I Talk, You Listen.
Monday, May 16, 2005

O, Beauty. Til Now I Never Knew Thee!

So what have we learnt today?




I had just finished reading 'V for Vendetta'.

And now I'm doing some justice to it. Besides the fact that it was a rather good read, and deserves a lot more than a movie adaptation, the story was twisted but with very good underlying metaphors sitting around just waiting to be discovered. Alan Moore amazes me once again with his fluid storytelling and the graphics contributed by David Lloyd (although showing signs of age) conveyed the message with precise incision. Hey, give it some leeway; it's a 1988 comic book.

Below might be spoilers to some but it can also be taken lightly as me promoting the book to you. If you want a good nice 3 hours wasted sitting in front of the computer; I can gladly aid you in some digital .jpeg action. Ready? Perfect.

Tap your heels together 3 times and wish you were in Britain.

Set during the 90's, with the assumption that the Labour Party gained power in 1983 then the removal of all American missiles in the British soil (thus preventing Britain from becoming a major target in the event of nuclear war) Fascism takes over a post-holocaust Britain. Under a dictator, named 'The Head', 'Norsefire' controls Britain, always behind the veil of technology. Various other parts of the government, creatively named 'The Eye', 'The Ears' and 'The Finger' (you should know what they do by now) carry out all the dirty work to maintain order.

Fascism has been tried and failed in history. So, why did Alan Moore try to write about it again? Everything; the pros and cons of fascism can be clearly seen in Hitler's rule, or in some communist countries. Too much control given to one insane madman is never a good idea. A government or state that is under this kind of rule will not be able to advance much because living in an everything-that-belongs-to you-belongs-to-the-nation theory does not really work. It is in the human nature to want to have possessions of their own. Ah, but in 'V for Vendetta', the people of Britain are so blind that they do not know and cannot expect anything more because they are content with what they have and do not bother about what lies outside of their imaginary cages. Sounds like Matrix, doesn't it?

Or perhaps Plato's 'The Cave'?

So here you have the 'good guys'.

And now you will see the bad guy, "the black sheep of the family", as he calls himself.

At the starting pages of this three book read, you will be introduced to Evey Hammond, a young 16 year old working in 'munitions', that's weapons to you, who tries to whore herself to some men which turns out to be a big mistake when she finds out that they are 'Fingermen'. She tries to escape the policemen, but as in many damsel in distress situations like this, they try to rape her as they have the 'prerogative' to. News is that Natalie Portman will be playing Evey in the upcoming movie adaptation, so we shall see how well she flairs in this scene.

Now V is a mysterious character with a bizarre papier mache mask, cape and dons a conical hat. His entrance into the story echoes the likes of Batman, where a dark-shadowy character appears out of thin air to save the maiden. One nice touch Alan added to V was that he quotes from literature and speaks in riddles. Your preconception of a common one-dimensional rebel vanishes as you realize that V has thoughts and opinions the same as everyone else and not a common Dr. Evil. This is what Alan is good at doing. His characters have depth.

Remember 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'? No, not the movie, it does no justice to the book at all. For example, in the second volume of TLOEG, know that The Invisible Man died ass-raped by Mr. Hyde. And that was because The Invisible Man drowned Mina Harker (The Vampire) in her own vomit when she found out that The Invisible Man made a pact with the invading Martians. Something to chew on, huh?

Well, back to V.

Movie previews indicate that the movie will be futuristic, with a background for a pretty grim, bleak and totalitarian future. I think it would lose it's originally if they try to recreate an 'I Robot' atmosphere. What is depicted in the graphic novel is astonishing - it looks like a 1950s-black-sedan-jukebox-gigantic-computers-communist-soldiers-railway-tracks-spiral-stairs-concentration-camps-westminster-abbey Britain all set in 1997. Maybe David and Alan were actually trying to predict a high-tech future for the 90's but with their meager knowledge of rapid technology, they couldn't. Or, they purposely neglected technological advancement since this is a fascist country and the nuclear war just ended. Figures.

I particularly like how V kills his foes. After each murder, he will leave behind a 'Violet Carson' rose and his unforgettable 'V' insignia. Sometimes, as he kills he will recite a Shakespearean or biblical verse or even puts Beethoven's Fifth, which tempo is cleverly disguised as a Morse code for 'V' - that reflects exactly or metaphorically what he is doing. The way he kills them is cruel but you have to give him ten stars for style. And as to not reveal too much as to why and how his systematic killing and the eventual freedom of Britain from the totalitarian grip, I will not spread myself too thin any further.

After reading this for a few days, I still wonder that if Malaysia is controlled by a communist party and we still have this kind of 'lepak' mentality around kids these days, would we still survive as a nation. Sure, we are gifted with the likes of capable leaders like Tunku Abdul Rahman, but what if Chin Peng took over after the British left us in the dawn of WWII? Then we shall have sweet potato food rations, 10pm curfews, concentration camps for the rehab of religious martyrs and although some female compadres will beg me not to mention - common toilets. Now, aren't you happy you're not living in a world like V?

Political issues like when royalties fall and when order is amassed into chaos is addressed here as Alan weaves a chronicle of fear, spoon-fed lies and the British way of innovative bollocks. But beware, do not bring your children to this one. Unless they tone down the violence and sex and wife-abuse scenes for the movie, I think little Johnny might have a better time watching Teletubbies with the maid at home.

Oh, yeah, and Natalie Portman will get abused, put behind bars, made to suffer and shaved bald if all is in order.

Goodnight England. Goodnight Home Service. This is the Voice of Fate signing off.

England prevails.

That's what we've learnt today.

(Ps. You might have heard me mentioning: 'Remember the fifth of November'. Do some research of your own here. Then join me as I go blow up the Parliament next week.)
posted by onions at 00:34

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