moby-dick-(or-the-whale)-2
alt_bar

V VOOR WRAAKACTIE

30 September 2006

Yesterday I started reading in the big graphic novel called V for Vendetta and frankly, I didn't put it down until it was finished. Like the movie, it has the same gritty atmosphere and quality that keeps me fascinated. And like all Alan Moore writings, it's quite well written. Which brings us to the question of course, which did you like best; comic or film? It's a bit of a trap of course, as you'll always have fonder memories of which version of the story you saw first for the simple reason it was new then. But I'll try to avoid the pitfall.

I heard that Moore was disappointed by the movie and I'm struggling to see why. The themes seem to have been transferred intact, it's only the events that have been somewhat rearranged, histories altered a trifle and characters scrapped or transmuted. Is this really so surprising? Film is an entirely different medium than comic and can't hope to offer the minutiae a comic can. What matters is if the core has remained, and whether or not it works.

As I'm sure I told you after I had seen the movie, it works fine. The movie had a powerful effect on me and I can safely say it got the message across. In retrospect I find it amusing that the very things one would say spoiled the movie by making it more Hollywoodesque (some nice big explosions, a better defined ending and an even larger sense of theatricality) I found strangely absent in the comic. If I would have to point out the main difference between the two -trivialities about adapted storylines aside- I'd say that the movie took away the personality the comic bestows upon the bad guys.

In the comic they are round characters that are notably flawed, show many a sign of weakness and in the end mainly fall through their own flaws. This makes them more like persons, but at the same time detracts from the believability that these self-centred bunglers could ever have created a totalitarian empire (let alone control it tightly for so long). While I thus found this added depth interesting, I didn't mind that it wasn't in the movie for the benefit of the evil's iconic value.

But that aside, the centrepiece of the story, the ever-charismatic V, stands strong in both tales. He has the same message, the same character, the same wit and flair. And when this pillar stands so strongly, it's hardly a problem that the things around it have been rearranged. Why should it be so disappointing? I daren't guess. So, what do I like better? In the end, the movie, because it was the first iteration I saw and I thought it emphasized through Hollywoodian techniques the core theme of the story. Do I think the comic is bad? No, I enjoyed it as well, but it was simply a different experience. In the end, you can't shrug off the overpowering notion, I think, of liking the one you saw first when both contestants have so powerful a message to tell, and are equals at that.

Roderick.