One of the most famous graphic novels in the comic book world, ‘Scott Pilgrim’, by Bryan Lee O’Malley, is worth a read. A six edition series, ‘Scott Pilgrim’ follows the story of 23-year-old Canadian Scott Pilgrim (who would have guessed the protagonist’s name?), and specifically, his relationship with the mysterious Ramona Flowers. With a plethora of references to video games, the premise of the story is this; in order to be with Ramona, Scott must first defeat her seven evil exes. Upon besting each one in battle, the past partners of Scott’s potential love interest burst into coins, each seemingly worth more than the previous one. The references to gaming are better presented in the film adaptation of the story, ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World’, starring Michael Cera as Scott himself. A top selling DVD upon release, this adaptation certainly provides a new depth to the original series, but is, sadly, unable to capture its true essence.
The story of both the graphic novels, and the film adaptation begin at band practice. Scott is the bass guitarist of Sex Bo-bomb, with Kim Pines (The Girl) on the drums, and Steven Stills (The Talent) on lead guitar and vocals. Whilst they have a great passion for music… there is a reason why they’ve achieved little. This is where not only our protagonists are introduced, but also Scott’s girlfriend, who is not Ramona Flowers, but the enthusiastic Knives Chau. Whilst at the library with Knives, Scott catches a glimpse of an amazon delivery girl, recognising her as a girl present in one of his dreams. Running into her again at a party, sans girlfriend, Scott works up the nerve to ask out Ramona, who warns him about her past. Nevertheless, Scott persists. Everything seems to be going well, despite the fact that Pilgrim has two girlfriends who don’t know about one another - until the battle of the bands contest. There, the first Evil Ex, Matthew Patel, reveals himself, challenging Scott to a battle. It is there the greater quest begins, Scott battling such opponents as a film star, a half-ninja, and a vegan with mystical powers. But when Ramona disappears, Scott must ask himself, is the fighting worth it?
Despite both formats following a similar storyline, there is a significant difference between the two. The original series focuses less on the relationship between Scott and Ramon, and more on Scott’s relationship with himself. For example, he recollects the time he beat a bully in order to save Kim, during his school years, when in reality, he physically assaulted a boy who was simply talking to her. This recognition of personal flaws is integral to the story’s message, pointing out how important it is to be at peace, as an individual, before entering into relationships. Whilst the omittance of such an important message is annoying, it is also understandable. Films, realistically, should not be longer than two hours, and it would be impossible to fit the entire plot into such a short space of time. This, of course, is not specific to ‘Scott Pilgrim/Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World’. Most adaptations are guilty of this, from ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ To the Harry Potter movies adored by many. Still, this missing factor aids in making ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World’ that little bit less enjoyable than the original story.
Despite the flaws of the film, it is still worth watching, but I feel that in order to truly understand the tale, the graphic novel must also be read. The five prestigious awards won by O’Malley, in regards to ‘Scott Pilgrim’, are rightly deserved, and for all those interested in comic books, this cult sensation is a must-read.