Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Movie Review)

I was introduced to the Scott Pilgrim books while visiting San Diego for Comicon in 2008. My best friend from high school loaned me the first four volumes which I devoured over the weekend and immediately purchased upon arriving home. Six months later Volume 5 was released coupled with the news that they were beginning filming. I couldn't believe it, this was actually being made!

Scott Pilgrim vs. Comic Accuracy

When a movie based on a property we love is announced strong, divergent feelings are evoked. First we are excited beyond belief, we dance around the room shouting praises to the gods. Then our endorphins subside and the doubts being whispering vile things like "kid-friendly sidekick" and "Michael Bay directing" and we scour the internet researching every rumor, checking the writers' credits and invoking dark rituals of protection. I have done this before, and I did it again with Scott Pilgrim. But I couldn't comprehend what was happening. Every rumor, leak and announcement just stoked the fire of my glee. The director and casting were great! Every image from the trailers seemed to be lifted straight from the comic! And while everyone knew that the unfinished final volume obviously wouldn't be ready in time for filming they were working from Bryan Lee O'Malley's notes so it would be similar in plot and theme. But while watching the film I was surprised at how different the plot seemed to unravel. Most of the subplots (Mr. Chau) were eliminated and many plot points (Envy's weak spot) were altered and blended into other scenes. While I noticed the changes and omissions they were hardly a distraction. Looking at the whole movie I feel the choices were smart and only helped streamline the film. I can only hope fans look at it from the direction that these cool bits were left in the movie only by repurposing them.

Scott Pilgrim vs. Pacing

The pace of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a mad rabid sprint at break-neck speed across a mine field. It could be disastrous with one wrong step but luckily Edgar Wright pulled it off flawlessly. The verbal sparring between mother and daughter on the Gilmore Girls seems plodding and clumsy compared to the quick, biting dialog in Scott Pilgrim. The film is a brilliant weave of seamless scene transitions with characters walking out their apartment door into a nightclub like we just turned a page and extensive usage of jump cuts bouncing us from panel to panel around a page. Items purposely appear and disappear with humorous regularity eliciting confusion from the character in the dark and laughter from the audience. Everything in Scott Pilgrim is a blink away from being missed. If the movie tripped over its own feet it would shatter into more coins than any of the evil exes drop upon defeat. But it doesn't. It speeds through the projector as one of the funniest, smartest movies Hollywood has delivered in years.

Scott Pilgrim vs. My Opinion

The end result was nothing less than spectacular. For a movie I have been anxiously awaiting for over a year it exceeded even my high expectations. Beginning with the 8-bit styled Universal Pictures logo complete with the company's theme in midi format, through the slavish comic captions, amazingly realized sets and fantastically choreographed fight scenes, Scott Pilgrim is the best comic-to-film adaptations I've seen. In fact, it is a great movie period, with no clarifying language needed. I was utterly hypnotized by the film. I loved it. It was much better than Cats. I'm going to see it again and again.

Warren Ellis Has a Big October

The Cover to Planetary #27It all started 10 years ago when in the April of 1999 a bi-monthly series from Warren Ellis and John Cassaday launched. It was originally intended to be 24 issues but it stretched to 27 to fit the whole of the stories of Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner, and the young man known only as The Drummer ... or at least what Ellis has decided to tell us all. The book has grown a cult status and is one of the finest examples of what can be done with comics that might be more challenging, if even at all possible, in any other format. 

Planetary is the kind of comic story that makes you love comics and that will stay with you long, long after you finish reading it. And after a three year hiatus (due to commitments by the artist Cassaday) the final issue is now on the shelf and has likely been devoured by the fans of the series with rapacious voracity. The series finale has been garnering a whole lot of buzz from fans and critics as well. Newsarama tried to sum it up with just one word "Perfect". They also had a retrospective of the series in two parts and it serves as a nice refresher for those who haven't read the single issues since they released and are hungry to read the final issue, though I will warn that it is rife with spoilers so if you've not read the series you may want to avoid Brandon Thomas' coverage.

The Cover of Gravel #18Joined with that was the announcement this morning that his series from Avatar Press "Gravel" will be made into a movie by Legendary Pictures. The reason that this is interesting is that it is the only of Ellis' projects that is currently under development by anyone but Warner Bros. and that it also holds the distinct honor of being one of Ellis' most disturbing works to date and is also one of his longer running characters. 

William Gravel is the kind of character that most Hollywood types might stray away from and certainly the stories that have been told with the character have been blatantly strange. But seeing as he is a "Combat Magician" and is sort of a darker take on the kind of character that Vertigo has made famous in John Constantine it is probably not terribly surprising that the character has been on the radar of some of the more risky movie studios. 

Interestingly enough the first appearance of William Gravel was also in 1999 and so it seems like it's been a pretty good decade for Mr. Ellis.