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initial impression of "V for Vendetta"

Very clever of Hugo Weaving to get away from his face's being typecast as "Mr. Smith" by doing his next role entirely behind a mask.

I overall liked the movie although I thought it tried to do a bit too much. That is, I felt covered with a lot of loose ends afterward. And I didn't like the ending - I understand that they had to do something for the entertainment of all those people who showed up (as kyubi said to me afterward), but it's not like the whole thing was the building's fault.

And of course there were plot holes large enough to drive tube cars through, but that's typical of the genre.

I am suspicious of action movies that purport to contain political messages, because I think watching an action movie is cathartic and bleeds off anger, and so doesn't reinforce the urge a person might have to actually take political action. So despite all the political trappings of this movie, I have to recommend it as entertainment only.

Oh yeah - as far as I recall, it doesn't pass the Bechdel Ginger Benchmark. [sigh]


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 24th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
Your comments imply that you haven't read the original. The explosions are all canonical. (There is an exchange missing in V's death sequence wherein he asks Evey to give him a Viking funeral; gridlore and I are split on whether or not its lack is felt.)

I'm intrigued by your take on Hugo Weaving in this role. I've never felt he was typecast, personally. He's been in six movies that have become a seemingly inextricable part of modern culture; being a fan of both series probably affects my view of his career. (And I'm dissolving into handwaving at this point, and can't really spend that much time at work making that turn into words, so I'll stop now. *grin*)
Mar. 24th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
Except for this postscript. ;-)
No, it doesn't pass the Bechdel Test. I don't feel it's lacking as a film as a result - but again, I have more familiarity with the original material than it seems you do.
Mar. 24th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Except for this postscript. ;-)
I like a lot of movies that don't pass the benchmark, but it's important to me to keep aware of which ones do and which don't, if only to track a tiny portion of my own sexist conditioning.

I'm going to read the original soon. I didn't want to read it before seeing the movie, because when I do that, I spend most of my time being annoyed at the movie for not being like the novel.
Mar. 24th, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Except for this postscript. ;-)
I understand both your points here. It's actually been long enough since I read the comics that I only had vague impressions going into the movie.
Mar. 24th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
I do think that he had a lot of overcoming (in terms of being typecast to do). In evidence, I submit that *HUGE* number of jokes that went around the internet that spoofed him delivering Agent Smith dialogue in Lord of the Rings in the scenes containing Elrond. A lot of people on my friends list and among my in person friends said that that's all they could think of whenever he was on-screen, as well, and I heard people in the theatre whispering, 'Mr. Anderson,' after his lines.

I'm not sure that appearing in a mask will help that, though. But the terribleness of the sequels seem to have knocked The Matrix down several pegs in the "cultural icon" stakes, so maybe time will do the job.
Mar. 24th, 2006 09:20 pm (UTC)
I definitely haven't read the original; my impressions are based only on the movie itself.

I can't look at Hugo Weaving in LoTR without thinking "Mr Smith"; maybe I'm the only one.
Mar. 24th, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
epi_lj's comment would belie that theory. I get occasional flashes of Agent Smith in Elrond's speeches, but not so thorough or so often to detract from his portrayal. Obviously I'm in the minority here. ;-)

And this isn't to say that things like agentelrond or some of the various userpics out there don't make me giggle (I'm thinking of "Oh, god, I showed up in the wrong costume again, didn't I?"). But it's not the fullness of my experience.

(Of course, one of these years I'm finally going to get around to seeing Priscilla, Queen of the Desert</a> and really break my brain. *grin*)
Mar. 24th, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)
Definitely see it; it's delightful.
Mar. 25th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
Like this userpic here?
Mar. 25th, 2006 05:11 am (UTC)
Mar. 25th, 2006 01:35 am (UTC)
I only sometimes get the "Mr. Smith" thing - but I've only seen one of the Matrix movies all the way through, the first; I've seen maybe half of the third, and - barely any of the second. Still, when he says "Welcome to Rivendell," I always hear "... Mister Baggins."
Mar. 25th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)
hee! I like the 2d Matrix movie better than the 3d...not that I am suggesting you bother to watch it. Mostly 'cos the scenes with the "Merovingian" character are good eye candy.
Mar. 24th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
Bechdel Ginger Benchmark
Google didn't help me with defining the Bechdel Ginger Benchmark, but did make me think it may have something to do with lesbians in cartoons.

