I've (finally) just been to see V for Vendetta at the cinema. Rather liked it, but as predicted it's a bit of a mish-mash between an ideas film and an action film. It helped to have read the Moore/Lloyd graphic novel before going to see it.
1. V doesn't take his mask off, although they skip the "Evey takes the mask off to reveal..." bit from the book.
2. They keep Valerie's letter intact and do it pretty well, which is probably the heart of the film.
3. They don't whitewash V as a liberation fighter.
4. They don't go for the Norsefire hierarchy machinations in the book.
5. They keep a lot of V's sermons/monologues in there which Hugo Weaving deals with well (brave of him to wear a mask for the entirety of the film, now that's selfless acting).
6. Natalie Portman isn't terrible, although there's a few scenes where she's ropey but that's because she's quite obviously trying to keep a handle on the accent.
7. A veritable Who's Who of British/Irish "Hey It's That Guy!"s: Stephen Rea, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rupert Graves, Sinéad Cusack, Ben Miles and John Standing (oh, and Stephen Fry and John Hurt).
1. They cocked up the ending something rotten.
2. They didn't really get across the build-up to the scene outside Parliament (and, if V's promise is such a threat to the Government, why did they only have two cops working on the case?) Finch's "I went to Larkhill and had a feeling" narration felt like a bad trailer-style montage.
3. John Hurt + Big Screen = 1984.
4. They keep "Norsefire" as the name of the fascist party. Yeah, right. When we get fascism, it'll be under something like "the Freedom Party".
5. The Deitrich "Sutler satire" show would have been pulled immediately by the powers that be, not shown in full (it also went on for far too long), the police would also have been keeping his house under watch for Evey.
6. No mention (or at least, that I can remember) of the A word: anarchism.
7. They got the Britishness bit pretty right up until the point where Finch goes "don't touch that lev-ver". Unless that's how half-Irish policemen say it?*
Overall, I think it reinforces my view that films don't really do political philosophy that well, it's too wordy for an action film and the constraints of film mean that it's unable to fully explore the issues raised. It all makes sense having read the graphic novel, but I can imagine for someone who hasn't it's a bit like seeing the Lynch version of Dune for the first time: impressive but confusing. The ending definitely sucks though.
*Yes, I know Rea, who plays Finch, is from Northern Ireland.