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Scott Pilgrim: One Girl's Perspective

This weekend I watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I liked it. Here's the promised conclusion to my thoughts.

Side notes:
  1. I am terrible at comparing books & movies...I know you're only half-allowed to, but I always go the whole way. And I always prefer the books (although I have read neither The Notebook nor Devil Wears Prada).
  2. I don't think I've ever seen a movie on opening night before. I'm not sure if it was just the type of audience, or generally an opening night audience, but I found it a bit overwhelming...there was an eagerness about the film that made me tone down my own enthusiasm - I need to get over this independent streak that refuses to share my excitement with the masses.
  3. Sneaky Dee's doesn't make the film. I think that was the biggest disappointment for me, because it seems like such a pivotal location in the books. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the Toronto smorgasbord of settings.
  4. Seeing the movie with no previous book knowledge would be a very different experience. But I think it would still be highly enjoyable, especially if you've ever played Super Nintendo, had a crush on a band, or listened to Metric. So go see it.

The Meat And Potatoes

One of the things that drew me in to reading the entire Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series is its take on dating relationships and baggage. Half of the story (the basic premise, in fact) is completely unrealistic and yet incredibly appealing: to date Ramona, Scott must defeat each of her "evil exes" in a martial-arts video-game-esque fight to the death. If only life were that simple, right?

But there are nuances. Plausible and much more complex details that mirror real life. Ramona's exes aren't all evil. Some of them think Scott's a nice guy. Some of them want to be friends with her. Some of them are still a little bitter. And some of them seem to be the "good guy" to Ramona's "bad guy" (excepting the fact that they're trying to kill Scott).

And then there's the little matter of all of Scott's exes. They keep popping up at inconvenient times, and he's got to deal with his baggage without the handy-dandy use of superpowers. What do you say to your high school sweetheart or the girl who crushed your heart or the girl whose heart you crushed? How do you make things "right"? And how do you stop making the same mistakes over and over?

Good questions all around.

I think one of the reasons that Scott Pilgrim is able to delve into all this messiness is because it contains fantastical elements elsewhere. What I mean is, we look to TV/movies/books/media for escape and a rewrite of our lives. We don't want to see something that is exactly like our own world. Some part of it needs to be exciting, different, dramatic. In most cases, the setting or world context is decidedly our own. Which means the situations and relationships are the elements that differ from reality.

It's not that unusual that we turn to an "alternate universe" for our most powerful stories. Take LOTR or BSG for starters. When the world is recreated, there's enough space that we can watch our own struggles and drama play out without the painful need to escape from a replay of our own train wrecks. Like this clip from Pushing Daisies (I forgot how much I love this show. Why did they have to cancel it so soon??).

Halfway through Scott's saga, he and Ramona have this conversation:*
I know you just play mysterious and aloof to avoid getting hurt. I know you have reasons for not answering my questions. And I don't care about any of that stuff.
Ramona, I'm in love with you... And I know that we can make this relationship work.
I like that a) they have this conversation and b) it doesn't take place at the end of the story. It's a turning point, but it's not as if one simple moment of commitment makes the rest of their relationship peaches and cream. Far from it.

The Point:
The thing I like best about Scott Pilgrim (more evident in the books than the movie) is that it's a realistic yet hopeful example of my generation walking through their baggage. And if I get a side dish of humour, music and video-game nostalgia with it, I'm not going to complain at all.

*This is the book version of the conversation. The movie version is a little different. For one, he says he's "in lesbians" with her.


Jess said…
haha i was going to clarify... "doesn't he say, 'I'm in lesbians with you.'" but then I saw your endnote. man I cracked up at that point.

i think my favourite part was when he was wearing his CBC shirt. Love the Canadianness.

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