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SCOTT PILGRIM vs. Summer Movies

Why This Indie Comic Is Our Most Anticipated Film

By Chad Derdowski     June 30, 2010
Source: Mania


Comicscape: SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD
© Mania

These days, summer is synonymous with comic book films and while most of those feature high-octane, spandex-clad characters published by Marvel or DC (okay, mostly Marvel), this summer brings us a decidedly different kind of comic film: Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Thus far, Scott Pilgrim has existed in a series of 5 digest-sized, black and white volumes, with the sixth and final volume to be released July 20, 2010. But when August rolls around, he’ll make his feature film debut in the highly anticipated adaptation from director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). From what we’ve seen so far, this film is set to knock our socks off, along with the collective socks of the rest of the filmgoing world. It’s still a couple of months off, but now seems like as good a time as any to tell you why we think Scott Pilgrim is going to be the big hit of the summer.

 

What It’s All About

To say that Scott Pilgrim is a slacker would be a bit simple, though definitely true. He’s 23, self-absorbed, unemployed and regularly sponges off his friends and roommate. Oh, and he also plays bass in a band and at the beginning of the story, is dating a high-school student. Yeah.

All of this changes when Ramona Flowers, quite literally the girl of Scott’s dreams, enters his life. He falls in love but in order to date her, he must defeat her seven evil exes. But you got all of that from the trailer, right? So there’s really no point in repeating it here. But that’s the general gist of the story and since the little header up there says “what it’s all about”, we kind of had to go over the basics.

But what it’s really all about is growing up and accepting responsibility. It’s about the trials and tribulations of dating and the highs and lows of love and all that confusing crap in-between. It’s about coming to terms with your own emotional baggage as well as that of the person you love. While it focuses on hip 20-somethings, the themes are universal and easily recognizable by anyone and everyone who has ever lived and loved… especially if you’ve loved video games and pop culture.

 

Why You’ll Love It

Because it’s really cool. As we said just a few sentences earlier, even if the style and music doesn’t suit you, the basic ideas contained within should appeal to everyone. And if you like video games and comic books, even better. Nobody reading this is into video games or comic books, right? Scott Pilgrim is obsessed with them and lives in a world in which drama and heartache go hand-in-hand with Street Fighter-esque battles, Looney Tunes style special effects and victory over your girlfriend’s evil ex’s gives you coins, one-ups or free lives. Somehow, creator Bryan Lee O’Malley manages to effortlessly blend disparate tones and topics into an engaging mix of humor, action and realism. And that’s why it’s cool.

 

The Manga Thing

Yeah, yeah… we know. We’re the same way. Look, we like to pride ourselves on being open to every variety of sequential art, from Little Orphan Annie to the New Gods, but when we hear the words “manga influenced art style”, we admit that we cringe a little. It’s not that we don’t respect it, but for whatever reason, it just hasn’t clicked with us yet. Call us old fogies: we just don’t get it.

But don’t let those dreaded words fool you or keep you away! While Scott Pilgrim definitely has an Eastern influence in terms of artistic style, it’s not so terribly off-putting that you can’t read it. In fact, it’s a testament to O’Malley’s skill that it took us about 2 panels to get over it and learn to love and embrace the art. The job of an illustrator is to tell a story and convel emotion, right? Well, O’Malley conveys so much emotion with so few lines, it’s hard to not respect his talent. And who knows? Maybe we’re turning a corner? We doubt that you’ll see us picking up Ranma ½ when we make our next jaunt to the comic shop, but one never knows…

 

And Then There’s The Movie

So if you’re not into the comics, why would you want to see the movie? As far as we’re concerned, it can be boiled down to two words: Edgar Wright. You’ve seen Shaun of the Dead, right? And you’ve seen Hot Fuzz, haven’t you? Some of you may have even watched Spaced. Okay… so you know the guy has skill behind the camera and you know he’s got respect for geek culture ‘cause he’s one of us. If you’ve seen the trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (and unless you’ve been living under a rock or purposefully stayed away from it, we know you’ve seen the trailer), then you’ve noticed that Wright is staying true to the look and feel of the comic and as created something that looks completely unique. In a summer filled with bland rehashes of Wild Wild West, revamps of television shows and armored avengers getting another go-round, Scott Pilgrim sticks out like a big, beautiful sore thumb. It’s completely original, and for that reason alone, we want to see it.

