Saturday, March 18, 2006

V for VeryBadetta

For some reason I'm in some studio's press invite list and I get free press passes to movies all the time, although most of the times I don't have the time to actually get down to the theatre.

But I had some time recently and went to see V for Vendetta as I am sort of a "comic books in the movies" kind of fan.

Guy Fawkes MaskV for Vendetta was mostly a sleeper for me, as it borrows heavily from too many sources as diverse as Orwell, Batman and even Scary Movie.

For starters, at 132 minutes, the movie is too long.

For midlins, the whole masked hero versus the big bad neo-Nazi government goons is such a tired theme.

For endings, the whole Guy Fawkes tie-in was interesting, but the unfortunate resemblance of Guy Fawkes' masks to Jack Nicholson's Joker in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman sort of screwed it up for me (and it also sort of brought back into my mind the silly mask from Scary Movie).Nicholson as the Joker

In this film, they even use the "Why won't you die?" exasperated question that the Joker yells at Batman in the 1989 Batman movie in a very similar context, when the government's police has fired like a million shots at the hero and he's still kicking their ass using nothing but knives and karate kicks.
So essentially in a virusy, terroristic future world (25 years or so into the future) where America is in a Civil War (Red vs Blue I guess), England has been taken over by a neo-Nazi Tory dictatorship with a Chancellor who now rules through fear, a police state and large screen TVs; beer and booze seem to be plentiful, although apparently real butter is very hard to get.

That was hard to swallow for me. I lived in the UK for three years, and the Brits use a ton of butter on everything - imagine a sandwich with a quarter inch of butter on each piece of white bread, and a few slices of cucumbers in between, and you've got one of the prime British dishes on the planet.

A butterless England is impossible to imagine, no matter how sciencefictionish my mind gets.

In any event, our hero (known as V) rescues Queen Amidala from government goons who are about to molest her. V is (I think) some sort of genetic superman created in a government lab, and he is seeking revenge against his creators and also to bring down the English dictatorship by arousing the anger and fire of the English people.


Anyway, after he rescues her, he blows up a major London landmark to Russian music, takes over a TV station and runs his DVD infommercial on the air (I guess they still have DVDs 25 years into the future) telling Londoners that he'll blow up the Parliament building in a year, rescues Amidala from the goons a second time, then tortures her to teach her some sort of lesson about losing fear, and in the process incites an almost bloodless rebellion by thousands of Londoners dressed in the Guy Fawkes outfit that he has FEDEX'd to all of them a few days ahead of the one-year deadline for the rebellion.

The best visual part in the movie is when Padmé is in V's secret hideout, which is full of art treasures which he has "rescued" from the government's banned artwork list. I picked up a Turner landscape, a Vermeer painting, some Greek antiquities and generally pictorial, ah... traditional masters' work. Seems like V passed on attempting to rescue any of the YBA's work, as I didn't see any Emins or Hirsts in his hoard (unless the bed where Natalie Portman sleeps in while she's at V's pad was Emin's "art" bed).

Wait for the video.

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