Adapted from the Alan Moore graphic novel and subsequently disowned by him, the movie version of V For Vendetta was the latest disc to arrive from my online DVD rental service. In all, I thought it was a pretty good adaptation – faithful enough to the original, while cutting out some of the meandering that made the original comic a little trying. To be honest, it’s a hell of a lot better than any of the previous adaptations of Alan Moore’s work to the screen (From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and the whole dystopian future thing is kind of my bag anyway.
But there was something I found odd about the film and gave it an unexpectedly surreal slant. Despite knowing that the titular V was played by Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from The Matrix), the British accent he used reminded me of someone else – a familiar voice that I couldn’t quite place. It was only about an hour into the film that I realised who he sounded like – Rowan Atkinson. Given that V remains masked throughout the entire film, it became all too easy to believe that the rubber-faced funnyman was the man behind the mask and plotting to blow up parliament. Despite all the serious political points being made and the bombastic fight scenes, I kept expecting V to say that the tyrannical government was “madder than Mad Jack McMad, winnier of last year’s Mr Mad competition” or that the nationwide insurgency was nothing more than one of Baldrick’s ‘cunning plans’.
It didn’t ruin the film exactly, but perhaps gave it an edge that the film-makers didn’t anticipate. It made me wonder about the casting for the long-anticipated (or feared, depending on your viewpoint) movie adaptation of Moore’s Watchmen. Who are they going to get to play psychopathic vigilante Rorschach – Griff Rhys Jones?