(Now that winter is here in Chicago, I am doing a lot more reading and movie-watching, and a lot less bicycling and other exercise; among other things, it means a lot more genre projects I've taken on purely for pleasure, and other projects I don't feel like sitting down and writing a full review concerning. Hence this series of mini-reviews, none of which are longer than a couple of hundred words. To see the full combined list of all mini-reviews [books and movies], click here.)
V for Vendetta (movie; 2005)
Written by the Wachowski Brothers
Directed by James McTeigue
Wow, what a craptastically disappointing trainwreck of a movie this thing was! The original early-'80s Alan Moore comic was a masterful reflection of its particular times; a look at a post-nuclear-war England, run by a fascist party that swooped in after the disaster and chaos, being most seriously opposed by a small group of psychotic bloodthirsty anarchists who listen to punk music while running around blowing up buildings, with a well-rounded look at both sides to show the futility of too blindly believing in either one. This insanely expensive 2006 Hollywood adaptation, however, which was also the extremely anticipated follow-up to the Wachowski Brothers' massively popular Matrix trilogy, removes huge sections of Moore's original complex tale and dumbs down what little remains, so that the entire thing ends up a cartoonish morality tale about stupid American conservatives and their pointless wars, and the noble liberal common folk who eventually rise up against them.
Bleh! The movie misses the entire point of why the comic was so popular and ground-breaking to begin with; it would've been so much better to have made this movie a "historic future" one, actually set in an alternative '80s and with the original fascist/anarchist feud driving it all, making witty jabs at Thatcherism and the now-disillusioned optimism the punk community once had. This big-budget Hollywood attempt to shoehorn the story into a contemporary tale about Bush-era America, while simultaneously trying to simplify even that to a level of the typical Jeff Foxworthy fan (i.e. pretty freaking simple), creates nothing but an unwatchable, laughable mess, full of inexplicable plot twists that make no sense without the expurgated backstory, not to mention gratuitous Matrix-style kung-fu and other action scenes for no particular damn reason at all, other than that the executive producer was once again Joel Silver. V for Vendetta sadly proves a theory I've had for awhile now regarding the Wachowski Brothers; that they are not in fact creative geniuses like we have all thought since 1999, but rather two merely mediocre artists who accidentally got it right with the original Matrix exactly once in their entire careers. Buyer beware.
Out of 10: 2.7