Well, I finally got around to watching the Scott Pilgrim movie – Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – a good year or so after it was released. What took me so long? I was waiting until I finished the books, naturally. I like to do that – watch the movie version of a book, right after I finish the book. It’s like I get to see Hollywood’s visualization of the story after I’ve just spent days or weeks or months visualizing the whole thing in my own head. Generally, it’s a good experience. I recommend it! 🙂
And it’s a good thing I waited until I’d finished the whole series, because this movie somehow manages to pack the entire thing (6 volumes, roughly 1000 pages) into one film – and rather successfully, I might add.
Now I know that movies based on books never really follow the printed story line 100% -and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is no exception. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they followed it fairly closely – until the end at least. I can never quite figure out why movie-makers make the changes they do when bringing a book to the big screen – but of course, I’m no movie director either. I just have to trust that the digressions were absolutely necessary.
I have no doubt that it must be a daunting task (and one fraught with danger) to turn a beloved book into a movie. The fans love the story dearly, and will be your harshest critics or greatest champions. But I will say that I think the producers of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World did a pretty decent job of preserving all the things we love about this story, while still molding it into something that could possibly enjoy box office succes.
One of the things the producers did an excellent job of was bringing the video game aesthetic over into the live action world. Starting with the 8-bit Universal Pictures theme in the opening credits, this film is chock full of references and homages (is that a word?) that anyone who’s ever owned anything by Nintendo will appreciate. Furthermore, the digital dalliances into meatspace are seamlessly executed, making the special effects as believable as they really could possibly be.
The casting was also pretty good, I thought. While I didn’t really recognize anyone but Michael Cera (as a somewhat subdued Scott Pilgrim – he didn’t freak out enough) and Aubrey Plaza (April from Parks and Recreation – I lurv her), everyone did a fine job of acting, and pretty accurately captured the essence of their respective characters. The soundtrack, which is kind of an important part of the story (Scott is in a band), was also fun and energetic – and well chosen.
Perhaps my one complaint is that the movie got a little l o n g in the middle, as Scott was battling his way through Ramona’s 7 evil exes. Seven! That’s a lot of bad guys for one film, and it would be tough for anyone to keep that whole gauntlet interesting. Hell, the books even got a little monotonous there in the middle.
Also, it seemed like the Envy and Kim story lines were sort of left hanging, which might not bother casual viewers, but that was a rather important chapter in the books, and I was kind of left wondering what happened there. I’m pretty sure this was just a matter of paring out some of the sub-plots for the sake of time. Understandable.
For the record, the final battle also diverged quite a bit from the comics – which bugged me a little – but I was pleased enough with the rest of the movie that it didn’t ruin it for me.
Of course, all my opinion is coming from the perspective of one who has read (and loved) the Scott Pilgrim books, so it’s tough to say how this movie might be received by viewers who have no prior experience with Mr. Pilgrim. I have to believe however that this film’s intoxicating energy and bountiful hipster-friendly references will appeal to most people between the ages of 20 and 40.
This is really not a review of the movie – I review comic books here, not films 🙂 – but if you must know, in my humble opinion, I’m pretty confident that if you’re a fan of the Scott Pilgrim books, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy this moving picture. And even if you haven’t an inkling who Scott Pilgrim is, I think this movie still stands on its own merits. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s just plain cool!
So stream it, torrent it, Redbox it, or go to a Blockbuster if you’re a weirdo (and you can find one) – but definitely, give Scott Pilgrim vs. The World a chance.
So, I guess … happy watching!