Scott Pilgrim vs. The Comic


Let Scott Pilgrim vs. The World be a lesson: adaptation is better than translation. I enjoy movie versions of my favorite prose and comic books, but what I’m not looking for is word-for-word dialogue and scripting the whole movie. Not everything that works on the page works well on the screen (or everything on the small screen cough Airbender cough), and I would always rather watch a good movie than a motion comic. The story and the character are what’s important, and the goal of adaptation is to take the core essence of something, answering the question “Why is this thing (comic, book, TV Show, stage show, etc.) worth spending the time and money to make a movie out of?” and coming up with an answer better than “We think it will make us a lot of cash.” or “Merchandising.”

And that is what I enjoyed about Scott Pilgrim. It is one of the best adaptations I have ever seen, ranking up there with the likes of Lord of the Rings. Like Peter Jackson, Edgar Wright did a very good job deciding what to keep in and what to leave out, and where to place the scenes within the structure of the movie. I am a huge fan of the books, but I don’t need a 1:1 translation of each panel of comic in a movie. It helps immensely, of course, that Edgar Wright completely “gets” the source material, and isn’t afraid to add jokes and references that fit with the spirit of the source material.

Having seen the film twice already, it has shot up to at least near the top of my favorite films of the year, if not taking the top slot on that list. If you think you might want to see this movie, you should. It is a sublime and joyous experience.

And if you like the movie, pick up the comic! You can get the whole series from Amazon for under $7 each right now! Of course, you can also do well and support your local comic book shop!

Stray Observations:

  • I liked the subtle and not-so-sublte numerical references throughout the scenes with the exes, though I don’t remember any passed 4.
  • This movie is all about parodying hipsters while being about them, and does both well.
  • Although it is referenced in the book, I loved the use of the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” in Gideon’s limo for both the appropriateness of the lyrics and Wes Anderson, who frequently casts Jascon Schwartzman in his films and the Rolling Stones on his soundtracks.
  • A New York City skyline backdrop on the set of the Lucas Lee movie was a nice reference to Toronto standing in for NYC in a lot of films lately.
  • Wallace, Kim Pine, and Knives Chau were superbly written/casted.

Epic poster made for the Alamo Drafthouse:


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