While I'm still getting more than five hits a day to this site, one of the changes/additions I'm contemplating for the Shrine is a new area for the Analysis section titled, appropriately, "Vox Populi".
Basically, it'd be an (almost) open call for anyone who wants to share their thoughts about Vendetta. You'd submit your writings to me and I'd post them online. Now, there are several conditions to this:
1) Submission does not guarantee inclusion. I'm judge, jury, and webmaster so I reserve the right to decide whether I want to put something on it.
2) It would have to be about THE COMICBOOK. I'd be willing to allow comparisons between the comic and the movie, but as my site is primarily concerned with the comic--and since the analysis section has been focused on just that--I intended to keep that. Anybody who wants to write solely about the movie will have to look elsewhere.
3) Proper grammar, spelling, and essay format will be required. No haXX0r-speak or anything that you can't be bothered run through Microsoft Word's spellcheck function. (Like I don't do whenver I post to this blog, for example.) Essay format means a formal introduction, then your points supported with examples, then a conclusion. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for a New York Times editorial, but considering this would be for posterity (or at least until the Internet explodes), I want you to look your best.
4) Submissions should be 250 - 750 words. I'd be willing to consider longer analysis, but it A) better be damn good and B) better not be some manifesto in disguise. CRITICAL analysis is paramount, not hyperbole or rhetoric.
5) Don't reiterate what's already written. We all know Norsefire is a fascist government so there's really no need to launch into a three-page missive about how it has similarities to Nazi Germany. And we all know that V tortures Evey to show her "the truth", so there's no need to spend time on that either. What's in the Analysis section hardly covers all the ground, but it hits mosts of the basics. I don't see any point in having five or six other essays that say the same thing.
6) Beyond that, it's fair game. Criticisms are welcomed as much as kudos. If you find significant reasons to compare V for Vendetta to Yellow Submarine, send it in. (I may not print it, but I'd sure as hell would want to read it.) I get lots of responses to my Terrorism essay, so here's everyone's chance to rebuke or support, or take a new spin on it completely.
7) Did I mention I have final say in what gets posted and submission does not guarantee publication? Because I HAVE FINAL SAY IN WHAT GETS POSTED AND SUBMISSION DOES NOT GUARANTEE PUBLICATION NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU BEG, PLEAD, THREATEN, OR BRIBE. (Actually, on second thought, I'm open to all forms of bribery so you can try that one.) If you submission fails to meet the above criteria, it'll be automatically junked. But beyond that, everything will be read and considered. Bottom line: if you do submit, don't take it personally if I chose not to add it to my site. If it's well-written and well-thought, you can be certain of having an excellent shot of seeing it put up on my site.
So there you go. Something you'd be interested in? Post a comment yea or nay and let's see what I can do.
Oh and that movie review y'all been asking about? It's coming, I swear. Really. Would I lie?
Box Office Mojo reports that V for Vendetta fell 52% this past weekend for a second-week gross of $12.3 million. This puts Vendetta's total box office gross at $46.2 million in 10 days. According to the web site, the movie's drop is on par with other second-week performances of movies based on comicbooks that opened in the spring (ie: Sin City and Hellboy.)
V for Vendetta scored $5.3 million over the weekend from poor holds and small openings. Scandinavia has been the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak foreign campaign. The politically-charged thriller opened in first place in Norway and Finland, grossing $232,000 from 30 prints and $127,000 from 25 prints, respectively. Among holdovers, Sweden was the only nation to fall less than 40 percent--V eased 6 percent there for a $616,000 total. Other tallies include the U.K.'s $4.2 million, South Korea's $2.4 million and Germany's $1.9 million.
The movie's current worldwide total has now recouped production costs, although it is not known how much Warner Brothers spent in advertising. But from what Mojo reports, it's safe to say that final theater grosses plus DVD sales will keep the movie's bottom line in the black, if not necessarily blockbuster status.
Interestingly, compared to the other movies based of Alan Moore's work, the movie has domestically out-grossed From Hell ($31.6 million) but, despite much better reviews, looks to gross less than the universally panned League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ($66.4 million--although, to be fair, the movie did have a summer release).
The movie, the comic, the novel, the play, the puppet show
I'm geting a lot of questions from people regarding how they can get their hands on the comic--and plenty of confusion over what exactly is available.
As a primer to anyone who has seen the movie and wants to know the history of the comic, I refer you first to my V for Vendetta in Print page. This should give you a pretty decent amount of info on the history of the comic and why some people refer to different versions. but to summarize, V was printed in three formats:
1) Warrior Magazine. A comicbook anthology, Warrior was the initial home of the comic. V for Vendetta was serialized in this magazine in five - six page installments, throughout the magazine's 26 issue run. The pages were black and white, and the magazine is roughly the size of Rolling Stone magazine. Warrior ceased publication after issue 26, leaving Vendetta incomplete; the last issue ended with Evey discovering the truth about her inprisonment. If anybody ever says or offers you the entire story of V for Vendetta in black-and-white, they are either misionformed or outright lying.
