V for Vendetta Movie Better Than Book?

I was afraid to say I liked the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie better than the comic. (I liked the cast and the action-movie approach, even if large parts of it were hard to make out, and I never got into the comic, in part because the treatment of women disturbed me.) Now, Mike Chary says the same about V for Vendetta.

All of this discussion of the film makes me interested in both going to see it and rereading the graphic novel. I’m just not sure which I should do first.

15 Responses to “V for Vendetta Movie Better Than Book?”

  1. John Jakala Says:

    No. I’d argue it’s not even a good movie in its own right.

  2. Kelson Says:

    After a disastrous experience with Starship Troopers, I’ve made it a policy to always wait until I see the movie, then re-read the book.

    Going the other way just invites 2 hours of conscious comparisons. This way I can watch the movie mostly on its own terms.

    FWIW, I liked the V for Vendetta movie, but it’s been about a year since I read the graphic novel.

  3. Mark Says:

    I’ll see V for Vendetta tonight. I’ve read the GN and really liked it, so it’ll interesting to see how the movie measures up. I have high hopes in this case.

    Generally I always try to read the novel or graphic novel first. I like to be able to compare a movie to the source material and to see how they adapted it.
    So the movie has to measure to the original source it draws from.
    That said, I read that V for Vendetta takes a differnent aproach than the GN but is good on it’s own right since the setting is more geard towards modern post 9/11 poltics than the British Thatcher area of the 80s.

    So I’m eager to form an opinion for myself tonight.

    On a related note, Johanna, I thought the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie was well below average as an action movie on it’s own right and a disaster as adaption of the GN. But I guess if you didn’t like the GN in first place it’s a different story when comparing it to the movie.

    A movie that looked well me to on it’s own even though it wasn’t a good adaption of the original is I, Robot. The movie was quite ok to me as an action movie. Still it was a condensed, dumbed down version of Asimovs short stories.

    sorry for the long blurb, I just noticed how long that post has become.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Kelson, good point, but I’m often more entertained by meta-media concerns like those comparisons than by the thing on its own. I just find it a rare thing that the more I read about it, the more I want to see it. Usually, it’s the other way round, as too much reading gives me the feeling that there will be nothing new.

    Mark, you’re probably right about how the LEG movie compares to other action films — but I don’t watch a lot of those usually.

  5. Jer Says:

    I re-read the graphic novel about six weeks ago, then went and saw the movie this weekend. I’d say, see the move first, then re-read the graphic novel. If you read the graphic novel first you might just be too depressed to even want to see the movie at all (I always forget what a downer the book really is until I re-read it).

    There are some big differences, but its a good film. I said somewhere else that it was a good movie and a lousy adaptation – I’m not so sure that that’s right anymore. Thinking it over, its more like its not a very faithful adaptation – its not afraid to be its own thing while still hitting all of Moore’s notes – but that doesn’t mean its a bad adaptation, really. In particular, I prefer the movie’s handling of Evey’s imprisonment to the way Moore handled it in the GN – and both Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving give really good performances (Weaving especially, given that he’s masked the whole time).

  6. Barry Says:

    I actually thought LoEG the movie was kinda fun, as I had no expecations going in. And since it’s been about 17 years since I read V, I didn’t remember it at all, so I found the moviegoing experience to be an enjoyable one. So I would recommend seeing the movie first and then reading the graphic novel.

    I look forward to reading your comments.

  7. Sebastian Says:

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I’d never got around to reading the comic, either. So yesterday I sat myself down and read the thing in one sitting.

    The result? Well, I see where it could be made into a movie, but it would necessarily have to be quite different in places. Also, the comic wasn’t that good, in my opinion. I’ve certainly read much better ones, though YMMV. The story was kind of murky and sometimes seemed more like a disconnected collection of scenes. Also I didn’t like the art much. Not my kind of style.

    I can see where people might like V, the comic, and it certainly isn’t one of the worst I’ve seen, but it isn’t what I look for in comics. It definitely isn’t the kind of comic I’d buy, so I’m glad I only borrowed it. But I’m still going to watch the movie, since I suspect it actually might improve on what I felt were the comic’s weaknesses: the looks and the lack of tightness of the storyline.

  8. Johanna Says:

    Jer, I’m leaning towards doing it that way. Although I just realized that with live stuff going on, I’m not even going to have a chance to go to the movies until next month. Hopefully it’ll still be playing.

    Barry, yeah, I should probably mention that I saw LEG for free, and that helped a lot in terms of enjoyment. :)

    Sebastian, I think that the book hasn’t necessarily aged well. I think of it as tied to a particular historical period, and its break in publication didn’t do it any favors. (I wonder if something similar will be noticeable with Lost Girls?) In a case where you didn’t care for it, you might be right about the movie improving on it. I’m curious to know what you think about the film.

