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V for Vendetta(2006)
Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V For Vendetta tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked vigilante known only as "V." Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he detonates two London landmarks and takes over the government-controlled airwaves, urging his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V's mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself – and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plot to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.
For more about V for Vendetta and the V for Vendetta Blu-ray release, see V for Vendetta Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on June 16, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: James McTeigue
Writers: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Pigott-Smith
» See full cast & crew
V for Vendetta Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, June 16, 2008
I have to admit; I am a huge fan of comic book/graphic novels that have been adapted to the big screen. V for Vendetta does not disappoint in my book, as it is a captivating look at Alan Moore and David Lloyd's graphic novel of the same name. While the movie does take profound liberties with the theme and content of the novel, there is still enough of the original vision to captivate the mind for the full 133 minutes of the film. As I read the film critics reviews on V for Vendetta, I find it laughable they connect this movie to our current President and his policies when the movie was written by British writers, and more closely aligned with the events of the 1980's and the Margaret Thatcher government of the time. This is also another comic book adaptation of which one the original authors took exception to the way the movie was made, and disowned it as a result. Alan Moore disassociated himself from the film due to lack of his involvement in its screenwriting, directing, and ongoing disputes with the Wachowski Brothers over the film adaptation of his books. According to Moore, the movie contains numerous plot holes, ran contrary to the theme of his original work which was to place two political extremes, fascism and anarchism in direct conflict with one another. He also took exception to the recasting of the story line to reflect the current American neo-conservatism versus American liberalism instead of his originally envisioned conflict, so one can easily see why so many connect this movie with our current administration. Co creator and illustrator David Lloyd supports the film adaptation, commenting that the script is very good, but that Moore would only be truly happy if the film was a complete book to screen adaptation. I guess we will never know who's version would have made a better picture.
V for Vendetta was filmed in London and in Potsdam, Germany at Babelsberg Studios. A great deal of the film was shot on sound stages and various indoor sets, with location work done in Berlin in areas that look very close to London like. The underground scenes were filmed at the unused Aldwych Tube Station. Filming began in Early March 2005, and production wrapped in early June 2005. The film was given a future-retro type look with the heavy use of gray tones to give the appearance of a dreary stagnant totalitarian London. The largest set in the film was V's home of which he called "The Gallery" for obvious reasons. It was made to look like a cross between a crypt and an undercroft (as my grandmother called it) or cellar.
One of the most interesting and clever things I enjoyed was the intertwined use of the letter "V" and the roman numerical symbol of V (the number 5). The first instance comes at the movies beginning with V's introduction to Evey. The introduction contains exactly 49 words that begin with the letter V. When you include the entire monologue, it would be 53 words. There is an interesting tie between the E in Evey, and V, which can be tied together as E, and V (Evey put together). E is the fifth letter in the alphabet that can be tied together with the numerical symbol V, and V being fifth from the last letter in the alphabet. This is tied to the fifth of November Guy Fawkes Day. While at the lab, V was in cell number five, or V. Before the destruction of the Old Bailey, Big Ben rang out 5 times before the music kicks in, and the explosion takes place. During the explosion, fireworks form a V with a circle around it, which is the V for Vendetta logo. During V's broadcast on the BTN, the red lights shining on the backdrop are angled to form a V. When he is dancing with Evey, he chooses the fifth song in his jukebox. Before V destroys the tower in the first explosion of the movie, and during the destruction of the Bailey, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony rings out. V can be interpreted as V for victory. Before the destruction of the Bailey, V creates a bunch of dominoes into a giant V. In the ending fight with Creedy and his men, V forms a V with his daggers, and as they fly through the air they form the letter V five times.