Finding this issues is tricky--they were pretty rare collectibles even before the movie. You can probably find some or all of them on eBay but be prepared to pay for it.
2) The DC Comics run. This was a ten-issue limited series. The story was printed in color, and each issue was roughly 32 pages in length. Monthly comicbooks are roughly 8.5" by 11", so the story is printed in a slightly smaller format than Warrior The first seven issues reprinted the material that had appeared in Warrior, with new material as of issue 8. (Or maybe half-way through issue 7; my memory's hazy and I'm too lazy to dig out the comics to look.) This marks the first time the story was printed completely.
3) The Trade Paperback Edition. About a year after the tenth issue appeared, DC re-printed the entire story in one volume. It is this version that is the easiest to find, and is available in book stores and online retailers like Amazon.com. there is a hard and soft-cover version; the hard-cover version, recently released to tie-in with the movie, offers about two or three pages of additional sketches by David Lloyd. Otherwise, the editions are exactly the same.
NOTE: I have seen Amazon offer the individual issues as well as the collected edition, so pay attention to the solicitations before buying, in case you accidentally selectthe wrong thing. Also, you can find the individual issues (and the trade paperback) on eBay. They were going pretty cheap last I checked but the release of the movie may have inflated prices.
IN ADDITION TO the comics, there are other versions of the story, aside from the movie, that exist:
A) The novel. This is a prose novel, adapted from the Wachowski's screenplay, written by Steve Moore (no relation to Alan). This is not the original story, so if you buy it, remember you're buying an adaptation of the movie, not the source material.
B) The Play. About five or six years ago, there was a stage production of V for Vendetta in Stockholm, Sweden. You can read all the information I have on this on my website, over here. That page includes all the information I have on it, so please don't ask me for additional info, or any recordings of it because, sadly, I don't have it.
C) The Puppet Show. I was just kidding about the puppet show. Really. But if you feel like putting one together yourself, you know how to contact me about it.
This should be good news for Warner Brothers, not to mention Natalie Portman for securing the top box office spot in her first leading role, and James McTiegue for making his directorial debut a successful one.
I've gotten lots of requests for my own thoughts on the movie, but I'm sorry to say that I'm going to be staying quiet for now. I want to collect my thoughts first and present something cohesive, which means my own take on the movie probably won't be placed online until I complete the revision to the movie section of my site, which is roughly one to two weeks away.
Taking advantage of the traffic spike to see if I can get more information/attention on this:
Though the new movie is the first time a major studio has made a movie of V for Vendetta, it's not the first time V was put to film. Way back in 1984, a student film was made, roughly eight minutes long. The film was made by Mark Tinkler at Middlesex Polytechnic, and blended art with live-action sequences. It wasn't a full-story adaptation--the movie was only a few scenes from the comic which wasn't even completed at the time. It did utilize the music from David J's V for Vendetta EP. (which you can read more about here.)
If anybody has more information about this piece--or even better, in this day of broadband and YouTube, a copy of the film--then by all means send me a line at email@example.com. I'd love to add as much information about this film when I revise my Movie section.
If you give me a typewriter and I'm having a good day, I can write a scene that will astonish its readers. That will perhaps make them laugh, perhaps make them cry - that will have some emotional clout to it. It doesn't cost much to do that. But if you said, "Astonish the audience," and you gave me a quarter of a million - well, my auntie could astonish an audience if she got that much money! Real art and the things that actually change our culture tend to happen on the margins. They don't happen in the middle of a big marquee.
I know MTV has been airing a Vendetta-related special. Not sure about air times, but you can watch most of it--provided your browser has the Flash 8 plug-in and you can get the damn thing to work--over at MTV's Overdrive section. Just click on the "movies" link and you'll see the videos.
They move away from the movie fairly quickly, but it's fun to see Weaving and Portman play off each other, and once the prepared questions end the two ask eacother questions I haven't seen asked often elsewhere.
As you might already know, the movie website has exploded with content: interviews, pictures, VR set previews, and a host of behind-the-scenes information. I could spend half the day going through it all--and you bet I will--but here's what you should view in a nuthsell:
Sarah Horton, Art Director, discussing the Shadow Gallery and various other sets she worked on.
Sebastian Krawinkel, Art Director, discussing Larkhill and various other sets he worked on.
Henning Brehm, Graphic Designer, discussing the many graphics he designed for the Norsefire party, Valerie's shrine, the TV station, and the rest.
José Granell, Model Unit Supervisor, discussing blowing up Big Ben, Parliament, The Old Bailey, among other large UK buildings.
Nigel Stone, Model Unit Director of Photography, discussing what it takes to film miniatures, the challenges working with extremely fast frame rates, and, of course, blowing things up.
Nigel Trevessey, Model Shop Supervisor, discussing his hand in creating the models of Big Ben, Parliament, The Old Bailey, and then, as you might have guessed, blowing them up.
