“And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small café in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.”
It took a bit of convincing from Dan, but eventually I read the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels. I knew right away that this was a book written for people like me. Just like Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog, people older or younger than me would never get the full appreciation of all the references. I thoroughly hated the eponymous protagonist until I got near the end of the book and realized why he was so annoying. So, once my brother got the movie on Blu-ray, I knew it’d be just a matter of time before I saw it. I think the movie’s casting was spot-on. The actors who played Kim Pine, Knives Chau, Wallace Well, and Young Neil were perfect. Their delivery (and, to some extent, appearance) was exactly what I pictured it would be like. Michael Cera was even a really good choice for Scott. He wasn’t as perfect, but he did a good job and it fit his acting abilities. Ramona Flowers’ actress was also good, although not as great as the others.
I’ve seen a few movies that have come from comic book adaptations. Some, like the Marvel movies (X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk, etc) take the comics as a starting point and then create something new specifically for the medium of film. It’s similar to the way that Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has changed in every medium it’s been adapted to, while remaining faithful to the source in terms of characters, motivations, etc. Then there are movies like Watchmen that use the comic as a storyboard for the film and copy it almost completely. (And I’ve also seen Sin City and V for Vendetta, but never read the comics) I really did not enjoy the X-Men and Spider-Man movies as much as I should have. I was a collector of the books and a huge fan of the comics and the cartoon adaptations. There were a lot of different reasons for that, but I think what killed it most strongly for me is that those characters are best adapted to a TV Series. Movies can’t do justice to the complex storylines and characters. I really enjoyed Watchmen and I think that’s party due to the fact that it’s a self-contained story. Of course, as the professional reviews and opinions of my friends and family have revealed, there are perils to adapting a comic straight to a movie. Some things just work better in some mediums. For example, most (though, not all) books are better than the movies they’re made into. While movies that were born as movies or even expanded out from a short story source material, tend to be better movies. For what it’s worth, I really enjoyed Sin City and V for Vendetta.
Scott Pilgrim was an attempt to make the movie along the same lines as Watchman – adapting the comic as closely as possible. To that end, I think it had a wonderful start. The first 1/4 to 1/2 of the movie is great. After that, however, it becomes a train wreck that only someone who read, understood, and enjoyed the graphic novels can make any sense of. In fact, the part of the comics that was the most important – Scott’s discovery of Nega-Scott and what that meant for the way he interacted with his friends and what he remembered – was almost completely cut from the movie. What happened, and I think Dan agrees with me, is that they ran out of time at the pace that they were going. The movie would have had to be way too long and so they rushed the ending. What I wish they would have done is just split it into two movies. I think it would have made a lot more sense and garnered much better reviews that way. The ended really does get too bizarre the way it’s written and there really is too much good stuff that doesn’t make it in. Of course, as Dan countered, the second film might not have been made due to the niche audience behind Scott Pilgrim. I think that could have been ameliorated by filming both movies at once. I’ve read about quite a few directors/producers that have done that in order to ensure that both movies are made and it tends to reduce costs. Afterwards, if it didn’t make it to the theatres, they could have recouped the money on DVDs – the same way that the first Austin Powers movie became a hit.
If you never read the Scott Pilgrim books, stay far away from this movie. You’ll probably hate it (most people I know that did this did hate it). If you have read the books, the movie is entertaining, but it’s frustrating to know they started off so well and then bombed at the end.
The Hitch Hiker’s Guice to the Galaxy had such wonderful and amazing quotes in it that I was horribly dissapointed when the movie didn’t share more of these quotes. Here are two of my favorites, with more to follow.
The intro to the first book, which set the tone and got me very happy about the book to follow:
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
Orbiting this at a distance of roughtly 92 million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.
This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the time the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean and more of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.
Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and tha tno one shoul dever have left the oceans.
And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small face in rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going worng all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.
Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone about it, a terrible stupid catastraphe occurre, and the idea was lost forever.
This is not her story.
But it is the story of that terrible stupid catastrophe and some of its consequences.
And from the Hitch Hiker’s Guide, which is a book in the book for which it it named.
‘The Babel fish’, said The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quietly, ‘is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier, but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then extretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious though frequencies with the nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.
‘Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existance of God.
‘The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without fait I am nothing.”
‘”But,” says Man, “the Bable fish is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore by your your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”
‘”Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
‘”Oh, that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.’
Friday I went to go see Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as you may recall. I was quite excited about seeing it as I had read one of the five books and watched the old BBC adaptation. The movie certainly started off very well with an entertaining opening sequence, but I was left quite dissapointed. Why? At first I couldn’t really articulate what it was about the movie that was lacking. There wasn’t anything specifically wrong with it, but then more and more things came to mind and I realized why I didn’t like it.
First of all, they got rid of a lot of entries from the Hitchhiker’s Guide. I consider the book to be, in a sense, the book’s main character. To leave out so many entries was akin to leaving out Arthur Dent, in my opinion. Additionally, to me it was the entries from the Guide that really made the book so fun for me. The story was pretty neat, but the hilarious entries were what I loved. Some of the entries I truly missed were (in summary):
-the entry about how the Babel fish disproves the existence of God
-the entry about the girl who had just figured out the key to happiness before the Earth was distroyed
-the entry about teenagers in the universe who would mess with Earth yokels as a prank
-the entry explaining the reasons for buying planets and why the earth-building planet had to be blown up
-the entry about Arthur screaming something which started an intergallactic war
and a few others.
While they would have added some length to the movie, it would have totalled to maybe an extra 15 minutes, if that! I was really dissapointed by that.
Also, perhaps it was just that we watched the movie in a crappy movie theatre, but I found it hard to sometimes hear what the characters were saying. This took away from the film since I had to be straining to hear what they were saying a majority of the time.
If I had to sum it up I would say that the book was overly complex – the genius of Douglas Adams and his cheeky humor. However, the movie was considerably less complex. The fans would have been done a better service had the movie done a much better job of potraying this complexity. Doubtless some people will be so fanatically dedicated to the series that they will find no fault with the movie. I, however, would probably give it a B- or worse. One thing is for sure, if they bring out the sequels, I will have to go by myself or with my brothers for my fiancee found the movie dreadful.
Just one more day until two key things occur:
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comes out and Daniel’s girlfriend comes up to Ithaca.
I’m really excited about the movie because it’s been getting some awesome reviews and I think that it is a wonderful and smartly funny story. Douglas Adams is awesome.
I’m happy that Ash is coming up because that makes my brother so happy. Anything that makes my family happy is awesome. I know he misses her a lot so I hope she arrives on time and they have have a good week together.