Monday, March 7, 2011

Adaptation Distillation - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Hello, and welcome to yet another Comparative Adaptology. I apologise for last week, I had my subject all picked out, and was ready to write it up, and then I just sort of forgot, so I’ve pushed it to this week, hoping none of you will particularly care about this terrible lapse.

Now, this week is going to be a bit different. This is the start of a new monthly feature known as Adaptation Distillation, wherein I shall take time to look at a particular adaptation that really isn’t all that bad. So without further ado, let’s jump into Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Now, right off the bat, let me just say that this is probably one of my favourite movies I saw last year. Well, okay, the only other movie I saw last year was Inception, but that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that this film is probably the most wonderfully nerdy, cinematically inventive thing that I’ve ever seen. The cast is utterly brilliant, bringing the characters from the graphic novel to life nicely. Now, I’ve heard people ragging on Michael Cera’s performance, but I thought that it was pitch-perfect for what this film needs, and he was thoroughly enjoyable in the role, and I am still not convinced that Mary Elizabeth Winstead isn’t actually Ramona Flowers, escaped from the confines of print. The supporting cast is quite good too, and it would be difficult for me to pick out a low point, though if I had to, it would probably have to be Brie Larson’s Envy Adams, while not giving a bad performance, per se, she utterly failed to capture the essence of the character from the graphic novels, in my eyes at least.

The plot, surprisingly enough stays extremely close to the source material, the only huge deviations being the compression of the timeline from a year to the course of about three or four weeks and the final battle with Gideon, which can be excused as the final volume was being written at the same time as the film. For those unfamiliar with the film, the plot goes a little something along the lines of “boy dreams about girl, boy meets girl, is forced to fight girl’s seven superpowered evil exes, etc.” This is all pulled off quite well, all things considered. Though some problems do arise with the compression, such as us not really getting to explore Scott’s past with Kim and such, and we fail to really see how much of a jerk Scott can be at times, but seeing as they were only working with a two hour movie, they can be excused.

Finally, we reach presentation. This is probably where I’ll be spending the most time in this entry. Mostly because holy crap, this movie is amazing. From the cinematography, to the writing, down even to the editing, this movie is an absolute joy to watch. Director Edgar Wright managed to make everything look just right, managing to perfectly capture the feel of the graphic novel at points. Not to mention fight scenes that one can actually follow without having to take motion sickness pills. The writing too is brilliant, taking loads of inspiration from the source material, and adding new little tweaks to the story as it goes. Then we have the editing, which frankly is amazing, quite literally almost making it feel like the comic has come to life, from the little subtitles that pop in and out, to the onomatopoeia that flow into the film seamlessly, every little detail coming together to create a film that’s entertaining, both to look at and in general. If anything really bothered me, it would be that the whole thing is almost too fast-paced. You find yourself sitting there at the end of the film going “Wait, it’s over already? Nooo.” However, it’s a fun ride while it’s there.

So in case you didn’t already figure it out, I greatly recommend this movie, and urge you to watch it when you have the chance, but I would also suggest at least picking up the graphic novels at some point if you can.
So until next week, take care.


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