Now i'm more curious.
Mar. 24th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Bechdel Ginger Benchmark
Hmph - Wikipedia doesn't have an article on it. Oh, wait - they call it the "Mo Movie Measure," which isn't nearly as impressive-sounding, on the bottom of this page.

"one, it has to have at least two women in it, who
two, talk to each other about,
three, something besides a man."
Mar. 24th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Bechdel Ginger Benchmark
It's sometimes called that, but it's not really correct because Mo wasn't in the strip where it originally appeared (Ginger was).
Mar. 25th, 2006 03:17 am (UTC)
Re: Bechdel Ginger Benchmark
I don't think that's Ginger.
1. It's from an era in which none of the eventually recurring characters was around.
2. She just looks wrong: body type, face, mannerisms; none says Ginger to me. Bechdel's style has changed over time, but early characters still look like later ones to me.
3. Parsimoniously, I think the blog post I linked would say so if she were. It just says "not Mo" instead of "that's Ginger, you dork."
Mar. 25th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
Re: Bechdel Ginger Benchmark
Thanks for finding the actual strip, I looked briefly but wasn't able to turn it up.

Hmph. Now what am I going to call it?
Mar. 25th, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Bechdel Ginger Benchmark
I use "Dykes to Watch Out For Test" though it is clunky. If you find something better, I'd love to hear it.
Mar. 26th, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Bechdel Ginger Benchmark
I call it the Bechdel Benchmark.
Mar. 24th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Bechdel Ginger Benchmark
The Wiki link elynne gave you fails to include the punchline of that particular strip - which notes that the last movie the character was able to watch was Aliens...where the two women talk to each other about the monster.

/me needs a DTWOF icon.
Mar. 24th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Ask and you shall receive...
Much obliged! I didn't have the luxury of time enough to go looking for those posts while I'm still at work...I'll pick an icon at my leisure this evening.
Apr. 1st, 2006 06:40 am (UTC)
I'm wondering if I have a different attitude to Hugo Weaving and Agent Smith because I'm Australian. I'd seen him in quite a few things, and particularly noticed him in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

So by the time I saw The Matrix, it was "oh, that's Hugo Weaving", whereas I imagine for a lot of non-Australians, that's the first thing they ever saw him in, and he became Agent Smith. It is a very memorable role, and he does play it well, but I much prefer having known him as an actor well beforehand.
Apr. 1st, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)

I saw Priscilla before Matrix, but it had been a sufficiently long time (and I'm sufficiently bad at remembering actors) that I didn't recognize Weaving.
Apr. 1st, 2006 07:46 am (UTC)
Well, that at least answers my idle wondering whether Priscilla was released outside Australia before Weaving became famous. But I can see that if Priscilla was the only thing you'd seen him in previously, he'd probably not stick. Whereas if one had seen him in other stuff, and then Priscilla, then I think he sticks :-).

I was just idly wondering about the fact that from the point of view of The Matrix having Agent Smith played by a skilled actor with a distinctive voice and look, but unfamiliar to the majority of the audience, is a huge advantage, but from the point of view of Hugo Weaving, not so much.

Back to topic - I did actually see V for Vendetta last weekend and was going to write a review. I didn't explicitly think of the Bechdel test, but I did notice the relative lack of women - in some sense, Natalie Portman is carrying a heck of a burden, and it might have been nice to share the load a bit.

(Oh, overall, I liked it, very much so, I think.)
Apr. 1st, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC)
in some sense, Natalie Portman is carrying a heck of a burden, and it might have been nice to share the load a bit.

Well said, yeah.

Look forward to your review!
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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