The Scott Pilgrim movie doesn’t look the way I want it to.
When I read the comic, I was already directing the movie version in my head, as I’m sure many of the rest of you have done. My version was a very realistic, nerd/hipster comedy-drama in the vein of a movie like High Fidelity, and the action scenes came on like moments of magical realism. As in the comic, no one finds it any more unusual to be fighting ninjas than they do talking about relationship drama. In fact, I’d say that Stephen Frears would have been a perfect director for this.
The movie, from what I can see in the trailer, looks highly cartoonish. This may be because it’s attempting to stick closely to it’s “comic book” roots. When Scott is punched in the face, we literally see the word “Thwack!” appear, in the style of the live action Batman tv show (Cartoonish and not-unlike the Batman tv show. . . Isn’t that why people hated Batman & Robin? I digress.). It appears to be hyperkinetic in pacing, which given Edgar Wright’s track record, and the fact that this movie is combining all six Scott Pilgrim books into one, is a pretty safe guess.
So, again; Not what I expected, and not what I wanted. But does that mean that I’m writing the movie off?
No. Of course not! It’s Edgar Wright, the director of Shaun Of The Dead (Classic!) and Hot Fuzz (Really fun!). It stars a lot of actors that I enjoy, and I don’t mind cartoonish movies. Hell, I like the Batman tv show AND Batman & Robin! And Speed Racer, and 300, and Torque. .
Plus, it’s not like the comics are going anywhere. If I end up not liking the movie, I can still read them, right? It’s not like Michael Cera is going to come to peoples homes with a flamethrower, and get all Fahrenheit 451 on our asses.
That’s why I don’t really understand people getting so up in arms about adaptations. I mean, as a film nerd it pains me to say this, but I don’t think that film is a more “legitimate” art form than music, literature or painting. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen is still a great comic, Bicentennial Man is still a great book, and The Wild Wild West is still a pretty great tv show. Having bad movies adapted from them, in my opinion, doesn’t tarnish the originals at all. It’s a waste of potential, yes, but not necessarily worth pulling one’s hair out over.
One of the reasons that I’ve been thinking about this, is that we recently had a heated discussion on the forums about the possibility of there being a black Spiderman (Well worth a read, if you have an hour to kill). My point, and one that many others shared, is that it would make absolutely no difference; Others were extremely passionate about any changes being made to their beloved comic character (It was also pointed out to me that “To be colorblind in a racist society is to be an ally of racism”. If that’s true, I offer my sincere apologies to the oppressed.).
But why do adaptations have to be exactly the same as the source material? Let me give you some other movie examples: James Whale’s Frankenstein, Out Of Sight, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. . . All make significant changes to their source material, and I would strongly argue that these are all great movies. I think there’s way too much emphasis placed on things like “Where’s Tom Bombadil?”. He’s in the book! He will always be in the book.
The adaptor should be a bit like good old Dr. Frankenstein, using bits and pieces of the source material to create a new monster, something that can walk around on it’s own. Do I think that the Watchmen movie is as good as the comic? Not by a long shot. Do I enjoy it for it’s own merits? Yes.
Am I looking forward to the new Edgar Wright film? Oh, hell yeah.