Heh. My Dad watching comic book based movies and looking forward to more, will wonders never cease.

So anyways, V For Vendetta.

It’s good in its own way, but quite a bit different from the original. I actually think if I hadn’t read the trade paperback last week I would’ve enjoyed it more. It was a solid effort, but some of the changes were much starker since the original was so fresh in my mind.

At its core, the theme of the movie is very different and that turns the whole thing a bit askew. The difficult question of “Fascism VS Anarchy” that permeates the original story becomes one of “Fascism VS Democracy”, which is a much easier choice and one with less bite. The characters and events are more staccato, passing quickly without enough time to really dig into their motivations or emotions. I wanted to go deeper into the grit and ugliness of it where they only gave us glimpses. Show me the corruption and ignorance in society instead of the oddly placed idealism of a docile people. Show me the horror of a culture waylaid by fear instead of rising up in perfect unity. It sounds odd to say, but I wanted the audience to be pushed into imagery and emotions they hadn’t expected and, in turn, learn from them. The movie unfortunately plays it safe.

The only scene that gets the time and grit it needs, luckily, is one of the most important parts – a letter narrated detailing the breakdown of a person’s life under the new government order. That whole scene flowed perfectly, in part I think, because it was a word-for-word reproduction of the same scene in the comic. I could feel real emotion welling up and was hoping the rest of the movie would sweep from there. But once that part was over, the rapid fire events continued and didn’t fully impact the way I hoped it would.

Reading that you’re probably thinking “Did he even like it? Is it good?”

Yes, it is good.
But it had the earmarks of something great and never quite reached that for me. It’s well worth watching, but not a full on geekgasm.

The Wachowski Brothers script used the framework of the original story created in 1988 to make a very clear statement about our current world in 2006 and the American government’s influence in creating a fascism driven culture of fear. It’s a worthy message and was delivered well overall, albeit sometimes hitting points with a sledgehammer where a good tap would do. The movie is sharp in its own way but is not thematically the same story that Alan Moore created. The more you’re able to separate the two from each other, the more you’ll enjoy the V For Vendetta movie.

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