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Scott Pilgrim Review #1: The Books
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When last I wrote about Brian Lee O’Malley’s pop-culture phenom, I wrote, on end, about the books. Still, you can’t just be a series of books and continue to be a pop-culture phenom, as the Twilights, Harry Potters, and, uh, Jurassic Parks of the world have shown us. In mid-August, Scott Pilgrim leapt off the page and onto the silver screen, both gaining and losing some luster in the process.
To start, no, it’s not exactly like the comic. Some of the fights are different. Some of the characters matter more or less and some are omitted outright. The ending in particular is markedly different, though still retains the redemptive tone of the books’ ending. This is all to be expected when you’re adapting any work of literature for film. You have a little over two hours to work with - you can’t be expected to recreate everything.
It’s hard to say if the changes made were for the better. It’s a bit of a 50/50 split. For instance, Kim Pine is relegated to more of a background character, as is Envy Adams. Both are supremely integral in the books, while in the movie they are merely set pieces, Envy in particular. Subspace is, somehow, less explained in the film than in the book where it got one line of explanation. The story is compacted and impacted by these changes.
Not to say they were all bad, of course. Kim and Envy suffered, but Stephen Stills, Young Neil, and especially Knives Chau are much better characters in the film. I also feel the film did a better job with a few of the fights, including the final battle. If you read my book review, you know I thought the theme of the film was the Scott Pilgrim was a dick, but a repentant dick, and I feel that entire theme comes across cleaner, if not stronger, in the film.
Of course, you could have made a sequel to the Toxic Avenger and I would have watched it with Edgar Wright directing. I firmly believe he’s, if not the best then, the most exciting director in cinema today. He is just a master of cinematography, quick cuts, and, above all, timing. Toss in a killer soundtrack, some pretty impressive visuals, and some not-too-shabby acting (someone give Kieran Culkin an award. Like, an MTV Movie Award or something) and you’ve got a movie that, while not a box office smash, is sure to be a cult hit for years to come.
Like the books, the film’s plot is fairly solid. You’ve got the classic hero’s journey in video game slacker nerd form. While the ending is a bit odd and there is a lot of character development left to the viewer’s imagination, the lack of certain elements doesn’t harm the film outright. It’s not as good plot-wise, but then if you want to go see a movie for its intense plot, go rent Doubt or something.
I don’t hate Michael Cera. I love Michael Cera. He is awesome and Cera-haters can suck it. He pulls off a fairly apt Scott, though it’s not the voice I always had in my head. Still, it’s believable. All the kids play their roles well, some better than others. Of course, as with the book, any Wallace Wells appearance is sure to steal the show.
I will [EXPLETIVE DELETED] Edgar Wright’s [EXPLETIVE DELETED] right now for free. Make me into a manwoman so I can have your directorially genius babies.
Final Thoughts 4/5
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the movie based on the graphic novel “Scott Pilgrim” by Bryan Lee O’Malley (based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire) is a comedic thrill-ride with a touching side to it as well. You can turn your mind off and absorb the fighting fun for two hours and, with any luck, you’ll pick up on the subtext. After that, hopefully you’ll see the Oni Press ad in the credits and pick up the books.
I need this on DVD... NOW.
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