Chad Stahelski, Supervising Stunt Coordinator.
David Leitch, V Stunt Double/Assistant Stunt Coordinator, discussing doubling V, fight choreography, and how knives differ from guns.
Dan Glass, Visual Effects Supervisor, discussing Larkhill, blowing up the old Bailey and Parliament, among other key visual effects in the film. Click here.
Matt Johnson, VFX Supervision (Cinesite), discussing Victoria Station, multiple V's, and VFX day to day at a post house.
Thrain Shadbolt, VFX Supervision (Cinesite, 3D Department), discussing the digital creation of capes, knives, and thousands of V's.
Mark Bakowski, Sequence Supervisor (Cinesite 2D Department), discussing Victoria Station, the trails of a spinning knife, and the many grades of chocolatey blood.
Muriel Gerard, VFX Coordinator (Germany), discussing Victoria Station, working with Dan Glass, and the day to day behind coordinating VFX on a vast production.
David Appleby, Stills Photographer, discussing the lighting challenges of of photographing V, getting to know the mask, and working with the many actors in the film.
Barbara Berkery, Dialect Coach, discussing accents, language, and the various tricks to master the sound of them all.
Jean Bourne, Script Supervisor, discussing exactly what a Script Supervisor does, the need for vigilance in dealing with continuity, and how it was working with Director James McTeigue.
Two recent articles have appeared, in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, respectively.
The first article from the LA Times, titled P for Portman, publicity. It's a disappointingly brief article that reads a bit more like a publicity memo. On the one hand, it should be a no-brainer that Portman should be front-and-center when it comes to publicizing the movie, but given the fame of the Wachowski's--and the highly gossiped private life of Larry--the article reads like a missed opportunity to explore how you publicize a movie that involves an untested female lead (despite her popularity--especially among geekdom--this is Portman's first starring role) and highly provocative content.
The NY Times piece, The Vendetta Behind 'V for Vendetta' is more extensive; another article chronicling Alan Moore's refusal to be associated with the movie. If you're a comicbook fan or a "long-time" reader of this blog, you may not find anything new in this article, but you new visitors might find it interesting.
Mind you, the article mis-identifies The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen artist Kevin O'Neil as "John O'Neil"; when such a glarringly simple mistake is overlooked it makes you wonder what else might be wrong with the article. Still....
So, I decided to sneak a peek at my server logs whilst on my lunch hour.
Heh. Who knews my counter could go that high. I always wondered what would happen if my favorite comic got made into a high-publicity mainstream movie. Now I know.
Hi peoples. My home internet has been restored so check back by Sunday for more goodies and tidbits. And feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I've been getting more and more e-mails from people who like the movie but never read the comic. Keep it coming!
In case anyone's wondering why this section of my site's been dormant with only a few days to go before the movie's official premire, it's because I've been without an internet connection at home since Tuesday.
Then again, I don't feel too bad--the movie's website hasn't had an update in roughly a week so at least I'm in good company.
The interview with Sammy focuses mostly on the costume designs for V, the military, and Evey. Stephan's interview deals mainly with the creation of the Guy Fawkes mask. Both interviews are well worth reading; it's nice to get an in-depth look at the production side of the movie.
You can visit the movie's website to find the interviews, or to read them "out of frame", click here.
The interview took place at last month's New York Comic-Con. Not terribly revealing, but still worth hearing the story's co-creator's views on the movie. Please note, for those of you that haven't read the comic, that there is a major plot spoiler in the interview.
To be honest, the interview may not do much for non-Moore fans. In fact, I think Moore comes off a little bit . . . silly, and forcuses more on the image of Alan Moore than the talent. Despite a few (literally, two) talking heads, the interview doesn't do a great job in explaining why Alan Moore is considered, without hyperbole, to be one of the greatest comic writers ever, But if the movie has you interested in the comic, then this isn't too terrible a primer about Alan Moore. At the very least, it fully warns you what you'd be getting yourself into. :)
NOTE: As of 3/19/06, the video I link to above does not seem to work any more. If you're interested in seeing the BBC interview, try a youtube search for "Alan Moore", or perhaps another video sharing site might have it.
Just for the record, now that the movie's almost here, reviews are starting to come out like crazy from mainstream critics. I have no desire to post dozens upon dozens of reviews--firstly, that's to time consuming and boring as hell and, secondly, with a few exceptions they all tend to say the same thing, pro or con.
That said, since I'm sure some of you do like reading what any and every critic must think about the movie, I humbly direct you to rotten Tomatoes' V for Vendetta Page currently listing nine reviews, with more to come. (And a freshness raiting of 78%; not too shabby.)
You can also find a link to this page over in the Links section of this blog.
If you haven't heard of Alan's public divorce from the movie, odds are you'll get some recap of the event on the show. If, like me, you're a non-Englander, withg a little luck you'll find snippets of Moore's interview available online.