V for Vindictive
The Wachowski Brothers’ fear and loathing of the Bush Administration, or, Neo regresses.
Alex—thanks much for reading and for your response.
I appreciate that V4V is not really an adaptation of Count of Monte Cristo—that sentence was a bit of a stretch—but the plot and thematic similarities are still present, of course, and it’s entirely possible that CMC is background for both the film and the comic book. However, that is a single sentence in the beginning of my article and nowhere near being the main point.
I agree also, of course, that Alan Moore’s comic is the primary context for the film. But to say it is “unfair” to compare one WB film to another, especially when they’re made for similar audiences and draw upon similar themes, is a bit much to accept. Why is this comparison unfair? Both the Matrix films and V4V are set in a post-apocalyptic future, expect to be taken seriously, and present heroes/heroines whose job it is to resist the totalitarian regimes that have taken over either all of human society or part of it.
What’s Moore’s comic is or is not is ultimately irrelevant to what the film is or is not—the film is what the WB’s did with Moore’s comic, not Moore’s comic itself, and stands or falls as part of the WBs oeuvre. But, that being said, I didn’t intend to write an exhaustive analysis of the film in what’s essentially a three page article. I intended only to compare the socio-political critique in the Matrix films to that found in V4V and note changes, speculating on the causes or sources of the differences I saw.
While your article was very enlightening to me about the Matrix Trilogy (I was too young when i first started watching them to read too much into the symbolism), I think you’re critique of V for Vendetta is very misguided due to your lack of knowledge of the source material. While the Wachowski bros. made a few artistic changes to the original story, they cannot be criticized for the overall plot or the characters and their development. The overall theme of the purely evil, fascist baddies vs. the terrorist, including his claim that it is not the demolition of a building (Parliament) but the destruction of a symbol that is important, are straight out of the original comics, written 15-20 years before 9/11 and the Bush administration.
As far as your critique that Inspector Finch is unintentionally made to feel like the central character, presumably due to his transition from fascist “Fingerman” to an enlightened good guy, well this is also straight from the original story. Even when one reads Moore’s graphic novel, Finch is the most dynamic and interesting character and it doesn’t seem like an accident. V is an Atticus Finch, a Tyler Durden, a huge character who drives the plot but is wholly static and clearly not central. Evey Hammond is a Nick Carraway, the story seems to follow her but she is less than memorable or entirely vital. Finch is the Jay Gatsby, on paper cast as a supporting character but steals the show, is clearly the most dynamic, and subtly the central character. if anything Inspector Finch is intended to seem like the “accidental” central character, but his journey and enlightenment are obviously much more important than Evey’s (Evey is never allowed to find out the truth about V’s origin or about the way the fascist party took control like Finch is).
Thanks much for your reply, Bryson, and thanks most of all for being a reader. That means a lot to me. I think we need to keep in mind that the WBs, first, chose to adapt -this specific- source, and second, an adaptation is never the same as the source material—that’s why it’s called an “adaptation.” While I don’t question your presentation of the WBs source material, this doesn’t change the nature of their decision to use this particular source material at this specific point in time, or the fact that they could have been a bit more nuanced in their use of it. Their decision to follow source material more or less closely is -their- decision. You might compare this decision to, say, the adaptation of Forrest Gump, which in the opinion of many is better than the novel.
About the main character, the problem in the film is that Evey is clearly intended to be the main character, Finch a supporting character, and V some kind of weird embodiment of resistance generated by the system (much like in the Matrix films). However, Finch does begin to eclipse the main character in the film. Now this may also be the case in the comic book—but what may be intentional in the comic appears unintentional in the film. The problem is one of development.
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