If you only see one movie based on a book this summer, make it Scott Pilgrim

Thanks to my pal, Jeff who runs Books & Bars, Max and and I were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Scott Pilgrim vs The World Thursday night.

It was awesome! The movie retains all the charm of the books about Canadian slacker Scott Pilgrim and his quest to win the heart of Ramona Flowers by conquering her evil exes in escalating battles.

If you haven’t been able to tell, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with all things Scott Pilgrim for most of the summer. It’s been pretty bad. I love Scott Pilgrim. I don’t think I’ve had a conversation with anyone since about May that didn’t mention Scott Pilgrim. Then when you have the character portrayed by Michael Cera, well come on. . . how can I resist?

Seeing a book (or series of books in this case) you love turned into a movie can often be bittersweet. It’s never, ever, ever the same. Never. Inevitably your favorite bit or sub-story or secondary character isn’t going to come across on the big screen the way it does on the page.

There is bound to be some disappointment, and I was a little disappointed. But it stems from the fact that the film-makers told a different story than the one I wanted to see. Does that mean the story and movie are bad? No. Do I think it could have been stronger? Yes. The movie seemed to sacrifice important emotional backstory in favor of whippy-zippy action scenes. Sure video-game-like battles are more visually exciting, but the emotional backstory would have made for a more satisfying ending. The movie focussed more on Scott’s battle with the exes than Scott’s battle with his personal demons. I wanted more demons, because in the books the exes are just a rack to hang the personal story on. Does that make sense?

It’s really hard to write about a movie without giving away everything.

Anyway, all that nonsense is getting in the way of what’s important here. The movie is fun. It’s sweet and sarcastic and Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells kicks all kinds of ass. If they gave an Academy Award for casting a movie so closely to the book, this movie would win it. The only one I was a little disappointed in was Envy Adams, but then I was disappointed in her entire role in the film. In the books she plays a much bigger part in Scott’s hero’s journey and in the movie she’s reduced to what is, essentially, a cameo. Plus, I think Kim Pine gets a bit of the shaft — she’s a better character in the book.

This would all be so much easier to talk about if you’d go see the movie (and read the books). So do that. It’s a good movie and you will laugh and cheer and fall a little in love with Scott & Ramona. So go see it and then let’s talk about it, okay?

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