Movies Worth Rewatching – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

In this week’s Movies Worth Rewatching we’re talking about Edgar Wright’s insanely fun Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010, Universal Studios).

This film marks a serious turning point for me and how I view/judge movie adaptations of comic books (true story).

For those of you who don’t know, I’m kind of a comic book nerd… and by kind of I mean to say COMIC BOOKS ARE THE GREATEST* THING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!! (*okay, second greatest, but only to my super-awesome wife)  On top of that, I’m incredibly cynical when it comes to people adapting stories for another medium.

Enter Scott Pilgrim.

I was first introduced to Scott Pilgrim, the super awesome comic book series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, a few years ago by my good friend Joe (what up, Joe!).  This was back when the film adaptation of the books was just “comic shop news” and still far off in the future, and even further off my radar.  These books blew me away.  Seriously.  Bryan Lee O’Malley captured every last detail of what it was like for me, and the Millennial generation, to grow up and become something more like a man.  I really connected with these books.  They were special, almost sacred, to me.  So as Edgar Wright’s film adaptation slowly unveiled itself to my friends and the world; from a place of ignorant, self-righteous hate, I completely ignored it.

Most of my friends went to go see Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World in theaters during it’s summer release back in 2010.  Over and over I heard how great it was.  “Dude, you’ve gotta check it out.”  “OMG, it’s so awesome!”  “Hey man, let’s all get our hair done!”  I’m paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea.  They all loved it, and I still blindly hated it.  Why?  Peppered in amongst all the “dude, check it out” was a reoccurring sentiment:  “The movie’s totally different than the books.”  WHAT?!?  How could you change/improve/ruin something as great as my precious Scott Pilgrim comics?!?  I would literally scream this over and over and over again.

Needless to say, I didn’t go see the movie.

Skip ahead to Christmas 2010.  My sweet friends Derek and Melissa, not knowing of my intense (unjust) hatred for the film, buy me Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World as a present.  Full of insight, they purchased the present for me after watching the film and realizing it’s something they thought I would really love.  Still unconvinced, I borrowed my friend Joe’s copy of the film (the same Joe who introduced me to the books, mind you).  That way, when I hated the movie I could still return my unopened copy and get something that didn’t suck.

I sat down to watch it with my wife, and of course, I didn’t like it.  But honestly, I don’t blame the movie for that.  How could I have liked it?  I’d spent so long hating it, the film didn’t stand a chance.  Lucky for me my awesome wife liked the movie.  Immediately after we watched it, we argued about it.  In an effort to maintain some of my pride I won’t disclose the full details of that argument; but one thing was clear, she was right.  My wife argued against my blind hate with her sound logic, “just because there’s a movie, and it’s different, that doesn’t ruin the original.”  Well… that thought hadn’t occurred to me until she said it.  Couple that with Bryan Lee O’Malley (the guy who made the comics) being directly involved in the making of the film, even to the extent of encouraging them to make changes so the film and the book would be two totally different experiences.  My hate didn’t stand a chance, and upon a second viewing, I was hooked.

So how does it hold up today?

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is freakin’ awesome!  Michael Cera (staring in the title role) is perfectly cast, and delivers his most ambitious performance to date.  Edgar Wright (who produced, directed, and wrote the adaptation) does a breathtaking job translating the sometimes outrageous world of Scott Pilgrim to the screen.  Upon multiple, repeat viewings, the film reveals itself anew.  There’s literally so much detail in every scene, you can’t catch it all the first time.  The effects are large and stunning, leaving you with a sense of wonder that’s seldom achieved by modern movies (pro tip: if you’ve got the chance to watch the special features on how the film was made, the effects become EVEN MORE amazing).

Looking back, it’s hard to understand why I was so convinced adapting a story to another medium ruined the original material.  Especially when you consider all the new fans of the comics the movie surely created.  This film was the start of a new way of thinking for me.  One that embraces new possibilities, without adulterating the past.

My personal journey aside, I highly recommend you check out Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and if you’ve already seen it, you need to see it again.  This film gets better, and better every time you watch it.  It’s available on Blu-ray and DVD, and is well worth the purchase.  Check it out, and prove old me wrong… again.

by Mel Dale


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3 Comments on “Movies Worth Rewatching – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World”

  1. NICK April 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Read the books and saw the movie. I recommend ’em both to any Pilgrim newbies! I do want to see it again though.

  2. Jonathan Sutherland April 10, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    I recently watched this movie and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. There is a lot of depth to the story underneath the beat the crap out of ex-boyfriends action that is really entertaining to watch.

  3. Genki Jason April 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    I had never read the comic books so I went to see it in a cinema with little idea of what it was going to be about and I loved it. I saw this twice at the cinema because I loved it so much and it made my top ten movies of the year. The film captures so many aspects of our modern comic book/video game/tech culture and mixes it brilliantly with a quirky romance.

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