The movie V for Vendetta, based on the comic of the same name, can be seen as an adaptation to the book 1984 by George Orwell. In V for Vendetta, it portrays a society, similar to our own, albeit in the future, where it is ruled by an autocratic leader. Throughout the movie, the character “V” hides behind a mask of Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up England’s parliament building on November 5th, 1605. The movie uses camera angles, lighting, and music to create a mood for the audience, therefore enhancing the movie experience for the viewer.
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During the scenes with Chancellor Sutler on the screen, his face is zoomed in, which gives the allusion of him being larger than life, rather than a human being. The closeups were done to give an effect of fear towards the people of London, and also to the viewers of this movie. This is effective because his features are so zoomed in, the viewer becomes afraid of him, thus effectively portraying Sutler as the villain of the movie.
Also, during a specific scene, the movie flashes between Valerie’s story and Evey’s current predicament. In the scenes that show Valerie’s story, the lighting is very warm and has a yellow colour tone. This gives the audience a feeling of happiness and hope, but as the scene continues, the lighting becomes darker, which shows a change in emotion of the characters. In comparison, the lighting and colour in Evey’s story is more of a blueish/greyish colour, which represents the situation that she is currently in, since she is being incarcerated and tortured.
Scenes that also have this contrast in colour are the scenes in the office or the government, and the scenes in V’s “Shadow Gallery.” The lighting used in the scenes that are in government/office buildings is very clinical, and has a blue/grey coloured lighting to represent the government as being cold and unfeeling. The lighting in V’s “Shadow Gallery” has a warmer tone, which illustrates a comforting feeling. Throughout the movie, the colours that are worn by Sutler and his party are red and black, which are extremely sharp colours. These colours also represent death, which is how the film makers want the audience to represent Sutler and his party. The use of colour further depicts Sutler and his party as the antagonists.
The music used in this movie helps create a mood during the scenes. During the suspenseful scenes, the background music helps encourage these feelings of distress. An example of this is when V introduces himself to Evey, and while he rambles on in alliteration, there is a suspenseful classical piece playing in the background which helps create a specific mood. As V speeds up his words, the music also accelerates and becomes more exciting until V carves his name into the poster, thus leading to the end of the music because it has reached its climax. Music is also used to symbolize the situation that the characters are in. One of the songs that was featured in V for Vendetta is the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky that plays twice in the movie. The song is first played when V demolished the “Old Bailey,” and also when the Parliament building is destroyed. This song was written by Tchaikovsky to commemorate Russia’s defence against Napoleon’s troops. This song is also used frequently in Fourth of July celebrations, which celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Britain by the US. In comparison, the Parliament Building was demolished in order to represent the people’s rebellion against Sutner and his autocratic government. After the destruction of the building, the explosions end with fireworks. This could be compared to the Fourth of July celebrations, where citizens of the United States light fireworks and the usage of the 1814 Overture. This particular piece gives Americans connotations, in which the way V is rebelling against Sutler is similar to the Americans rebelling against the British.
The factors stated above help to enhance the viewer’s impression of the movie, since it gives the movie more depth. Also, since V wears a mask throughout the whole movie, the director needs to show V’s emotions through the lighting of the scene and the voice and body language of Hugo Weaving (the actor who played V). This was done well, for although the audience does not see V’s expression, the viewer feels his emotions over his situation with Evey and society. In my opinion, V for Vendetta is a good film in terms of its ability to convey a mood to the audience through images, lighting, camera angles, and music.
This movie was original made to be an adaptation of the comic book of the same name. The movie does not serve directly as an adaptation of 1984, but it does contain similar themes and imagery. In V for Vendetta, both societies have the theme of physical control and the control of information. Both texts contains a government arrest and torture people if they go against the government or if they are different. They are sent to detention centres, where they are tortured and are medically experimented upon. Similarly in 1984, the police government tortures and brainwashes anyone who believes against the ideals of Big Brother and the Party.
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Both texts use technology to control their citizens. V for Vendetta has cameras everywhere in order to conduct mass surveillance over the citizens, which is comparable to how the “telescreens” watched over the citizens in 1984. In both 1984 and V for Vendetta, the information given to the public is written by the government, and all information is censored. For example, both Winston and Evey work in a place where information is falsified by the government (Winston in the Ministry of Truth and Evey in the BTN), which is why they both do not believe the information given out by the government. 1984 and V for Vendetta both have televisions or “telescreens” in the homes of the people, where the government broadcasts their propaganda 24/7. In 1984, posters and pictures of Big Brother are everywhere, which is eerily similar to what occurs “V for Vendetta” because the pictures of Adam Sutler that are hung on the walls of people’s homes. One of the main slogans that was predominantly featured in 1984 is “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” It is similar to the slogan of the government in V for Vendetta, “Strength through Unity, Unity through Strength” which is also displayed all over London.
A difference between 1984 and V for Vendetta is when Evey is tortured by the “government” into betraying V. Although we see that V was the one who was behind the torment of Evey, she does not give in and betray him. On the other hand, in 1984, both Winston and Julia betray each other during their imprisonment. This change in storyline led to Evey becoming apart of the cause, in terms of overthrowing the government. Winston and Julia’s actions in 1984 led to their mutual downfall, and the end of their plans for deposing Big Brother and the government. This change in the storyline led to a different ending in V for Vendetta, in comparison to 1984.
What is different between the 1984 and V for Vendetta is the approach of the main characters in conducting a revolt against the government. In 1984, the main characters Winston and Julia revolt against the government by being passive by simply breaking the rules set forth by the government. The main character in V for Vendetta use violence to obtain results and reaches out to the citizens in order to achieve his goal in revolting against the government. V also helps achieve his main goal through violence. By changing the tactics in V for Vendetta, the citizens overthrew the government, thus having the movie end happily, unlike what happened in 1984. In 1984, the novel ends with the main characters brainwashed and the government succeeds in stopping the rebellion. These changes were effective because it gives the audience feelings of hope for society in the future. This is different from what occurred in 1984 because it does not have an optimistic ending. In 1984, the brainwashing of Winston and Julia shows that a government cannot be stopped once it is in power, though the results varied due to the different tactics used by the protagonists.
The main message in both texts is to warn society against totalitarianism. It shows that if society allows a totalitarian government to rule, there would be no freedom. This is one of the biggest themes in both 1984 and V for Vendetta, and serves as the backdrop for both stories. In conclusion, although the ending is extremely different, V for Vendetta is a fairly good adaptation of 1984 in terms of its similarities in themes, storyline (at least in the beginning), the use of technology and imagery.
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