Movies: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

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I have been looking forward to the Scott Pilgrim movie for quite a while and it is quite the experience. Having read all 6 books (they are graphic novels – not comic books!), I was really wondering how they would pack everything in to two hours. How they did it was more fighting and less story. There are certain scenes in the film that really are true to the books and there are also twists and turns that are not as true to the books but had to be done to make everything resolve in one movie. I can only imagine the challenge of getting over 1000 pages of material pared down into a movie and what makes it more difficult is this being a graphic novel series means all of it is already basically storyboarded and all of the readers have a visual expectation.

From the opening Universal Pictures logo and theme converted into 8 bit sound and graphics to the pee meter (you’ll just have to see it) to the many fight scenes, you get the feeling that you are part of one big video game. The fights are nothing short of amazing and the movie is visually a sight to see. This is one that could have made full use of 3-D.

However, I enjoy the Scott Pilgrim books not as much for the fighting (and there is only a fight every 100 pages or so in the books) as I do the story. The cast here is impressive but we don’t see near enough of them or learn as much about them as I had hoped for. For example, we really don’t get a real understanding of why Ramona has turned out like she has in the movie. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a great Ramona but the story has her staring into the camera or out in the distance too much. I had little buy-in with the movie version of her character. I felt like we learned a lot more about Scott Pilgrim’s relationship with ex-girlfriend Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) more than his current relationship with Ramona.

The 3 people playing the band members (Sex Bob-omb) should have gotten a bit more attention because they are fabulous. Mark Webber as “the talent” Stephen Stills and Alison Pill as Kim Pine should have gotten more time to shine. We could have used more of the background story with Kim Pine. Her “ex” relationship with Scott plays a major role in the books but is basically glossed over in the movie. I think Audrey Plaza’s role as Julie is more prominent to draw in laughs and this takes away time we could be connecting with many of the other characters.

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It’s just a matter of trying to jam everything into a very little amount of time. I am not a big action movie fan and the fighting got old for me at times especially when Ramona is portrayed as sort of a sad and helpless person. If you never read the books, there are times in the movie where you would wonder why exactly he is fighting for her since she seems so indifferent. But, when the movie goes back to the story and the fists are put away, there are many glimmers of brilliance from the great cast. The snowy backdrop of Toronto makes for some gorgeous cinematography. Also, I bought the soundtrack yesterday and it is great. The music is a major player in the movie and it was interesting seeing what they were going to play when.

I think the movie is a winner. The majority of people will feed off of the action but it was just a bit tiring to me. Maybe this is because I am old! It is original and fun and I’m sure I will buy the DVD. Be on the lookout for a little unexpected tribute to Seinfeld in there also.

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