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V for Vendetta - Blu-ray DVD / action DVD review
V FOR VENDETTA Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt
Director: James McTeigue   Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD release: 20 May 2008   Runtime: 132 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features:Audio tracks (Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French (Parisian, Quebec), Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese), Subtitles (English, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Portugese, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese), 1080p/VC-1 (480p/i/MPEG-2 - Supplements Only), Director's Notebook, Designing the Near Future, Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, England Prevails: V for Vendetta and the New Wave in Comics, Freedom! Forever!: Making V for Vendetta, Saturday Night Live digital short, Cat Power montage, Theatrical trailer

In 1988, DC comics' Vertigo label released V for Vendetta in a 10-issue limited series. It was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd, so of course I bought it. I was a fan of Moore's work in other comics such as Swamp Thing and Watchmen.

I can compare the film to the comic scene by scene, but I feel that's not the way to go. The faithful translation of book or comic to film is impossible (heck, look at Garfield). The film is more thoughtfully done that one might expect, though not quite to the level of the comic. There I go comparing again; I'm afraid it's impossible to turn my memories off.

Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) is a television production assistant in a dystopian London of the not-too-distant future. V (Hugo Weaving) is a Guy Fawkes-mask wearing vigilante who saves Evey's neck (and more) when government "fingermen" catch her out after curfew and prepare to punish her in nasty ways. After her assailants are bloodied and left for dead, V whisks Evey off to show her a special treat: the explosion of the Old Bailey to the tune of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Later V runs into Evey again at her workplace when he stops by to broadcast his message to all that he'll take over where Guy Fawkes left off in 1605 by blowing up Parliament.

The remainder of the film details other portions of V's plan to overthrow the evil government and the government investigation into who V is and how to stop him. There are a couple of action/fighting scenes with the usual blood squirting 20 feet and such. That part is perhaps par for the course when you know that the film was produced by Matrix/Die Hard producer Joel Silver. V for Vendetta was scripted by The Matrix's Wachowski brothers and directed by James McTeigue, and I believe they did an admirable job. It's not a perfect adaptation of the comic, but again, that kind of translation is difficult. I think that those who enjoy this film will look into the source material and be pleased. In fact, I think I'll re-read it myself.

The one-disc set has a minimum of extra features, a nice option for those who often skip them. For the "I want more" crowd, there's the two-disc special edition with more features. For the "I want it all" crowd, there's a two-disc collector's edition with a Guy Fawkes mask and four lobby cards. I secretly want the mask version.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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