Book to movie review: Scott Pilgrim

Everyone has that one friend who after any movie simply feels the overwhelming need to say “the book was better” even though no one wants to hear it or cares.

Well I’m that friend so lets talk about movies and how they stack up to their source material.

 

So lets talk about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I’ve been excited to get around to Scott Pilgrim and its movie mostly because I really love Edgar Wright and graphic novels.

 

Basically:  Scott Pilgrim is a series of graphic novels by (Canadian) Bryan Lee. The story follows the titular Scott Pilgrim as he attempts to form a relationship with the super cool Ramona Flowers. But! Before he can date her, he must defeat “The league of evil exes”, a group of 7 people who’ve dated her previously and will fight anyone who tries to do so in the future.

The series dips its fingers into many pies genre-wise. The art style is influenced by Japanese manga, but also has a unique western image. The plot is really silly but self aware and often 4th-wall breaking comedy, mixed with retro video game aesthetics and action. It’s kind of hard to explain if you’ve never seen it but believe me it’s super sweet. It’s a 6 part series that just oozes uniqueness and creativity. It’s funny, it’s action packed, it’s surreal at times, and even though I haven’t read it in nearly ~8 years, I still think about it often.

So how does the movie stack up?: Scott Pilgrim might damn well be the best movie adaptation. I said it. I’ll say it again, Scott Pilgrim vs The world is probably the best movie adaptation of a book or printed word. It’s good as hell.

There’s 6 books, but only one movie. And counter-intuitively I think this works in favour of the movie. Strangely, by choosing to adapt the story from all 6 into one, Scott Pilgrim vs the World manages to create a faithful adaptation but without the risk of “close but not quite” which lots of adaptations fall into. There’s like a weird uncanny valley situation with some movies (I’m getting to you, The Martian) where they get it almost right but not quite. That failure makes me think poorly on the movie and I think is the source of all the “THE MOVIE WAS BETTER” in most cases. Edgar Wright skips that issue by just making something new out of it and creates something which is more than the sum of its parts.

But even though there’s no way he could have fit all 6 books into one movie, he DOES manage to recreate scenes shot for shot from the pages. It’s just *chef’s kiss* oh its great.

So it’s a good adaptation. Great. But is it a good movie? Yeah it’s real good. It’s pretty high up there in my list of favourites. The casting is phenomenal (Michael Cera, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Kieran Kyle Culkin, etc) The soundtrack is amazing (I have the ost on my phone cause it’s just unironically a great punk album) and its got that Edgar Wright signature move where the music is almost its own character entirely. Go watch this movie. You don’t even have to read the books. Just watch it, it’s terrific.