Tuesday, February 28, 2006

[random] [politics] Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

I don't remember exactly when I was introduced to V for Vendetta; in high school, I was good friends with an avid comic collector who spent a fair amount of time in the UK. As a result, I was treated to some tidbits of pop culture before they were available in the US - for instance, he introduced me to Clive Barker's Books of Blood before they were published here, and, I believe, may have possessed the original V series in Warrior magazine. We sort of stayed in touch through college, during which time I know I read DC Comics' serialization of V, but I have the distinct impression of having been introduced to the story during high school. Eh... Regardless, by the time I finished college, I was pretty well hooked on graphic novels: The Watchmen, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Elektra: Assassin, the Sandman series... good stuff, all. But the story that probably had the longest-lasting impact was V for Vendetta. At the time, the story reflected some of the free-floating angst of the era: the potential for nuclear war with the Soviet Union, the increased influence of the right wing in politics, general fear and unease over a society that seemed in some ways as though it was tempted to turn it's collective back upon many of the freedoms enshrined in such milestone documents as the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta... In the ensuing years, much of that fear and angst seemed quite overblown - the USSR collapsed, the Velvet Revolutions spread across Eastern Europe. Prominent intellectuals proclaimed that the 'end of history' was at hand: from now on, we'd all be one big, happy, globalized society. Okay, so a decade or so later, some of that didn't seem quite so rosy, but by and large, things were still pretty much on an even keel. And then things... ...shifted. Suddenly, a lot of people were saying things that made the world of V seem much, much more possible. I got the trade paper version of V a couple of years ago, and while some of it screams 'early 80s!', most of it seemed a lot less... improbable. Clearly, I wasn't the only one who felt this way:
It's no good blaming the drop in work standards on bad management either, though to be sure the management is very bad. In fact let's not mince words: The management is terrible. We've had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars, and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is a plain fact. But who elected them? It was you. You who appointed these people. You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you. While I'll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate. You have encouraged these malicious incompetents who have made your working life a shambles. You have accepted without question their senseless orders. You could have stopped them. All you had to say was "No".
So it was a pleasant surprise to learn that after years of rumors, V is finally coming to the big screen (thanks, Karen!). I was even more pleased to read some initial positive buzz:
...V for Vendetta is fun, dangerous fun, percussive with brutality and laced with ironic ambiguity and satirical slapstick (a Benny Hill homage, no less!). But gives the movie its rebel power is the moral seriousnessthat [sic] drives the action, emotion, and allegory. That’s what I didn’t expect from the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix), this angry, summoning Tom Paine moral dispatch that puts our pundits, politicians, and cable news hosts to shame. V for Vendetta instills force into the very essence of four-letter words like hate, love, and (especially) fear, and releases that force like a fist. Off come the masks, and the faces are revealed.
You could do worse than Tom Paine comparisons... I am so there, opening day.


Anonymous karen m said...

You're welcome!

I've heard that once again, Alan Moore still isn't happy with the adaptation - I think this is his third work to be made into a movie - but I'm not certain if he's even seen the finished product. It's really nice to see a good review. Thanks for that!

3/01/2006 07:42:00 AM  

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