Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Josh Man Vs. the World

The title of this post is because I am apparently the only one that didn't like Scott Pilgrim.

Now, let me tell you why....

First, I am probably the prime audience for this movie, although I have not read (and now don't plan to read) the graphic novel on which it is based.  I am, however, a fan of Edgar Wright (the director), a fan of comic books and the movies that are made from them, and, most importantly for this film, a fan of video games, because this film is really just a film version of a video game.

Despite all of that going for me, I really disliked this movie.

The story is horrendous.  The plot, beyond just being pretty sexist, is not that engaging and doesn't make a ton of sense.  I've been told that if I had read the graphic novel it would make a lot more sense, but in order to make a decent adaptation, one needs to understand the movie without having read the source material, and that isn't really possible here.  (Slight *Spoilers* here) Why does Scott Pilgrim see Romona in his dreams, how is able to fight off all of the first exes without any explanation when we see where his ability to defeat the last one comes from, why is the world and specifically Scott Pilgrim's life being akin to a video game not a surprise to anyone?  Because it is clear from the scenes in the film that all video game like action is not just in Scott's head.

Overall, the film tries WAAAAAY too hard.  It wants to be visually stunning, but in my opinion is more often than not annoying.  Some (my girlfriend) have tried to convince me that this movie is an attack on hipsters, and while I agree that might be a theme in this movie (even the most important one) that doesn't forgive the film for how hard it works to say "I'm cool, if you're cool you will like me!"  I'm sorry, when you work that hard to seem cool, you don't appear cool, I just pity you.

As I said earlier, I love video games, but the video games that I like generally have a good story, I don't like them because there are boss fights or because of experience points or because of any of the video game type things that happen in this film, I like them because of good gameplay, sure, but primarily because of story, and this film does not have a strong story at all.

It seems to me (and again, I haven't read the graphic novel) that the story was an after thought, and that the writers mainly wanted to focus the project around the idea of using the language and structure of video games.  I think using that structure and the language of video games that all of us who game a lot would know and immediately recognize is a good idea, but that in doing so it should be because it serves and accentuates the story, not try and fit the story (such as it is) around it.

This has been a down year for movies thus far, and I had high hopes for this one (I don't even hate Michael Cera as much as some people do, although I admit that he has only ever played George Micheal Bluth), but it did not live up to those hopes, at least for me.

Until Next Time, If you liked it, I'm glad that you did, but it isn't a film that worked for me.

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