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Films - John C. Kirk

Mar. 30th, 2006

12:37 am - Films

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I've just been to the cinema to watch V for Vendetta, which I thought was very good. I've read the TPB a few times (although not in the last couple of years), so I had some initial doubts after Alan Moore had done so much to distance himself from it. I'd say that the film and the comic are similar but distinct, and they are both good. It's not like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where the film was just a popcorn muncher - this film was a lot more cerebral. (They get points for just having a brief title on the screen for a couple of seconds, and not having a cast list flashing up for 5 minutes.) There was one scene early on that seemed a bit contrived, but I don't remember what it was now, and I certainly didn't sit there thinking "this is all wrong".

In a way, it's a bit like the Ultimate universe that Marvel have been running recently, where some writers use your expectations to trip you up. ("Aha, you just assumed that X is a good guy, but actually they're a bad guy!") In this context, that meant that I watched the film thinking "Ok, I know how this turned out in the comic, but this story isn't necessarily going to go the same way", so that gave it a bit more suspense. And speaking of analogies to comics, the discussions of symbols reminded me of Scott McCloud's graphic novel The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln; well worth reading.

As for the casting, I have to say that I was impressed by Natalie Portman - she's a far better actress than you'd think, if you've only seen her in the Star Wars films.

The film also included the concept of anarchy. Although I'm not an expert on philosophy, this strikes me as one of those concepts that lots of people refer to without actually knowing what it means. (Or at the very least, it has been severely distorted from its original meaning, much like the word "decimated".) As I understand it, this comes from the Ancient Greek αν αρχος, meaning "no leader"; it doesn't mean "no rules" (that would presumably be "alogy" or something similar). For instance, Usenet has often been referred to as a self-regulating anarchy. The idea is that rather than having a central authority that keeps everyone else in line, people monitor each other; this has its pros and cons, but it doesn't justify people throwing bins through the window of the nearest branch of McDonalds. And tying in with comics again, this page (part of an interview with Alan Grant), has the character Anarky explaining the differences between Plato and Aristotle to a dog.

On a vaguely related note, following bazzalisk's and gaspodog's example, I thought this was quite a well done quiz (as these things go):






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Created by Bart King

Comments:

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From:billyabbott
Date:March 30th, 2006 05:45 am (UTC)
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I always try and separate the source material and the films they make from it - much as I enjoy being a fanboy and picking them to pieces, I like watching good films more than that :) Different media, different ideas and methods.

I was rather surprised that this was as close to the book as it was, especially in the happy environment that is Hollywood - some film student friends of mine asked me in solemn tones a little while back "What did you think?", which I tentatively said "I thought it was great", waiting for the inevitable "artistic integrity" backlash...they bounced up and down, praised it and generally said "we were surprised Hollywood allowed the ending".
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From:pozorvlak
Date:March 30th, 2006 11:22 am (UTC)

Surprised Hollywood allowed the ending?

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Um? The good guys win, with a high likelihood that everything will turn out OK. Compare the ending of the book, where things can go either way, will certainly be ugly and chaotic for a while, and there's a good chance that another dictator will arise.
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From:billyabbott
Date:March 30th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Surprised Hollywood allowed the ending?

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More what happens to V. While things have move on from the days of Bonnie and Clyde, that sort of ending is not that popular - the good guys are good guys and they walk away at the end...normally with the leading couple arm in arm.
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From:pozorvlak
Date:March 30th, 2006 11:34 am (UTC)
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The word for "no laws" ought to be "anomy" (νομος = law), but that seems to mean something slightly different: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=anomy
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