To be clear-cut, and upfront – this film works as an adaptation of its’ source material, but only just. And, it does work as a film on its’ own merits, although the changes that have been made do damage the story’s impact, quite a bit. It’s not that they’ve changed the story, as that’s par for the course in any adaptation – and some films are all the better for it, but what those changes are that concern me. Thematically, and in regards to certain characters, the film has made compromises that hinder, rather than help. The character of Adam Susan, in particular, is truncated beyond all recognition – ironically, played by John Hurt.
To be sure, there are more than a few brilliant scenes, interspersed throughout – and, the “Valerie” section of the film is the best example of this – and Hugo Weaving’s ‘V’ is a magnet in every scene he’s in. His performance alone deserves another paragraph (and, perhaps another entry altogether), by itself. But, at times it feels like the film was written by two guys who’d watched a couple of episodes of “The Thin Blue Line” to get that British rhythm down, and as a result, the word ‘bollocks’ is said several thousand times. This is kind of what Moore was talking about, before the film’s release, and the same problem pervades the film in other ways, as well.
Alan Moore’s (and David Lloyd’s, by extension) original graphic novel is one of the hallmarks of the medium, and one of the best pieces of speculative fiction written in the last fifty years – and a better example of what the film should’ve felt like would be “Children of Men.” As it stands, it’s a far better film than most of the adaptations of Moore’s work (including the most recent), and more than occasionally stirring. But, it does falter. Sometimes, verily.
I acknowledge that that last line was in no way a successful attempt at being witty.