V for Vendetta (2006)

For my birthday, I received a copy of the graphic novel ‘V for Vendetta‘.  It’s been on my radar for quite some time, but I just wasn’t sure what to make of it.  Despite a love of comics, superheroes, graphic novels, sci-fi & fantasy, this one was new to me (relatively speaking) and I was cautious in my expectations.  Nevertheless, it got such a nice review by the Girl Detective that I figured it was worth a shot.

Of course, I’m also pretty thrifty and never got around to buying it.  I might’ve borrowed it from the library, but I’ve been pretty busy — which is why it coming as a birthday gift place it in the right place at the right time.  Over the course of a few days I devoured it —  and what a nice treat it was!  It was certainly not the typical saccharine fare I associate with more mainstream comics, but then what I think of as mainstream probably isn’t the mainstream any more.  And, while I enjoy a happy ending as much as the average Hollywood exec hopes that I do, I found the well-balanced darkness embedded in the story to be refreshing.

I found myself continually impressed with the writing and story arc.  There was a great deal of creativity, which is what has always drawn me to the genre (comics/sci-fi/fantasy), in addition to a smattering of well-quoted literature.  And I find it especially impressive how well the author integrated the ‘V’ theme throughout.

But this is not intended to be a review of the graphic novel.  Or, perhaps, it is a review of both the GN and the film.  I just returned to Netflix after a 5- or 6-year hiatus and thought, given the timing, that it would be nice to start off with ‘V for Vendetta’ (especially since I’m currently sans-wife…  I wasn’t sure what she’d think of it).  Boy was that a fun movie!  I went into it extremely skeptical and came out perfectly happy.  The acting was quite good (I was especially impressed with John Hurt‘s rabid performance of Sutler) and while the story didn’t follow the original to the letter it held enough of the right intent and spirit that I felt satisfied.  There were some choices I questioned and a part or two I was sad to find absent but, on the whole, it did what it was intended to do and without a wasted portion.  Purists will, no doubt, question any deviation from the original but I think I can understand the need to a) make it fit the correct time frame, b) bring it in line with the current era (technology, for instance), and c) for a director to place his/her own personal touch on the finished product.

Also, in retrospect, I’m pretty sure my wife would enjoy the film — probably not as much as I, but she’d enjoy it nonetheless.  If you like your superhero movies (and I use that term very loosely here) dark and brooding, give this one a shot!

Now I’ve got to figure out where next to turn my attentions…  there’s such a large world of graphic novels out there!  Perhaps some more Queen & Country?  I’m curious how the upcoming Whiteout will turn out (go, go, go Kate Beckinsale!) — that was a fun read and might very well make a good film.  Here’s to hoping!

ADDED LATER: The Alaskan Librarian just reviewed the GN and made some good points that I had missed by consuming the GN followed by the book (he viewed the film followed by the book).  Namely, the GN fleshed out some important details that do make the story flow better — I, of course, took these for granted since they were fresh in my mind.  On its own, the movie might leave you wondering just how he knew so much about his victims (there was a lot implied, but very little explained) and where things would go after a lot of stuff gets blown up (don’t want to spoil to much!)  😉   Anyhow, it’s probably not a bad idea to consume both book and film to fill in those gaps.

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