I finally did it. It took almost a full twelve months, but I finally finished all six volumes of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim. First, I should make clear that it's not like Scott Pilgrim is the new Iliad: yes, the books are lengthy, but they're also super easy to read. It's just that I'm easily distracted. Also, I already knew the basic storyline from many, many viewings of the 2010 movie, so the prolonged duration of my reading is kind of justified. Secondly, the books are great. For real. But they really just made me want to return to the movie and soak it in again. Yes, the same movie that was met with critical apathy and general disdain from the viewing public.
I understand the attachment that people generally have to any source material that precedes a film adaption. I've had that for lots of stuff. But I never had that connection to the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels. I didn't even know that this badass version of Toronto had begun construction in print starting six years before the release of the movie. I did know that the movie trailer was awesome, and that Charlene and I were definitely going to see this movie when it released. And when we finally did get to see it, I really loved it. The movie is my source material, and to me the graphic novels read like reasonable adaptations of a fantastically crafted moving picture.
The movie was directed by Edgar Wright, the same guy that made Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. And I don't know if it's because I consumed the media of the Scott Pilgrim franchise in reverse, but I thought he did an amazing job translating the graphic novels to the screen. The cuts and the framing seem spot on to me, and one of the things I love most about the movie is the way it uses typography splashed across the screen to help tell the story. Also impressive is that the filmmakers finished their movie before the sixth volume of the graphic novels was even published. They had a lot of leeway when it came to the conclusion of the movie, and alternate endings were lined up and ready to go. One of them even included a news story that reported Scott Pilgrim as a serial killer who had dispatched seven of his girlfriend's exes, justifying his rampage by creating a video game world in his head (not gonna lie, that ending would have left me disappointed).
I really don't see what's not to like about this movie. When I was younger I used to watch movies I liked over and over again, and my brother and I would use quotes almost as a stand-alone form of communication. To say that I've grown up might be an overstatement, but I definitely quote fewer movies nowadays. But when I do quote, I quote Scott Pilgrim. Besides, the movie's got Captain America cast as a douchey skateboarding movie star. And Superman returns as a vegan-powered meta-human. The fantastical comic book action plays out between regular people in a really entertaining way. And even the music blends seamlessly into the movie. I like the bands that play, and the movie opens with the Universal Studios theme playing like music from a video game. I had this set as my ringtone for so long that whenever the movie starts up I think someone is calling me.
There are so many things I love about the movie that I could just go through it frame by frame to list them. Don't worry - I'm not going to. History has proven (as it does time after time) that not everyone agrees with me, but I continue to be captivated and delighted by the Scott Pilgrim universe. Word.