  9. Andrew Foley Says:

    I’m so glad to see someone else admit they liked the LXG film more than the comic…

    As for V, I’d suggest seeing the movie and then reading the graphic novel. I did it the other way round and spent a lot of what was actually a fairly enjoyable movie going, “Well, that’s not right, why’d they change that?”

    I can understand why Alan Moore hated the adaptation, as it ignores or reverses pretty much every point he was trying to make, but it’s still an enjoyable popcorn flick, and Hugo Weaving’s performance alone is worth the price of admission, in my book.


  10. Jer Says:

    Andrew –

    Not to spoil anything, but do you really think that it “reverses” the points that Moore was trying to make? I think it shifts some of them, but I didn’t see any that were really full-on reversed. Just FYI, my yardstick for “reversing the point” is, and has been since I saw it, Disney’s “Little Mermaid” – a movie beloved by millions but hated by me because of how much they subverted the original message of the story.

  11. Björn Says:

    I really thought I’d hate V for Vendetta as a movie, but I was amazed how well they translate many of the things I thought they’d leave out. V not removing his mask, torturing Evey, thing like these. So, from this angle Vendetta was a really good movie.

    That being said, I didn’t like the way the political side was handled in it. Truth be told, Moore’s approach was a bit hamfisted as well, but I think that by giving V a clear anarchist background, at least you give the audience something to argue about. But by making V more or less a liberal or democrat, it becomes pretty harsh to really criticise what he does. The most interesting thing in the comic was, at least for me, always V’s hypocrisy.

    He claims to be a herald of the people, stating that people should never be ruled but effectively rule themselves. Do what’s right, not what they are told to do. And yet, he forces anarchy on them. Nobody asked him to destroy civilization in Britain. He takes liberties he’s unwilling to grant to others.

    In the movie you have more of a people’s uprising. V does not force anything upon them, but he awakens them. And they get away to easily. In the comic V blames the people (and rightly so). Being from Germany, one of the main things I learned in school is how wrong it was for the WWII generation to claim that they never knew what was going on.

    Yet, here we have a population who was admittedly tricked into voting a fascist government, but who might very well have known what was going on when gays and muslims disappeared all of a sudden. In one scene with Stephen Fry as Gordon he makes a Benny-Hill-style parody of the leader of the fascists and all the people in front of the television smile knowingly. Likewise, they all know that their TV news are propaganda.

    Maybe I’m too harsh here, but these people should be blamed. Their inaction is the root of the problem, their government is just the manifestation of it. And yet, the movie spreads the positive message that, well, they didn’t really know and they were tricked, so we should cut them some slack.

    Sorry, but pulling your punches there, that’s just a cop out for me.

    As I said, a perfectly good movie, but I think its politics, as soon as you give some thought to it, is just too simple…

  12. Björn Says:

    Short clarification: With “the WWII generation” I’m refering to the general German population of that day and age.

  13. Andrew Foley Says:


    The political points Moore was trying to make weren’t reversed so much as they were ignored in favour of taking shots at the current American situation (a situation that deserves having shots taken at it and a change I personally didn’t mind), so unless one’s going with the broadest left/right view of the political spectrum, it’s not saying the same thing Moore’s V was.

    As far as the reversing goes, the entire V/Evey interaction was, to my mind, completely the opposite of what Moore wrote, and it’s right there in the opening voice-over, something along the lines of “Everyone else remembers the idea, but I remember the man.” Not in the comic, she didn’t.

    This doesn’t even really address the critical difference between the book and the movie, the one which reeks of Hollywood Producer lowest common denominator-ism, which I’m not going to go into here for fear of spoiling it.

    I’m not saying it was a bad or unenjoyable movie, mind you. I quite liked it and depending on my mood, I could even see that there are/will be occasions I like it better than the book. But it’s not saying anything close to what the book’s saying, from where I’m standing.


  14. David S. Says:

    I’m in agreement with the people who said that they understood why Alan Moore hated the film but can enjoy it in its own rights.

    While the “V tortures Evey” scene was slightly altered, I thought the central message remained intact: Love is love and should never be legislated nor repressed. My main problem with what comes after it is why V tortures her in the first place: he was grooming her to be his “sidekick” then his successor, emphasizing the story’s moral “You can kill a man/woman but you can’t kill an idea.” That message was watered down in the film IMHO!

  15. georgia Says:

    i love the movie it may be becoming one of my favorite movies




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