With V for Vendetta comes a film that carried the weight of the Wachowski Brothers first film since the Matrix Trilogy and another adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novels. Considering what many thought of the final two Matrix films and how much of a hit-or-miss track record Moore’s comics had in their film counterparts (I’d say the majority are all a complete “miss”, Constantine aside), V for Vendetta could’ve crashed and burned. However, by remaining true to its original graphic novel self and the Wachowski’s providing an excellent script, the film prevailed past the negativities both creators’ works have been hit with in the past. And while I’m sure Moore will still ignore the existence of the film, if Frank Miller can have such a turn around in Hollywood, maybe Moore will still see the positives some day.
V for Vendetta follows the terrorist V (Hugo Weaving), on his crusade to bring down the tyrannical rule of a future England. Evey (Natalie Portman) meets up with V early on in the film and they form a friendship (and eventually a kind of love interest) which quickly begins helping a chain of events take place. V’s quest to murder the people that made him what he is spirals throughout the period of a year between two fifths of November, on which V and Evey watch key landmarks in England explode in a roaring blaze of music and fireworks.
The cinematography in this film is excellent, offering a ton of great scenes for your eyes to feast on and take in. The cold cell that Evey resides in and V’s home are all brilliant spectacles, but the biggest eye-popper was near the end of the film. When what looks like nearly all of England is wearing the capes and masks that V wears and marches throughout the city, it’s almost more daunting than seeing the armies of Clones in the second Star Wars prequel. You can attribute the power of the thousands of V’s as being more emotionally powerful due to the politically charged nature of the film…but nevertheless, it is quite the sight to behold.
My only regret with this film is not seeing it in the theater; while my sound system does a fine job of replicating the explosions and fights with the proper boom, seeing the movie on a larger screen would have only made it more enjoyable. Without a doubt, pick up or rent this title, as it is very much worth the price.
Now, while the movie is worth the price of admission, do you want to pay the extra price to pick up the two-disc version of this film? It really depends on just how much you love the film and how much you enjoy watching special features.
The flick comes in three DVD releases, ala Constantine and Batman Begins: single disc widescreen, single disc fullscreen and two-disc widescreen. You may think the obvious choice is the two-disc, but, again, it whittles down to your enjoyment of the film. If you absolutely and positively want to see how it was made and a few behind-the-scenes interviews, then you’ll want the two-disc. If you merely loved the film, then I would honestly recommend the single. The special features are weak at best and while they’re interesting while watching, there really isn’t much substance to them, simply because there aren’t enough of them.
But, I’m jumping ahead of myself. First we must tackle the packaging for the set; the two-disc comes with a cardboard slip cover, replicating the amaray case insert underneath, but providing raised lettering and images and slick photos on the back. Like all cardboard slips, however, it is pretty much pointless. Nice to see on the store shelf, but once you’re home, you can easily toss the slip cover away.
The disc art features Evey on disc one and V on disc two (kind of a reversal in roles) and a few inserts with ads are given. No chapter list is included (as with most WHV theatrical releases), but I’m finding that less and less a big deal.
Video transfer on this film is impeccable; I can only imagine what it looks like in HD-DVD. I didn’t notice a bit of compression or artifacting on the transfer and overall it was a very pleasant viewing. Audio was strong and really sent out quite a few big booms when the bombs went off in the movie; the only moments I noticed the surround was during V’s fight scenes, as most of the movie is dialogue which is almost always placed in the center channel.
Now, we can travel back to the special features! Nearly replicating what Batman Begins had in terms of length and featurette detail, the four features (one on disc one, three on disc two) cover the making of the film, set designs, the history of Guy Fawkes and history of V for Vendetta and New Wave Comics. All of the featurettes are interesting to watch, but it just seems like there’s too little of each aspect of the film covered. The inclusion of more cast interviews (the vast majority of the cast appeared at one time or another) in the features were very much welcome, but, again, the feeling that it wasn’t all there was to see was still sitting with me after I finished the disc.
Not surprisingly, the Wachowski Brothers are mentioned only in name; I never once saw their faces in the special features. I know they’re a bit reclusive when it comes to this type of coverage, but it would still be nice to hear it straight from them what they thought of the V for Vendetta graphic novel, rather than hearing it from the director.
The two disc set is fun while it lasts, but the lack of film commentary was a major bummer, especially after watching the movie.
Overall the film is worth the price of rental or purchase, one way or the other. Be sure to check it out when the DVD drops on August 1st.
Originally posted on The World’s Finest on July 28th, 2006.