Wed 29 Mar 2006
OK. V for Vendetta. Let’s just crack that one open right from the get-go. Half of my friends seem to have hated it. Me? Loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Yeah, there are some differences from the book – a couple of characters compressed into one, some alterations to the precise mechanics of the ending, some things stated more overtly because a movie doesn’t have time for the subtlety of a trade paperback – but the fascist UK of the book is the fascist UK of the movie, the Evey of the book is the Evey of the movie and the V of the book is the V of the movie. I could find nothing to really complain about. Now, as I said, I can name at least two friends who just loathed it through-and-through. So, YMMV, as always. However, without saying anything more for fear of spoiling it, I think that if you liked the book you’ll like the movie. I think you’ll like the movie even if you’ve never read the book. And, having seen the movie, I have discovered over the course of conversations after that two friends had never read the book and have, as a result, gifted them with copies of it because, in all seriousness, everyone should read V for Vendetta. Then they should go see the movie.
The other big thing is season finale of Battlestar Galactica. Holy crap. More thoughts below the fold to prevent spoilers.
So… wow. They just took “space” out of the mix. Completely changed the storyline. Jumped ahead a whole year and wildly changed the relationships between characters. Still, nothing in there no one could see coming. Preggers Callie? Check. The Chief as the leader of a striking trade union? Total check. Starbuck as the worrisome wife of a hot moron? Yeah, sadly, check. Baltar as a complete idiot? Pulse check if you didn’t see that one coming. The return of the Cylons? Oh yes. Definite check. Paunchy Apollo? An amusing check. The thing that’s shocking isn’t what happened to any individual, it’s that they so abruptly and completely ripped out the set-piece underpinnings of the story and stripped it down to its bare essence: desperation, fragile survival, questions of duty and the relationships strained (and formed) by those factors. This is Ron Moore giving the finger to the vast majority of sci-fi and saying, Hey, guess what? You don’t need big space battles to tell a gripping story about those things.
And you know what? I think it’s awesome. It took me weeks to work up the will to watch the finale and in part that was because I figured it would be another Space Battle To Be Continued which, really, can only happen so many times before it is just completely done. This? This has me excited. It has me curious. It has me wanting more sooner rather than later. He just took all the components of the story and shook them around in a big can and then dumped it on the floor so that he could put it back together again in a new and different way. I don’t doubt there are people turned off by that, but I think it’s brave and noble to try to turn a show on its head rather than sink into a third season that could all too easily have felt like more of the same. When they ran the really inexcusably weak “personal story-arc” episodes this season (I’m thinking of the episodes about Scar and the black market, specifically), I was afraid the show had mounted its motorcycle and started looking for sharks. It was tired and done and too deep in the rut of your average weekly drama.
This? Different and surprising and a little scary. I love it.