Observe the extreme self-control with which I refrain from making some sort of lame subject-line pun about pilgrimage, or something. Although it was: I've been looking forward to Scott Pilgrim for months, on account of (a) hopeless Brian Lee O'Malley fangirling, (b) hopeless Edgar Wright fangirling, and (c) general nerdy indy-music video-game fangirling.
So, first off: wheee! I am somewhat thoroughly immersed in the comic books, having read the whole series three times since August, when I bought them in a bizarre and distributed acquisition spree across two airports, three bookshops and the length, lingth and longth of Britain. I <3 Edgar Wright. The mood, tone and feel of the film is pitch-perfect; it's almost impeccably cast, cleverly scripted, and the editing and cinematography are always competent and occasionally bloody marvellous. It's in spirit and very largely in plot an extremely faithful adaptation, with whole chunks of dialogue and framing of shots stolen wholesale from the comics. It made me giggle with unseemly glee rather often. (Particularly, for some reason, in the first Sex Bob-Omb song. I don't know if it was simply the dreadful Canal Walk sound, but the whole thing came across with the absolutely perfect incoherent repetitive garage-band distort. It made me very happy.)
The six books of the comic are rather a chunk of narrative to cram into a (mercifully short! - I wish more modern movies would keep it under 2 hours) film, and by necessity some subplots were lost. I can see why they did it, but I mourn the absence of Knives Chau's sword-wielding dad, the gay Stephen Stills thread and Envy's bionic-armed drummer having the fling with the vegan Evil Ex. I also very much didn't enjoy the relocation of the Knives/Ramona fight from the library to the final confrontation with Gideon, it seemed to me to thematically distort the whole thing: Ramona/Scott/Knives is never a legitimate triangle, it's always Scott/Ramona/Gideon. I suppose they had to lose the more weird and confusing bits inside Ramona's head, but it also, I think, weakened the conflict to reduce it to a DNI on the back of Ramona's neck. Sigh. Besides, it denied me the joy of watching Scott crawl into Ramona's dimension-warping handbag, which has always seemed to me to be a beautifully incongruous Freudian image.
The casting is genius, or at least mostly genius. I took an unholy pleasure in watching Brandon Routh and Chris Evans send themselves up - they did it so wholeheartedly. A lot of the casting was visually spot-on, with Kim Pine, all the evil exes and Stephen Stills being particularly faithful visual echos of the comics. You don't realise how much a real actor can look like a line drawing until you see it in action. Ramona wasn't quite perfect, but I thoroughly enjoyed her nonetheless, possibly because she reminded me continuously and irresistibly of Nantalith, who simply has to dye her hair pink sometime for my amusement. The casting which didn't quite work for me, strangely, was in Envy and Scott. As she's drawn, Envy Adams is absolutely the best excuse any movie will ever have to cast a high-cheekboned pointy-faced stick insect, which Brie Larson, despite some seriously rocking moves during the Clash at Demonhead performance, simply isn't. (Also, who's called Brie, anyway? now I'm hungry). And Michael Cera, despite being a reasonable approximation of Scott in terms of nerdy vagueness, is always and inescapably Michael Cera.
Quibbling aside, however, I loved this movie - I loved its speed, its ability to mimic the comics in a narrative construction which is all about inconsequential juxapositions, its faithful visual renditions not only of characters but of all the video-game nods and elements. I loved the over-the-top framing of the fight choreography and the way that the film didn't fulfil my fear that they'd disrupt its central fantasy conceit, that Scott Pilgrim can kick anyone's butt. (So many contemporary fantasy films bog down in "The Hero Acquires His Skills". It's trite. The comics make me very happy in their complete refusal to examine how it is that Scott does what he does). I loved the music. The music made me nostalgic for my days in a garage band, and I've never even been in a garage band.
This is one for the DVD collection. I shall happily re-watch it whenever I want to break out my delusion that Hollywood can make movies which are sensitive to their source material, and are able to embody the happy, essentially innocent fantasy of a world in which the extra geeky dimensions are unquestioned and joyously real. Or whatever.