Monday, March 20, 2006

Vendetta, Visitor, and Victory

I saw V for Vendetta over the weekend. For a letter grade, I would give it a C-minus. There are some holes in the plot, but that can be forgiven. The main problem is that it is predictable and a little boring. The references to current political issues are tiresome.

The basic plot is that of a horribly disfigured man is befriended by a beautiful young woman. He wears a mask and resides beneath the streets of London. We have seen this theme before in everything from Beauty and the Beast to Phantom of the Opera. One unintentionally funny aspect of the whole mask thing is that the actor, Hugo Weaving, is forced to over-act with his gestures to compensate for the lack of facial expressions. It is like the animatronics in the Hall of Presidents at Disneyland. He slowly and unnaturally gestures just to prove that he can.

Like Leonard Maltin, I want to use this film as a springboard to discuss similar films from the past. The graphic novel was written throughout the 1980s, so it is unclear whether this story predates the NBC miniseries V. The 1983 miniseries was the story of the French resistance with aliens taking the place of Nazis. One obvious similarity is the letter "V" spraypainted in red to resist a totalitarian regime. Viewers will also notice similarities between the miniseries and Independence Day, including alien ships hovering over major cities in sync with a countdown. More on the miniseries here and here.

Another aspect of V for Vendetta is the protagonist planning a spectacular finish to spur on a movement -- bombing Parliament on November 5. This is reminiscent of the Frank Capra classic, Meet John Doe. The John Doe character plans to jump off the roof of City Hall on Christmas Eve to protest societal problems. Hundreds of "John Doe Clubs" spring up around the country until it is found that the initial newspaper story was a hoax. The hobo who was recruited to play John Doe sincerely believes in the movement and considers actually jumping off the City Hall roof to redeem himself.

Meet John Doe was updated when John Ritter played the lead in Hero at Large. The 1980 film continues the pattern of hoax, sincerity, and redemption shown in the Capra film.

As Leonard Maltin would say, rent one of these other films instead of seeing V for Vendetta.

UPDATE (3/21) Marty Andrade has a review here.


Blogger Derek Jensen said...

natalie portman is a vixen

March 20, 2006 10:19 PM  

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