Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tagline of the Week: Courtesy of V for Vendetta

Hard to believe there’s yet another Alan Moore adaptation racing down the pipeline, faster than you can say “don’t ruin another comi---“.

(On a brief aside, I sat down the other night and watched From Hell, and BOY, is it AWFUL!)

V for Vendetta will be released this fall in early November, and the trailer just hit the Apple Trailers site the other day.

Can’t say I’ve read this particular Moore comic, but I’m definitely intrigued by the concept of a sort of alternate reality where the Nazis won World War II, and Britain is a facist state. Seems similar to the Phillip Roth book that came out earlier this year, The Plot Against America, which also deals with what might have been if Hitler had succeeded in his chilling final solution.

If you can bare squinting your eyes for the unbearably tiny window that Apple provides, you can make out there’s more than a modicum of visual style from first time director James McTeigue. McTeigue has an impressive resume as an assistant director, having worked on all three Matrix films, and Star Wars Episodes II and III. Not too shabby to say the least.

Of course we all know, that just cause something looks pretty, doesn’t mean that it’s fun to sit through. Natalie Portman being the notoriously consummate actress she is, I’m sure will bring her borderline annoying vulnerability to the lead role of Evey Hammond, a young woman who becomes embroiled in political intrigue, and joins a group of facist fighters. I just hope she plays the character older than a fifteen year old, which is how she plays most things If you ask me Portman still lives off the fat of her “amazing” performance in The Professional, despite the fact that that was eleven years ago. I do feel like Portman generally puts in a good effort though, regardless of the end result, so I must take my hat off to her for that. I must give her “props” for shaving her head for the filming of V for Vendetta, an artistic choice that I feel like many young, pretty actresses in this day and age would shun.

As far as the trailer itself goes, its pretty confusing as to what the hell is going on the film. If it weren’t for Yahoo! Movies , handy dandy little summary of the film, I don’t know if I’d have a clue as to what is going on. I did not get a clear sense of the Nazi success plot at all, and while the English accents that everyone has cues us a bit to the location, it isn’t clear what the setting of the film is. This is actually one of the few trailers that comes to mind that I think could benefit from either the “In a World” narration guy, or some more title cards to establish what’s going on. Right now, all we can make out is that Portman’s character kidnapped and then they want her to track someone down, who I’m assuming is the masked crusader with the funny joker like mask. The climate of the film is fairly well established – a crazy totalitarian state, but the specifics of the plot are fairly vague and unclear. Fine by me really, I think they reveal far to much in the trailers these days.

Now the boys over at Aint It Cool posted someone’s review of the script for V for Vendetta, and to quote AICN, it “wasn’t too pretty”. Subsequent commentary from the nerd patrol over there revealed that everyone who had come into some sort of contact with the script didn’t have very good things to say about it. I only skimmed it because of the many spoilers it contained, but among their gripes was the fact that (surprise, surprise) it wasn’t very faithful to the original comic, and that generally the characters and plot were developed poorly. Now the Wachowski brothers wrote this script, and I think that bodes well, because no matter what anyone says, I think everything they’ve put out has ranged from amazing(Matrix) to decent (Matrix Revolutions). Still, there’s a first time for everything. There’s a part of me that wonders why they didn’t go ahead and direct it…

I have to say, after looking at the one sheet for the film, I am quite intrigued by the image of the mask for codename: V. It kind of looks a bit like Timothy Dalton, don’t you think? (Timothy Dalton, only way, way creepier.)

Oh yeah, and the tagline for this one reads:

“Remember, Remember, the fifth of November.”

While I knew it sounded familiar, it wasn’t until I looked up the phrase on trusty google, that I realized where it is from. The phrase was taken out of a British sermon that was written to commemorate a heinous crime of treason in 1605, where a man was caught in the basement of Parliament with barrels of gunpowder trying to blow it up.

I like the fact that the Wachowskis got a little historical.


Blogger phinney said...

nice work. well stated and on the ball as usual.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Crazy Monk said...

Did you think Matrix Reloaded was decent as well?

8:37 AM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

I actually really liked Reloaded, I thought it had a couple flaws, and didn't feel as original as the first, but I thought it was pretty damn good - specially in the grand scheme of movies released in that genre.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Crazy Monk said...

This is a debate that I'm afraid to get into.

While I thought Matrix Revolutions was enjoyable as far as it was your standard sci-fi fare, Reloaded was pretentious, uninteresting, and uninspiring crap, and not just relative to the first Matrix, which is a great movie. The Wachowski's took a great idea and look from the first movie and probably took the least interesting path possible from it. The ideas fell flat, the look was too glossy.

Have you rewatched Reloaded?

1:18 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

i saw reloaded twice in the theatre. the first time at a 5 AM showing,---the second time a couple weeks later. i can understand that the style they went for with this film is not for everyone, but i really enjoyed. i think that action sequence on the freeway is amazing, and i liked the whole concept of the "vampires" and what not, ---that fight scene in the elaborate marble house looked really cool, as did neo's fight with the hundred agent smiths. i will confess that the two blend together for me at this point a bit, and i've been saving up for that big DVD set too ---so i still haven't watched all three back to back which i am looking forward to doing. oh also, in general i wasn't crazy about the design of zion.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous DC Dionysian said...

ArrrrGH!!! They had the nazis win??? I'm getting over my fanboy sphincter clench right now...

That's actually a pretty good idea. The comic book is essentially a hagiography for a terrorist. The opening scene is the obliteration of the houses of parliament. That's easier to get around when the government in question is run by Nazis.

Alan Moore is a god, and I credit the Wachowskis for trying to make something creditable out of his works. LXG, and as I understand it From Hell were disastrous, I hope that's not the case with this one.

The tagline will have more resonance with British audiences. Guy Fawkes Night is their equivalent of the Fourth of July. The sentiments are different, but its the night when everyone gets to blow shit up. V wears a Guy Fawkes mask by the way.

5:58 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

OH, so that's where they get the mask all makes a little more sense to me now. Yeah I could see why the Brits love that guy. I hope this is actually an Alan Moore Adaptation that gets treated right. Remember Spawn? That wasn't very good either...

2:37 AM  
Anonymous DC Dionysian said...

Sish... Spawn was not an Alan Moore adaptation. Moore did write one issue of the series, but the majority of the issues up to the movie at least were written by Todd McFarlane. The story was mostly an excuse to justify McFarlane's art. I remember loving it when I was 14.

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

November 5 is also my birthday.


12:29 PM  

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