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Scott Pilgrim

i was asking myself, what should be my first real post on my new blog? should i write about the happenings of my life of the past year, or about my recent attempts in the arts, or a big article about my love life? hell, fuck it, i’ll just write about Scott Pilgrim…

oh yeah, i am a sucker for the whole Scott Pilgrim universe! liked it from my first steps into it, an loved it more and more since then.
if you are not familiar with this franchise, let me try to wrap it up as short as i can: Scott Pilgrim started as comic series by canadian artist Bryan Lee O’Malley, the comic finished after six issues, all of the range of a common manga. the series was made into a full length live action movie this year, starring Michael Cera, plus a video game for the PSN.
it’s about… well… music and video games! and it’s AWESOME!!

i can’t emphasize how awesome SP is.
if your are at least the slightest into oldskool video gaming and/or kinda underground indie music fan, this is it for you. it’s nerdy as hell and all about references and homages. wacky, but serious, authentic,  but still pretty surreal. and just stuffed full with things you like – if you’re the target demographic. i kinda felt like this thing was especially made for me, because while reading/watching/playing my mind just bursted from the dozens of media references i could grab my attention on! plus it has a great and deep story, awesome characters, neat design, kick-ass action and heart-breaking good drama. awesome.

short personal history
let me short-recap how i got drawn into this whole thing. first of all, i have always been a big fan from Paul Robertson. e does some great retro pixel art, and always keeps fans updated on his current projects. once he started working on something called “Scott Pilgrim”, which i did not know about. but thanks to wikipedia i quickly got to know what to search for, hence i downloaded the comics. (okay, they are available in german, but i do not want them in german, and cannot afford to buy imports, so did not have another option, but to NOT read it. so i pirated again, thanks you stupid economy!! dig your own hole.)
at the beginning i kinda only liked SP, but with every page i loved it more and more. and since i already knew that Paul Robertson is working as the lead designer on a video game adaption, i was very hyped already. then i saw the trailer for the upcoming movie, and i was blown away! either, this would be the letdown of the year for SP fans, which happened to be film goers and were awaiting a good adaptation, or the best movie of the year. turns out it was the second outcome ; )
the movie was already out in the US when i was reading the comics, and a german release was set to january of 2011, which was WAY too far away. to compensate i downloaded the PSN game and played it parallel to reading the comic (same story, so what), along in co-op with a friend of mine. but i became so desperate, that i started downloading screener of the movie, which all turned out to be shitty as hell (what was i expecting??).
but as fate wanted it, the movie got – for some reason – released sooner in germany and it ran for ONE WEEK in october. i finished the comic, shortly afterwards i finished the game with my friend, and shortly after that we both saw the movie in german cinema. after that i played the shit out of the game, and after it’s release i got me a copy of the HD blu-ray of the movie.

the comic

total nerd shit. geeky as hell.
i fucking love references to stuff i like, especially if it’s not in-your-face, but subtle. well, we can discuss if SP is ‘subtle’ with its references, but sure to god it is so packed with them, it’s undescribable. the character names, the chapter titles, the music (yes, there is music in the comic), the locations (most are actual locations in Toronto!), quotes, and even blunt mentionings – it’s a mess.
well, it WOULD be, if not for the awesomeness storyline and the characters! it all fits so well. i won’t go into detail, just trust me on that ; )
my personal ones may be the Smashing Pumpkins references. SP does not only share his initials, but he also wears their band shirts (even Billy Corgan’s famous “Zero” shirt, fuck yeah). and band references to bands you will probably not know. i personally love canadian indie rock, so i have a slightly tighter grasp on the matter and can point out references to bands like Metric, Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene. my favorite video game reference is when Scott can’t get the skateboard item he earned, because he did not have the skill, because when he had the chance to learn it as a kid, he did not.
the Distressed Watcher once complained that the movie failed (partly) due to a lag of seasonal timing, and explained that it should have been released in the 90s, when the spirit the movie tried to portrait was still alive in reality. but well, i guess what the comic did better than the movie was showing that it did not try to portrait specific time span, but more of the spirit of a certain demographic, which is – i admit – a rather small group of people. but you could easily take out references to modern video games, or the usage of mobile phones (which we did not have prior to 2004) – et voila, SP takes place in the 90s. and it fits. BUT it is not meant to play in any specific time. it just is.

the movie

… was a GREAT adaption.
i could not believe how tight a movie adaption can be to its source material, but this movie watches just like the comic reads – and this is an awesome accomplishment.
the actors were casted extremely well – from the main cast, down to the last of the supporting cast. i bet every one of the  involved personal had to read the comic first, otherwise i can not explain why everybody did such a great job on that. the fight choreography was astonishing amazing, i did not even HAVE to be that great! but it was.
and the music. wow, the music. they hired Beck for it, and as he kinda represents what most of the franchise is about, he did an enormous great job. and it had to, because the music was too important for the adaption to be fucked up bad. because, when it all comes down, SP is all about the music. for me personally i find the music just a BIT too pop-music-like, but it still gets a solid A- for being so fittingly good.
in a nutshell: this is the best adaption of anything, every produced. and only for this small fact this movie should get dozens of prices and shit i don’t actually care about. i don’t even care it flopped at the box office, and was a commercial black hole, because it does not change a thing. there are dozens of reasons why it flopped, and none of it does tell anything about the quality of the movie, so don’t get fooled by the media! this movie rocks, and you should see it. period.

the game

wow was this game awesome! it had everything a retro-gamer like me was waiting for – it was cheap, it was hard to play, the fighting system pure dynamite and fun as hell! like a Paul Robertson movie, but playable (gosh, i was waiting for something like that for a long time), plus the pseudo 8bit soundtrack KICKS ASS.
seriously, i played the shit out of that game, completed all the characters, leveled everybody to their max stats, unlocked all the trophies, and so on. even with the later released DLC.  this were the best 12 euros i ever spend (yes, the european price in euros was identical to the US price in dollars, so it was by far more expensive here in europeland, which is something to hate Sony for. but at least this was money well spend.)
it had some additional game references, like Mega Man homages, Super Mario World, Ninja Gaiden, and so on. the gameplay itself was pretty much like good old River City Ransom, but by far more advanced! the fun gameplay (accompanied by the co-op game mode) sucked me in, the unlockables and secrets kept me chained to the console.

to sum up, awesome nerdy shit, up to an extreme level every underground geek always dreamed of.
indie rock and oldskool game fans will never forget it. if you’re not either of this demographic, leave your hands from it. otherwise there is no way around for you ; )

(and yes, i was listening to all three soundtracks while writing this)

i just found this awesome funny video – the Scott Pilgrim vs. The Matrix trailer!!

comments (1)

  1. Urusai Mono | 2011-Jan-16, 19:02:24 |

    I laughed so hard at the Scott Pilgrim vs. The Matrix trailer. Awesome shit. Still need to watch the movie. And read the comic. And play the game. Argh, sucks.

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