There is only one thing in this world that successfully combines video gaming, fighting power and an adventure to blow your mind – and it’s all contained in a series of pint-sized comics, of which five out of six have already been released. The film and the final installment are due out in 2010.
If you don’t already know anything about Scott Pilgrim, I can assure you that you’ll be glad I came along. For he is not only the biggest geek/dork that you’ll ever come across, but he is also the most awesome fighter you shall ever lay your wide eyes upon. He surpasses all kinds of intergalactic brilliance, doesn’t drink alcohol and sure as hell won’t take any nonsense from vegans. Through the magnificence that is Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s mind, Pilgrim exploded onto the comic book scene in 2004 and so much so that Edgar Wright decided he needed to reciprocate the love by directing the film, named after the fourth book: Scott Pilgrim vs The World. O’Malley has been keeping us entertained on Twitter with his Pilgrim updates – and if you’re around on it also and care for more of my ramblings, then feel free to add me (it’d be a good idea to leave a comment below so I know who you are).
I can’t help but hear the echoed thoughts of you all still wondering why you should give two hoots about this loser. Not, O’Malley that is, but our main man – Scott. He epitomises everything one shouldn’t be in life and yet he oozes a confidence that most of us wish we had. There has to be something about him that makes me (plus several thousand, probably millions of, others) want him to be our friend. What makes him shine is his personal code of ethics that helps him get through his days; let’s take a closer look at the five things that Scott has that makes him Super Awesome.
Firstly, he must make sure he scrounges as much off other people as is possibly feasible on any given day. This is mostly done through his wondrous gay roommate, Wallis. Now, Wallis provides everything for Scott – somewhere to live, food to eat, a computer to use… and a bed to share. Although Scott hates all the gay jibes Wallis throws at him, he is still very close to Wallis and respects him for being a great friend. Plus, there has to be something said for Wallis forever letting Scott indoors after he’s managed to, yet again, lock himself out of the apartment! Eventually, Scott moves into his girlfriend’s place and she becomes his provider. He has always managed to survive through his friends’ generosity – and we all know how important good friends are.
Secondly, being part of a rock band is not only a dream, but a necessity. His band is the collective that is made up of Mr. Pilgrim on the bass, Mr. Stephen Stills on lead guitar and Ms. Kim Pine on the drums. Give it up for Sex Bob-omb, everybody! The band gets together and rehearses often – usually stating that Stephen is the talent in the band. They have to compete with the likes of other bands playing sets that are 0.4 seconds long and other bands that leave the entire audience comatose. It’s a hard life being in a rock band.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this craziness, Scott manages to live life as if he’s perpetually in a computer game. He is able to use his fighting ability (see next paragraph) to conquer and make his way through his awkward life. His mission in life, should he choose to accept it, is to defeat Ramona’s (his new girlfriend) seven ex-boyfriends in order to be able to date her properly. As he strolls on through his existence, he receives experience points for completing tasks, he sees his own head bobbing waiting for him to collect for his very own 1-up, as well as being able to collect a massive bonus for killing a set of twins that she used to once date. I can’t even begin to describe the tingly feeling you receive when reading the books, making you forever want Scott to fight his way through everything – slashing, punching and kicking his way to epic win situations.
We then have his ability to kick the living faeces out of anyone that poses a threat to him – or his friends. There isn’t much that Scott does well, but his fighting power is his sure-fire way to make it to tomorrow. Any numbers of villains on any given day try to defeat Scott and Ramona as they amble on, and it is with his awesome skills that they are able to remain alive. The books contain a great deal of first-person shooter action which allows him to fight the likes of Todd Ingram, a vegan. Todd claims that he gains his powers from using the extra 90% percent of his brain, whereas non-vegans use only 10% of their brain. Despite coming top of his class at Vegan Academy, Scott shows him a thing or two about fighting, and soon enough Todd is reduced to nothing but a pile of coins for collection.
Finally, something that all fighters and gamers alike need is… a big heart. You won’t be able to get through life, or your day, without caring for those around you and despite being a bit of a moron on occasion, Scott’s heart is definitely in the right place. He feels so much that he is sometimes reduced to laying in bed, daydreaming about things that are out of his control (a certain dream about Scott being referenced to Link from Zelda, comes to mind). He struggles like the rest of us and feels pain like no other. His heart is so big that he even manages to date two girls at the same time, for a short while. But, before you start to dislike him, know this: there is nowhere else you will see a boy engaged in a fight over a girl, whereby he tells her he loves her and as a result gains 9999 experience points – and manages to gain a level up giving the power of love, which surfaces in the form of a sword for him to defeat his next opponent. Now, if that isn’t genius storytelling, I don’t know what is.
Edgar Wright has taken on a great challenge to make this into a live-action feature. Scott is played by the boyish Michael Cera (of Arrested Development and Superbad fame) and Ramona is played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Death Proof and Die Hard 4). It is refreshing to see some of the locations in the film true to their written and pictorial form, as was originally penned by O’Malley. It is also convenient that Michael Cera himself is Canadian – altogether adding to the authenticity of the wonder that is Scott Pilgrim. After watching the video diaries that started in March, I am eagerly anticipating this production making it to screen. I have no doubt, also, that the San Francisco Game Developer’s Conference (2010) will be all about this film because of its gaming references and general all-round awesomeness. I have ants in my pants just thinking about being there next year and just cannot wait for the hype to begin.
Scott Pilgrim is one big pile of squishy, loveable wholesome goodness all rolled into one human being. He’s shy, definitely not too smart and wears his heart on his sleeve. If you can’t relate to him, you have to seriously already be dead. I defy you to read the first book and hate it. You’ll be back for more, for sure.
P.S. If you’re now hooked or just have a passing interest, I’d suggest buying the Scott Pilgrim books from here. Don’t order them internationally, for that would be foolish. Alternatively, if you know me, feel free to borrow mine… whenever I get them back from the slow coach that already has them. Sod it, I take that back – it’ll be quicker for you to buy them, friends!