Film v. Book: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

At BEA, Kim and I managed to score copies of the first volume of Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Lies from one of the graphic novel vendors. They were giving them away as part of the promotions for the upcoming film. In my effort to keep atop of pop culture, I read the book…then the second and third…and needed to see the film, despite my adamant no-Michael-Cera-films stance.

I’m glad I did!

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was more hilarious than the book let on, and in our group of four attendees, everyone got a number of hearty laughs out of this one, even though only half of us knew the story.

Scott Pilgrim is an unemployed, 23-year-old living with his gay roommate (and sharing his bed, his couch, his food, etc). He’s also dating a high schooler he met on the bus, Knives. Oh, and he’s in a band, The Sex Bob-ombs. He takes a lot of crap from his friends, naturally, but when he begins dreaming of a cute girl with wild colored hair, things are going to change.

Ramona Flowers skates into his life, quite literally: she’s just left New York for Toronto and is working as an local delivery girl. Scott? He’s smitten. But everyone warns him not to get involved….he has a girlfriend, and she’s been known to be, well, weird. He ignores their advice to find out that in order to get with Ramona, he will need to battle her seven exes. It will be epic.

Scott Pilgrim on film differs quite a bit from the books, although the central storyline is similar. Having only read the first three books, I can’t speak too much, but some of the battle scenes are different, as are the encounters among characters (I had been looking so forward to the battle between Knives and Ramona in the downtown Toronto Public Library, but it didn’t happen there). Scott’s roommate differs a lot from what I thought he was, but perhaps it was good — he didn’t succumb in the film to the typical gay-guy-in-a-film stereotypes.

One thing to keep in mind, if you’re going to read the book or see the film, is that there is a lot of video gaming woven into the story line — so much so, that it would not be a stretch to consider the entirety of the book or the film as one giant video game. Scott needs to defeat evil to win the girl of his dreams, but the human element comes in quite strongly when he and Ramona realize what jerks they’ve been to other people in the quest of achieving their own goals. Even the most casual gamers will get a kick out of this aspect.

Although the movie had side splitting humorous moments (and I quite literally got a good laugh every couple of minutes), there was a lack of character development for most of the characters. And it was tough to believe that Scott never knew he had super powers, but this is something that I’ve been told is fleshed out a bit better later on in the comic series. But given the humorous situations, this is also easy to overlook.

My favorite part of the movie, though, was how well it incorporated a realistic setting with computer graphics and incorporation of the actual comic itself. A number of “flashback” or explanation scenes brought the comic onto screen and animated it slightly — the movie felt authentically comic. It is what you would expect of a loser kung fu ninja movie.

This is one worth checking out, whether you are familiar with the story or not. You will get the threads and a number of good laughs. Although there is a lot of violence (Scott DOES have to defeat 7 evil exes), there is no blood or gore. This is comic violence, reminiscent of your Saturday morning cartoon violence. It’s actually kind of refreshing. The movie will appeal to older teens through adults. And of course, it will spur readers into the comic book. I know I plan on finishing out the series to get even further into the story and to see what other differences existed in the transition from comic to big screen.

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  1. says

    I just don't like him. He plays the same character in every film he's in, and I find him annoying. However, given that that was the goal in this one, it worked.

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