Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 27 - Favourite comic book movie.

So comic book movies by and large don't work. Even the most faithful adaptation like Zack Synder's slavish Watchmen doesn't bring across the highlights of graphic story telling. The Batman movies are entertaining but they are nothing like the character from the comics. And something as terrible as the League of Extraordinary Gentleman movie makes us sympathise with the well known curmudgeon Alan Moore who didn't want his name anywhere near the project. Having said all that there is one adaptation of a Moore project that does work both as an interpretation of the themes of the comic and as an entertaining film.

V for Vendetta was one of my favourite comics in the 1980s. I had never encountered a comic book like it. Its themes of resistance and anarchy in a fascist society combined with the powerful black and white art by David Lloyd were just stunning. One of the biggest cliff hangers in comics was the three year wait to find out what happened when Evey Hammond stepped back into the Shadow Chamber. The comic was interrupted when Warrior magazine folded and was not continued until DC comics picked the series up after the success of Moore's Watchmen.

The film version directed by James McTeigue makes some significant changes to the story and the ending but does so in a way that respects the original fiction. It also resists the temptation to unmask the protagonist V. In the letters pages of  Warrior magazine there was much speculation about the true identity of V, but as the story progressed it became clear that Moore was not going to reveal his face. In fact the story is about the  power of the symbolic hero more than it is about the man beneath the mask. The other famous British comic book character who never reveals his face is Judge Dredd. Of course the Stallone film version manages about 10 minutes of screen time before taking the helmet off. But in V for Vendetta Hugo Weaving remains masked throughout, and incidentally produces a fine performance for an actor who has to deliver his emotions through body movements rather than facial expressions. It's a good film with a lot to commend it and Moore could have kept his name on this one.

1 comment:

  1. V for Vendetta would be my favourite comic book movie also. One of the few movies that bears rewatching.