Romance? Check. Action? Check. Built-in audience? Check. Geek cred? Check. Indie music hipster cred? Check. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has got it all and we’re predicting it’s going to be the surprise smash hit of the summer… hell, it’s already made us not-so-sick of Michael Cera, which is a mean feat in and of itself.

 


 

In addition to contributing Comicscape and weekly comic book reviews to Mania.com, Chad Derdowski also participates in The Zod Complex, a weekly podcast discussion of comic books and geek culture.  Find them at ZodComplex.com

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 16
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goldeneyez 6/30/2010 5:49:16 AM

I'm really looking forward to this too.  I hope it will end up having sleeper summer hit status.

savagelee 6/30/2010 6:29:13 AM

 Along with series like Preacher, Top 10, and Empowered, Scott Pilgrim is one of the best graphic novel series I have ever read. It's intelligent, clever, and really does stuff with the form of the comic book that's on par with books like Watchmen and the Dark Knight Returns.

And the girls are really cute. 

lister 6/30/2010 8:50:29 AM

Must... Spin... Rack...

DC is up first: I got nothing. Nada. Zip. No Booster. No Vril. No LSH. No dice!

On to Marvel:

Astonishing X-Men #34--I have no idea what I going on. I accidentally stopped reading. Not a good sign.
Captain America #607--I have no idea what I going on. I accidentally stopped reading. Not a good sign.
Doomwar #5--Great mini. But now Deadpool so Ugh for a while.
Secret Avengers #2--Just keep keepin' it Mission: Impossible-y.
Spider-Ham 25th Anniversary Special #1--What? I have the entire first run stored right next to my FOOM membership card.
Thor #611--New directions I guess.
X-Force #27--Almost over... Good, crossover! Good, boy!
X-Necrosha Hardcover--Because we all need something to poop on.

agentkooper 6/30/2010 9:27:17 AM

STOKED! To hear Beck is writing the music for Sex Bobomb.  Perfect fit.

Favorite line from the book, "Didn't you know Scott is the best fighter in the province?"

Spider-Ham 25th Anniversary Special #1 - There you go Chad.  It's everything you've been begging for.

HunterRose 6/30/2010 9:37:02 AM

Up until I viewed the trailer, I had never heard of Scott Pilgram.

 

 

Muenster 6/30/2010 12:48:06 PM

Aside from the silly buzz on sites like this one and the asinine trailers, I have never heard of SPVTW. I realize the producers and such are tryig  to get something viral going, but I think this movie is only going to appeal to it's manga/comic book(?) fan base, which I'm pretty sure is not that large, but hey, whatever floats your boat. Still, hope it makes enough money to pay it's bills. 

gimpythewonder 6/30/2010 1:17:17 PM

 I've been looking forward to this movie for a while.  I was excited just to hear Edgar Wright was doing a comic movie.  That got me excited enough to see this, then when I actually read the books I was hooked.  Its just so great on so many different levels.  It is kinda hard to describe just why it is so good, kinda like Preacher.  Greatness that defies description

Teddyray1 6/30/2010 1:27:29 PM

Spinner Rack

  • Death of Dracula #1
  • Captain America #607
  • Chimichanga #3
  • Deadpool Team-Up #892
  • Marvel Zombies 5 #4
  • New Avengers:  Luke Cage #3
  • Secret Avengers #2
  • Spider-Ham 25th Anniversary Special #1
  • Thor #611
animefanjared 6/30/2010 2:27:15 PM

I don't forsee this being a big hit.  In today's world of blockbusters, hit means at least a $100 million gross, especially in the summer time.  And this movie would be lucky to make half that.

Why?  The last sentence of this article gives a big clue: people are sick of Michael Cera's schtick, and this is clearly a movie that plays to his "stregnths."  But beyond that, the general movie going public has proven that they are not interested in comic book adaptations without superheroes, no matter what the quality of the film.  I think this movie will play out very similarly to "Kick Ass" earlier this year: It will have its fans and possibly even do well with critics, but it will not be a financial hit, especially in the harsh summer movie climate.

cdale78 6/30/2010 3:09:46 PM

Secret Avengers and Spider-Ham for me this week.  That's not something I ever thought I would type. 

Michael Cera needs to do the Arrested Development movie

I just bought a big stack of Baxter Legion comics, Roger Stern Spider-Man, Black Cat era Spectacular Spider-Man, and Buscema Spectacular Spider-Man from #150-180 or so.  Can't wait for those to get here in the mail

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