Aug 18, 2010

Scott Pilgrim is the Swan Song of my Life


So, I just finished Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, and I must say, it truly was a mighty fine hour. The graphic novels themselves, all 6 of them, hold way more story than the two hour film could ever hope to achieve, but hey, two totally different mediums so the end result is going to be two totally different products.

Lets start with the film, as that was the first complete Scott Pilgrim experience I had. At the time of screening I had only read the first four books (shame on me) so I had a general idea of where the film was going to go. What I didn't see coming was the amazing camera work and sound design, as some things just don't show up on paper. The cinematography is all over the place for this film, using wide shots, close shots, center framed shots, zoomed out shots, cropped shots. It was like watching a composer play a professionally written piece on the piano after learning the basics for a year and running with them. Sound design was also amazing across the board, with little quips and qualms from any gamers dream world. The plot did feel a tad bit rushed at times, and the ending felt very tacked on, but the ride was entertaining! Not to mention the style was all over the place, from a pee bar that depleted to classic Batman POWS! and WHAMS!, but was easy  to follow. Sometimes it is all about the ride and not the destination.

So lets move onto the bulk of the Scott Pilgrim experience, the graphic novels. The six books have a ton of information in them, and I am surprised they all got condensed down into a 2 hour film honestly. Sadly, after reading them all, I would have much rather had a Scott Pilgrim TV show than a film, but hey, beggar's can't be chooser's. The story lines and difference between the two wholes are extremely similar, and the movie uses some great lines from the graphic novels but that is where all similarities end. The movie has a clear cut plot of "Find girl. Lust after girl. Love girl. Win over girl. End." which plays to the strength of film, where as the movie is more like an overall arc of any college student's life. The graphic novel has some truly genuine life moments in it, such as 20 somethings always ending up at the same bar night after night and going from party to party every weekend. It also allows for characters other than Scott and Ramona to be fully developed instead of glazed over, Kieran Culkin's amazing performance of  Wallace Wells withstanding.

The ending seems to be where both mediums fail, but I don't think that it was through the fault of effort on either end. The ending of Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe left a pretty big cliff hanger that unfortunately had to be wrapped up pretty damn quick in the final volume. The ending to the film is just kind of there and expected with no real surprises after the roller coaster of a ride the rest of the movie was, and volume 6 of the graphic novel's felt rushed from a story perspective.

I must say the lead up to the final battle in the film was way more entertaining than it was in the novels, as in the novels it seemed like there was just an excuse for every single character in the novel to end up in one place so everyone could witness Scott vs. Gideon.
The most appreciative thing about the story though? The message wasn't cheesey-hollywood-bullshit-love-conqueror's-all crap that everyone is used to. It was about learning to live with yourself and accepting yourself for who you are. And you know what? Maybe that is what being a nerd is all about...