Let's not judge the chickens before they hatch
Posted by aogTuesday, 16 August 2005 at 21:16 TrackBack Ping URL

Junkyard Blog has posted about a spate of Hollywood produced movies that concern WWIV. While I would agree that most of the list sounds just like the talking points of the moonbat left, I have to disagree about V for Vendetta, which is based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore from the 1980s. That is because it’s really an anti-Thatcher diatribe that has little to nothing to do with the USA (although it does partake heavily of the CND / moral equivalence nonsense of the time). It’s a post-apocalyptic dystopia in England, which makes it just a bit of a stretch as an anti-Bush polemic. I would be easily persuaded, however, that the producers may not be aware of that or incapable of understanding it.

SPOILER WARNING

The quoted write up:

From Warner Brothers and the creators of “The Matrix” comes this film about a futuristic Great Britain that’s become a ‘fascist state.’ A masked ‘freedom fighter’ named V uses terror tactics (including bombing the London Underground) to undermine the government - leading to a climax in which the British Parliament is blown up. Natalie Portman stars as a skinhead who turns to ‘the revolution’ after doing time as a Guantanamo-style prisoner.

gets a number of major plot points completely wrong.

  • The Parliment building is blown up at the start of the book, not at the end. Moreover, it’s just an empty building, Parliment itself having long since been disbanded. There is in fact a major building blown up at the climax, but that isn’t done by V, the main character, but his assistant. Moreover, while the bomb goes off in the London Underground, it is an Underground that, like Parliment, has long since stopped having people in it.
  • The prison in which V spends time isn’t modeled on Guantanamo (how could it be, since the book was written in the 80s?). It’s obviously modeled directly on the Nazi death camps, including medical experiments on the prisoners.
  • Portman’s character (presumably “Evey”) is never really in a camp, but in a simulation created by V, modeled on his experience (which in turn is straight out of a Nazi death camp, not Guantanamo).
  • I would argue that V is, in fact, a freedom fighter and not a terrorist.
    • V attacks the Norsefire leadership and its assets directly.
    • V not only doesn’t attack civilians, he rescues them from the clutches of the fascists multiple times.
    • V never engages in random or senseless violence. He kills members of the leadership in very … apropos ways that parallel how those leaders have dealt with others. The story goes to some lengths to demonstrate just how deserving V’s victims are of their fates, which makes V seem much more like the instrument of an angry God than a terrorist. In fact, V lets himself get killed rather than kill the one member of the leadership who isn’t complete scum, although it is also partly because V sees himself as tainted by his actions and not deserving of entering the “promised land” he has worked to bring about.

Now, it’s quite possible that Hollywood has discarded all these keys plot points and rewritten the story as described above (the notion of Evey as a skinhead is certainly radically different from the book1). I think we should wait to see what the movie’s actually like before judging it as the base story is a whole lot better than the standard Hollywood dreck.

P.S. The funniest part of the whole book is the intro, in which Moore writes about how he is considering leaving Britian because Thatcher has been in power too long, busily turning Britian in to a fascist state. I wonder if he did and is now caught in the nightmare of the Chimpy McHitler police state. Where could he go, the Britian of the nu-fascist Blair or the prison camp of Australia under Howard and his Right Wing Death Beasts? Oh, the tortures visited on the sensitive souls of artists!


1 That could just be from the fact that Evey gets her head shaved while in the “camp”, making her look like a skinhead. A Hollywood type mistaking appearance for reality wouldn’t be news.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Jay Wednesday, 17 August 2005 at 13:26

I believe that is exactly how the “skinhead” misconception came about. Someone saw the shaved head and made a leap of superhuman size to a conclusion.

aog Wednesday, 17 August 2005 at 14:34

I went ahead and re-read it last night, as I got hooked again while verifying some points in the post. Definitely a well told story, even if I have some strong disagreement with the underlying politics / philosophy. I did get more concerned because I just can’t believe Hollywood will be able to understand, much less handle, much of the nuance that makes the story.

It reminds me of the degeneration of The Matrix. One reviewer pointed out, very insightfully, that in the first movie all of the battle scenes are important if not critical to the plot. Neo learns or achieves something important every time. This is lost in the subsequent movies where the violence is just violence, put in as eye candy. The violence in V for Vendetta is like the former, it is part of both the structure of the story and V’s plan. It would be very easy to throw in a lot more fighting and explosions and lose that link.

aog Wednesday, 17 August 2005 at 14:35

P.S. I moved your comment and adjusted the formatting to make the comment / post association clearer. It’s been a problem but I don’t get enough comments to have made it a big deal yet. But best mended, soonest mended.

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