I am a nerd. Not a closet one, but a full-blown nerd. I know this unequivocally because I fit the profile. I write articles about technology, I have three computers (one of them a Macintosh), I read scientific articles, I like genetics, quantum physics, and most importantly, I read graphic novels.
Oh, it all started so innocently. I picked up my first graphic novel back in college when another closet nerd introduced me to Frank Miller, an up and coming comic artist who had just created his first creator-owned title, Ronin. It read more like a storyboarded script (something I was learning a great deal about at the time) and less like the traditional comics that could never hold my interest. I began collecting Frank Miller’s work at that point and when he took over writing and drawing for Batman, I was hooked.
Around the same time, another graphic novelist, Alan Moore, started to capture my attention. With the release of Watchmen in 1987, Alan Moore had cemented his place on my bookshelf (yeah, i consider these books… sue me!). It wasn’t until late 1989, though that graphic novels would find themselves with a political voice. Though written off and on since 1981, V for Vendetta was released as a graphic novel in 1989. It literally changed my understanding of the world around me. Gone were the simple ideologies developed by 8 years of Reaganomics. Gone was my simpleminded innocence. I no longer believed that there was right and wrong… just diverging ideologies… MINE vs yours. Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta did that. It illuminated the idea that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. It is all a matter of perspective. It blew my mind.
Yesterday the Red Queen and I caught the Wachowski re-imagined V for Vendetta and I’m not sure I understand why Alan Moore has asked to have his name removed from the film. Granted, Alan Moore is one of those fickle people who doesn’t believe anyone can do his work justice unless they’re named Alan Moore. If we only look at what was done with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, you’d be hard pressed to argue with him. The difference here is that the Wachowski’s were clearly in control and say what you will about Matrix part’s two and three, they know their way around a plot.
The thing is, and this is the surprising part, I agreed with all the cuts the Wachowski’s made to the original story. Some of the more complex ideas (facism, democracy, fear of government, terrorism, religion, hate, and fear) are still there, only flow more smoothly. The story has been boiled down, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Natalie Portman and a masked Hugo Weaving are pefect on screen as Evey and V respectively. I can’t fault any of the cinematic choices that the Wachowski’s made and found myself totally lost in the world the wrung out from Alan Moore’s story.
If you can sit still for a while, go catch V for Vendetta at the theaters. Let the film wash over you. Don’t let preconceived notions taint your enjoyment of the film. See if you like it and let me know if I’m high because I really enjoyed the adaptation in ways that the original graphic novel left me wanting.