Set in the future, Britain has turned into a totalitarian country led by High Chancellor Adam Sutler, chairman and founder of the Norsefire Party. Evey Hammond readies herself for a trip to Gordon Deitrich's home for dinner, but notices that she is late, and the nighttime curfew is now in place. In spite of this she leaves, and on her way is stopped by a group of finger men (Police). Instead of arresting her for violating curfew, they attempt to sexually assault her but are interrupted by a man in a Guy Fawkes mask. The man in the mask who introduces himself as "V" saves Evey. V invites Evey to a rooftop to witness a special event, which turns out to be the destruction of the Old Bailey to the accompaniment of the 1812 Overture. The government in an attempt to explain the event lies and says the destruction was a planned event, which is contradicted later when V takes over the BTN on the same day. During the takeover, and in a broadcast message from the BTN, V invites the public to join him in protest over the oppressive nature of the government on November 5, Guy Fawkes Day. As V attempts to escape, the assistant to the lead inspector temporarily captures him. Evey sees this happening, attempts to help V escape and is knocked out during the struggle. Not wanting Evey to be captured and tortured by Norsefire regime, V takes Evey back to his residence.
At V's residence, he informs Evey that for her and his protection, she must remain with him for a year. Evey stays for a while, but learns that V is assassinating influential members of the Norsefire Party. At that point she escapes to her friend and superior Gordon Deitrich's residence and asks for his help. While at Deitrich's residence, he unveils a special segment in his show satirizing and mocking the High Chancellor. As retribution for his actions, the High Chancellor orders a raid on Deitrich's residence where Deitrich is captured, and so is Evey. While incarcerated, Evey is continually tortured, has had her head shaven, but discovers notes left by previous prisoner, of which she finds solace. Eventually she is told she will be executed if she does not reveal the whereabouts of V. After days of torture, the exhausted Evey proclaims she would rather "die behind the shed" than reveal where V is located. It is then that V reveals that he is her captor. At first she is angry and upset, but then realizes that she is no longer afraid, and is freed from constant feelings of fear. She leaves V's residence but promises to return before November the fifth.
As Lead Inspector Finch's investigation deepens, he discovers a series of events, and begins to piece things together to form a theory; a theory of how V will get his revenge on the Norsefire Party. In the mean time, V ships out hundreds of thousands of Guy Fawkes masks, an act that will form the basis of his Fifth of November plot, but also has another added benefit. Anyone wearing the masks will not be identifiable by the vast amount of security cameras located all over London, and this triggers a crime spree, and a accidental killing for which a policeman is killed by angry citizens, after accidentally shooting a young girl wearing the mask while spray painting V's name over a Norsefire Party poster.
As the Fifth of November approaches, V schemes cause tremendous chaos in Britain, and the population grows more dissatisfied with the Government, and begins to push back against it. On November fourth Evey comes back to visit V at his residence, at which time he takes Evey to the subway train he has prepared for his ultimate revenge on the Government. It is there he hands over the controls that will eventually bring the downfall of the government, and restore freedom back to the British people.
V for Vendetta Blu-ray, Video Quality
V for Vendetta comes to Bluray in an impressive 1080p/VC-1 encode that is clean to the eye, but occasionally processed to create a certain visual effect. Framed at a measured 2:40:1, the encode delivers excellent fine detail; with even long shots having a great deal of detail in them. Take the ending scene when the people disguised as Guy Fawkes enter Trafalgar Square. Finely grained textures are excellent, revealing individual hairs, and the tight weaves and micro-detail of clothing and different fabrics. Color accuracy is spot on with a strong emphasis on crimson, which plays a major role in many aspects of the film. Blacks were deep and inky without hiding shadow detail.
In the scenes where digital processing was used extensively, like all indoor scenes from the meeting room with the Chancellor on the video screen, the color is desaturated and over contrasted. In these scenes there also appears to be a bit of softness, but it looks intentional as the film as a whole is not soft at all. At other times the color is vibrant and bold without introducing chroma noise or compression artifacts. Picture depth is also quite good, and really works to bring you into each environment. Overall the picture quality is very good and solid, as I could not find a lot to complain about.
I compared both the HD DVD and Bluray releases side by side and could find little or no differences that could not be attributed to using different players for the evaluation.
