Yeah, what she said ...
We watched V for Vendetta last night and while I found it to be a little uber-melodramatic at times, for the most part it was intriguing. I think Eva nailed it with her critique, which I offer to you now:
After the first half hour I dismissed V for Vendetta as 1984 for theatre geeks, but after watching it in its entirety, I have come to the conclusion that is beyond that. It is most definitely a homage to 1984, and the theatre comes into play mainly because the movie is based on a comic book, and relied on the flamboyancy of both the media of theatre and comics.
Almost instantaneously, we encounter the same motifs; a repressive government, anonymity of this government’s threats, interpersonal relationships forged through a shared disdain for the current system and tested by different ideals of its correction. We even encounter some of the same visuals, large central networks on huge television screens in every home and every town-square, all broadcasting propaganda.
The main difference between this movie and 1984 was not the medium in which it was distributed, nor the different media used to spread revolution (which in 1984 was much quieter.) The main difference is the era in which it was written.
Orwell was a socialist who became disillusioned with the movement from what he saw being done under its name in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The writers of the original graphic novel V for Vendetta were Brits, disillusioned not only with their government but that of the United States, which it closely mirrored. At least in name, these governments professing socialism were left wing, and this is one of the key differences between the two. In V for Vendetta the government is quite right wing, abhorring Islam and homosexuality, whereas in 1984, sexuality and religion as wholes were punished, leaving everyone equal in risk of persecution.
Another difference was the length of time between the publishing dates and the setting of the dystopian fiction. 1984 took place over 40 years after its publication, whereas Vendetta gave about 30 years in the graphic novel and less than 20 in the film. Vendetta shows a more eminent future, not only in the timeline but because of the issues at the centre of the plots. Communism was not terribly widespread. With except of Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland and East Germany, it was fairly contained to the USSR, China and Cuba. However, the right wing Judaeo-Christian ideologies as exemplified by some lobbyists and politicians in the United States and factions of Great Britain are being used to “rebuild” the Middle-East, potentially leading to the wider spread of these ideologies as practices.