V FOR VENDETTA
Remember, remember the fifth
People should not be afraid
of their governments.
Right up front let me say that I have not read the original graphic novel that served as the inspiration for the movie version of V FOR VENDETTA ($35). Therefore, I sat down to watch the film no bias towards the material one way or another. Personally, I enjoyed the movie as something more than the visually rich popcorn entertainment it can be perceived as, since V FOR VENDETTA does have deeper aspirations of making a political commentary within the framework of it cautionary tale. Adapted from the work of Alan Moore and featuring a screenplay by The Wachowski Brothers, V FOR VENDETTA is set in a bleak and oppressive future, where Great Britain has become and isolated fascist state under the rule of ultraconservative Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt). The media continually spins the government line propaganda, while the British people themselves have been stripped of all freedoms, and are tightly controlled by curfews and secret police. Additionally, all dissidents and undesirables within the borders of the UK have been taken off to the camps for orderly extermination.
Then, within this dystopian state, the unexpected happens. On Guy Fawkes Day, a lone figure, identifying himself as only V (Hugo Weaving), commandeers the television network and broadcasts a message calling for a revolution on the following fifth of November. The symbol of this revolution will be in succeeding where Guy Fawkes failed in 1605, by blowing up the Houses of Parliament. V FOR VENDETTA also stars Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond, who assists V and becomes an enemy of the state; Stephen Rea as Inspector Eric Finch, who takes his investigation into the identity of V further than the government might like; and finally, Stephen Fry as television personality Gordon Deitrich, who has more than a few secrets hidden away from the government in his own closet.
Warner Home Video has made V FOR VENDETTA available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. This being a recent major studio production, it should come as no surprise that the transfer is utterly terrific looking. The image appears quite sharp and produces well-rendered detail. There is some stylistic softness, but other than that, it all looks great. Colors appear quite vibrant, while flesh tones are wholly natural and very appealing. Hues are rock solid and are reproduced without aberrations. Blacks are silky smooth, whites are crisp and contrast is uniformly excellent. Shadow detail is also excellent, plus the image is rendered with a nice sense of dimensionality. The film elements used for the transfer appear virtually pristine and there is little perceivable grain. Digital compression artifacts are always well camouflaged.
V FOR VENDETTA comes with a fairly potent Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Totally atmospheric and featuring more than a few actions sequences, V FOR VENDETTA offers enough opportunities for the sound designers to show off their craft. Sounds are distinctly defined and effortlessly pan between channels. Fidelity is very strong, with both the musical sound effects components coming across with a genuine sense of presence. Dialogue is well reproduced and maintains complete intelligibility. The bass channel is full, deep and produces a nice bit of rumble on occasion. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread across both discs of this set. Disc one features Freedom! Forever!: Making V For Vendetta, which is an interview intensive sixteen minute look behind-the- scenes. Moving on to disc two, one will find the remainder of the supplemental programming. Designing The Near Future runs seventeen minutes and focuses on the film’s challenging production and costume design. Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes And The Gunpowder Plot spends nine minutes looking at the history that inspired Guy Fawkes to take the action he did in 1605. England Prevails: V For Vendetta And The New Wave In Comics clocks in at fifteen and looks at the original graphic novel that inspired the film and changes in the comic book industry brought about by the long form graphic novel. The Cat Power Montage takes the song from the film and turns it into a music video by using imagery from the film. Soundtrack Album Info and a Theatrical Trailer close out the supplements.
As I stated above, I very much liked the cinematic version of V FOR VENDETTA. Warner’s DVD edition looks and sounds quite marvelous, which comes as no surprise. If you enjoy films adapted from the comic book/graphic novel medium, or those that depict a dystopian future, you should definitely check out V FOR VENDETTA. Recommended.
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