As I’ve mentioned once or twice, the Alan Moore/David Lloyd Graphic Novel V for Vendetta made a big impact on me when I first read it, and it’s stayed with me ever since.
It’s a tale of a future where the UK has become a fascist state (no comments please), and of an anonymous provocateur who styles himself after Guy Fawkes. The book tackles issues of democracy and totalitarianism, the individual’s right to rebel against the state, the ambiguous line between terrorism and protest… all sorts of things. It’s an intellectual book, but also one with great wit and style, and a peculiarly British air about it, aided by David Lloyd’s very particular art style.
The Wachowski Brothers of The Matrix fame are now making a film of this graphic novel, and so it’s natural to feel a certain amount of trepidation; after all the graphic novel is prickly, smart and British, and the Matrix is arguably none of the above.
Another mark in the Negatives column is author Alan Moore publically distancing himself from the project to the extent of having his name taken off it. Indeed after producer Joel Silver falsely claimed he’d endorsed the movie, Alan Moore has now severed all ties with DC Comics. It’s far from simple, however, and the complex ins and outs of this are neatly summarised here. It’s fair to say that Moore’s experiences on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell adaptations played a significant part in his feelings. The adaptation of his Watchmen graphic novel has also gone back into production hell.
Lastly in the negatives column is a ferociously negative script review from a random fan published on the always reliable (sic) Ain’t It Cool News.
In the Positives column are the rather nice photographs emerging from the shoot, including the promising poster shown here.
The movie stars Hugo Weaving, a man not known for his understated acting, and Natalie Portman, fresh from the largely acting-free Star Wars prequels, but both have done good work in various places so I’m not unhappy with that casting.
And now Joe Straczynski of B5 and Jeremiah fame (or more relevant, the author of the splendid Midnight Nation and Supreme Power comics) has entered the mix with an equally ferociously positive script review, including this passage:
“I think it’s one of the smartest, sharpest, insightful and well-crafted scripts I’ve ever read. It’s emotional, evocative, heart-rending, biting, sharp, relentless and just plain garden variety powerful. It’s not just a good film, it’s an *important* film, and there’s a great deal of subtlety and nuance in it that was clearly lost on the idiot that read the script so he could make fun of it and stir the pot… As someone who’s not just written over two hundred produced scripts and read hundreds more, someone who is a fan of Alan’s work, I’m telling you straight-up, with absolutely no agenda: the ‘V for Vendetta’ script is a work of freaking genius.”
Which is *cough* just slightly hyperbolic in jms’s inimitable style, but still somewhat heartening, especially as the dialogue which the AICN reviewer ridiculed did sound like a spot-on pastiche of the comic to me. But what do I know?
So overall I’m still feeling a lot of trepidation, but also approaching the movie with a reasonable helping of cautious optimisim. Time will tell….