scottopic: (the future baby.)
So now, the ideas of how the movie was produced, and trivial details which are worth noting in a cinematic sense have been discussed to a good degree.

Here's why I think the movie beat the book.

The movie was updated to reflect modern times more, plus a bit more acknowledgement to science -- London wouldn't have survived a nuclear holocaust, less humanity would have survived a nuclear winter and plus -- the fear of these things has become less pervasive, less a part of our social landscape. But Terrorism! Bio-chemical weaponry! Ah, there you go. In the post-9/11 world (Creative Loafing, the local rag which usually leans more to the left, actually called the movie "naive in the post-9/11 world". WTF?), worldwide catastrophe is less of a focus that targeted attacks on civilian innocents.

While walking out, my friend Byron mentioned:
"People will say that it's not about the Bush Administration, and isn't...but it is!"
Yes, the book was written about the Thatcher admin, and in the 80's, so duh - not directly about Bush. And like them or not, the Wachowski Bros. probably didn't plan on being the sci-fi Michael Moores and want to call out a particular figure or singular group. A broader picture was desired, and was painted. It just so happens certain groups are well inside the confines of the canvas. Ok, maybe near the center of it. In a way, the message was made more timeless.

The love angle slightly weakened the iconic status, as did much to 'humanize' V, but that sort of thing is always an easy, cheap shot for me. It was the parts where I recognized more of Hugo Weaving's voice, which I like. He was a man-idea, and the man would die. Bits may fall under "I'd have done it differently", but it wasn't offensive to me. I have a strong, perhaps overdeveloped, ability to suspend disbelief, I admit.

The phrasing became more relevant in current conditions -- even I don't want to go off so much on the current presidential administration as the entire system which colludes to vary from "Really Fucking Bad" to "Pretty Fucking Bad", and asks that even progressives accept "Pretty Fucking Bad" as something they can live with. The book pushed this well, but went for Anarchy in the sense of lack of community governance. On the other hand, the movie went for individual autonomy and choice -- people must have means to arbitrate and interact as a community, but it should be their choice. This was the lesson in the Masked Masses at the end, who then all remove their masks, revealing each individual - whether they had died in the course of the story or not - watching the new era dawn.

With the ending, it was more fitting by not showing Evie as picking up the literal Mask. The destruction of the totalitarian government meant, as was said in V's demise, that V was no longer needed. V died, the people unmask, it's the new world. It felt more polished, more finished, less in need of an unspoken sequel. Most good movies make me want them to continue the story, but this was finished off so wasn't needed.

That's the internal reasons why I thought it was a better movie.

The external are more relevant.
No, we don't have a situation identical to the one in the movie, but really - how close do we need to be?
It's a few steps away -- really. Consider the control of network media, how much of it is overtly and unabashedly propaganda. Decorated war veterans and long-time servicepeople who dare speak out
It is encouraging that polls and attitudes have been showing some changes, some realization and some questioning, even by those who were adamantly in favor of the current admin. Hell, that last bit -- questioning -- is the most important part.
It is questioning which keeps books from being burnt, people groups from being oppressed, rights from being taken away. It is the measure which holds us short of having to just wipe the slate clean.

We do not have curfews and comprehensive fear of speaking, but the tide rolls in that you want to have to have these things before action is taken? The government and the people can change without violent rebellion and this "good enough?" Are we fine with only some of our rights taken away, or to phrase it differently, only some of our rights intact? A few days ago, I was despairing over the state of things, but I've been able to come back to my usual mantra "It's not over until I'm dead." Is the comfort of the collar, and the notion of security so important that risking it for true freedom remains too scary?

We are told we need to remember why They are needed. Why we signed onto anything labelled Patriot.
Why the value of oil was coupled with the Holy Flag and Fear of Terrorism to allow for attacks on other countries. Why habeas corpus is a convenience these days, US citizen or not. Terror Alerts, fear, suspicion, wiretaps without warrants and re-writing the laws after the fact are all JUST FINE because HOW DARE YOU QUESTION in a time of WAR. A war meant to be fought forever - Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.
Yes, it's not THAT bad yet...but how bad is enough? And how much can you accept living in a state to be considered as "bad"?

To hide behind a flag to pull freedom from people without due process is cowardice. To allow any ideal to trample other people is bigotry and blindness. To not take action is tantamount to collusion. These were the lessons of the book and movie, better highlighted by the movie (and in a way to reach a wider audience without dilution). There may not be a literal "V" - a freedom fighter out committing mayhem to dissolve systems, but in the end, a single one couldn't do it anyway. It was all meant to be an instigation for the individual people to take control of their own lives, remind - no, show - the government that they are not our leaders, but our hired servants. It is the hope that the celluloid V will be enough to push these actions -- how you spend your time and money, how you vote or don't vote, how you speak your mind freely. This should touch the hearts and minds of nearly whatever label you carry - "Republican" "Democrat" "Libertarian" "Green" "conservative" "liberal", etc. because we're moving outside the realm where we can even debate our points without it becoming "patriot" versus "traitor". We aren't in the totalitarian state yet, so we don't need armed resistance yet. Are you going to resist from where you are now?

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. "


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