V for Vendetta Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The 5.1 16/48khz Dolby TrueHD audio encode is generally very good. Dialog is always clear, and that is quite a feat during V's intricate monologues. The dynamic range is wide, and on occasion the bass is deep and powerful not only in the LFE, but in the main front speakers as well. Very fine sonic details such as the Foley work on V's cape, which has a nice flap and pop, and the sound of Evey's heels on the cement and brick sidewalks are very well rendered. As a matter fact I was truly amazed at the sonic details revealed throughout the entire movie. The film score composed by Dario Marianelli, and the familiar classical tunes by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven are extremely well recorded, giving me the ability to occasionally pinpoint the location of specific instruments within the front soundstage. The upper brass cut through the mix with power and clarity without being strident or harsh. Low brass sounded full throated, and the cello's had a nice full voiced texture that was very pleasing to the ear. Explosions were extremely powerful with bass fundamentals landing pretty close to 25hz from the LFE channel.
In spite of all of the good audio things happening, all was not perfect. Surround usage was sorely lacking, which gave the effect of the lack of envelopment. While there was the occasional split surround effect, the surrounds did little to contribute to the overall mix. The entire audio mix in my opinion is a little front heavy. This really is my only peeve with the audio in this film. Overall the soundtrack did a fine job of providing an enhancement to the story line.
V for Vendetta Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The extras on this Bluray disc far outstrip the extras on the DVD release. I was rather surprised and disappointed that the original DVD release did not include what I think are basics such as audio commentaries or deleted scenes. Thank goodness they are included in this Bluray release. All extras here are encoded and presented in 480p/I MPEG-2 with subtitles to boot.
Featurette: Freedom Forever, Making V for Vendetta. (16 minutes).
Featurette: Remember Remember; Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.(10 Minutes)
Featurette: England Prevails-V for Vendetta and the New Wave in comics (15 minutes)
Featurette: Designing the Near Future (17 minutes)
Cat Power:Montage (4minutes) Is basically a music video featuring the film end credit song.
Saturday Night Live Short Parody (4 minutes)
A theatrical trailer is also included, but not in high definition.
Also on this disc is one of Warner first Bluray to include IME (in movie experience) fully utilizing the formats profile 1.1 capabilities.
In Movie Experience Director's Notebook: Re-imagining a Cult Classic for the 21st Century.
Director James McTeigue leads us through a wealth of additional making of material with interviews with Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Producer Joel Silver and other crew members participating in the production of V. I found this rather interesting and was never bored.
V for Vendetta Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I really enjoyed V for Vendetta. It has a great story line, good action sequences, excellent use of dialog, especially V's introduction to Evey which completely blew me away. I was surprised at how many references to the numerical V, and letter V I was able to spot, and the clever use of the 1812 overture and the subtle use of the Fifth of Beethoven to further punctuate the V theme. Hugo Weaving did a fantastic job of bringing V's character to life, in spite of the fact his face was hidden behind a mask for the entire movie. V for Vendetta deals with so many issues (race, sexuality, religion, totalitarianism, and terrorism) and manages to address, and hold them all together very well. The ending sort of left me breathless in its bombastic powerful wake. Warner should be congratulated for this excellent well-rounded release.
V for Vendetta: Other Editions
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• Warner Announces V for Vendetta for Blu-ray (Updated) - March 28, 2008
Warner Home Video has announced that they will release the highly anticipated Sci-Fi thriller 'V for Vendetta' for Blu-ray on May 20th. Video will be presented as 2.40:1 1080p VC-1 with 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track (no TrueHD track has been announced at this time). ...
• V for Vendetta Coming - July 31, 2007
If you bought a copy of '300' in Canada today you also got a nice surprise in the form of a insert showing 'V for Vendetta' coming soon for Blu-ray. As one of the titles still missing on Blu-ray from Warner's high definition catalog, it is a welcome addition to ...
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