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This weekend's big buzz movie is 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,' based on a comic book series by Bryan Lee O'Malley and starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Chris Evans, among others. The 'Scott Pilgrim' series has been burning up the best-seller lists and best-of charts since 2004, winning the hearts and minds of comics fans despite being completely lacking in superheroes (save for a brief conversation late in the series). Thousands of loving fans propelled 'Scott Pilgrim' to comic book smash hit status, and the movie looks to be a faithful translation of its source material.

To outsiders, 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' may look like yet another goofy teen movie, with the added bonus of being a comic book tie-in, too. Except, 'Scott Pilgrim' doesn't have the immediately apparent appeal of 'Iron Man' or 'The Dark Knight.' It just looks like a goofy love story, right? Well, there are actually quite a few reasons why 'Scott Pilgrim' will end up being a good movie, and they happen to be the same reasons why comics fans are so psyched to see the movie. Just to keep it short and sweet, here are five of them to clue you in before you hit your local multiplex this weekend.
This weekend's big buzz movie is 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,' based on a comic book series by Bryan Lee O'Malley and starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Chris Evans, among others. The 'Scott Pilgrim' series has been burning up the best-seller lists and best-of charts since 2004, winning the hearts and minds of comics fans despite being completely lacking in superheroes (save for a brief conversation late in the series). Thousands of loving fans propelled 'Scott Pilgrim' to comic book smash hit status, and the movie looks to be a faithful translation of its source material.

To outsiders, 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' may look like yet another goofy teen movie, with the added bonus of being a comic book tie-in, too. Except, 'Scott Pilgrim' doesn't have the immediately apparent appeal of 'Iron Man' or 'The Dark Knight.' It just looks like a goofy love story, right? Well, there are actually quite a few reasons why 'Scott Pilgrim' will end up being a good movie, and they happen to be the same reasons why comics fans are so psyched to see the movie. Just to keep it short and sweet, here are five of them to clue you in before you hit your local multiplex this weekend.

Scott Pilgrim is a little socially awkward, a little dopey, quick to fall in love, and eager to please. The coolest cat and the smoothest player have all had those moments where they flub their pickup line or find themselves completely at a loss when meeting someone new. While Pilgrim is a little goofier than most, he's very easy to relate to. Cera is in serious danger of typecasting himself at this point, but Scott Pilgrim is the role he was born to play. If you've paid the slightest bit of attention to Cera's career, you know that he has been practicing for this role forever. You can draw a direct line to Scott Pilgrim from George Michael Bluth in 'Arrested Development,' Paulie in 'Juno' and Evan in 'Superbad.'

Through those roles, Cera managed to slide right into the slightly hipster-y everyman role that Shia LeBouf vacated years ago. He's cool, but not so cool that you hate him on sight. He's dorky, but not so dorky that you just roll your eyes when he does something goofy. He's right there in that sweet spot, in the middle of the cool/dork spectrum, and that's the perfect placement for a character like Pilgrim. Cera has had a lot of practice to get this right, and with the fact that 'Scott Pilgrim' is an action/adventure movie starring a character who is pretty much every Cera role combined, there's almost no doubt that he'll knock it out of the park. What's more, Pilgrim and Cera are both Canadian. With this many coincidences lining up all at once, it's only fair to consider this some kind of a miracle.

'Scott Pilgrim' is funny. Action movies, in the wake of the perfectly good 'Bourne' trilogy and Daniel Craig's recent run as James Bond, have been very po-faced, deathly serious affairs. The funny, one-liner heavy action movies that Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger made popular have been left behind in favor of movies that want to convince you that the world is at stake and there's no time for jokes. The 'Scott Pilgrim' comics placed the funny alongside the violence, with a plethora of dopey hipster jokes and funny fighting scenes.

The thing that keeps 'Scott Pilgrim' chugging along is the fact that aside from its absolutely absurd premise, the book is filled with jokes. Pilgrim is dopey, his friends are sarcastic, and the seven evil exes of his girlfriend Ramona are wonderfully out there. The movie looks to maintain the same level of humor, from Evans's pneumatic eyebrows to the "lesbians" joke in the trailer. 'Scott Pilgrim' should have a sublime mix of cheap laughs, pun-ishing one-liners, and some wonderfully cartoony visual humor. People getting beaten up and cracking jokes: isn't that what movies are for?

'Scott Pilgrim's' plot sounds pretty goofy, but is actually pretty reasonable. It's said that there's a lot of truth in jest, and having to defeat your new girlfriend's seven evil exes definitely sounds like a joke. But, if you look at it from another angle, it's a pretty clear metaphor for getting to know someone, and coming to terms with their past. It's easy to wonder if you're better than your new boyfriend or girlfriend's exes, or if they are going to pop up at some point and ruin your happy relationship. Look at Pilgrim's battle against Ramona's evil exes as an entertaining representation of the thought processes we all go through when learning to love someone new. Pilgrim has to conquer Ramona's exes before he can truly settle down with her. Everyone's had to work through issues like this when dating someone new, and the 'Scott Pilgrim' series did a great job of hiding this intensely relatable metaphor inside an action-packed, funny, and exciting plot.

(You can also look at it as a funny way to go about dating someone, but the metaphor works, too.)

'Scott Pilgrim' director Edgar Wright has a pretty great track record in creating funny films that are a little more deep than the usual gross-out comedies that litter the cinema these days. 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz' were two hilarious films with deeper messages about friendship, grief and responsibility couched inside gory zombie fighting and references to 'Bad Boys II.' If any director was created specifically to guide 'Scott Pilgrim' from the page to the screen, Wright is the one. A faithful translation is something every comics fan likes to see, particularly when the source material is this good.

Video games have traditionally done poorly when being turned into movies, but 'Scott Pilgrim' might just be the first good video game movie. Granted, it's based on a graphic novel, not a video game, but hear me out. 'Scott Pilgrim' the comic book is positively infused with video game references and logic. Pilgrim picks up extra lives, he gains new abilities after beating up Ramona's exes, and after people get beaten up, they leave behind coins.

The reason the movie counts as a video game movie is because they left all of that stuff in. In fact, it's in the movie's very DNA. You can't have 'Scott Pilgrim' without one-up jokes,'Street Fighter' references (the voice shouting "KO!" in the first trailer was directly from Capcom's 'Street Fighter Alpha 3'), and 'River City Ransom' logic. Rather than being a cheap licensing maneuver or something to be ignored in favor of an all-new story, all of the video game stuff is actually integral.

Comics fans and video game fans have both suffered a ton of bad movies based on beloved games or books. Whether due to simple inaccuracy, cheap production values, bad acting or just being purely inept, movies based on comics or games have a pretty poor track record. For probably the first time ever, there's a movie coming out that manages to blend both battered genres and look good doing it. We're long overdue for a video game-themed movie that we can recommend to friends and family, and 'Scott Pilgrim' is it.

If 'Scott Pilgrim' is a hit, Bryan Lee O'Malley will officially become your good old-fashioned independent success story. O'Malley is one of us. He's a guy who just wanted to make a few comics and tell a story. 'Scott Pilgrim' began life as a humble little graphic novel put out by Oni Press in 2004. It was a weird little mash-up of video game minutiae, goofy romance, manga-inspired action, and really good jokes. It blew everyone's minds back when it came out, impressing both critics and fans alike, and quickly became the talk of the comics world. Every new entry in the series was fulfilling in completely different ways, and the comic industry suddenly had a brand new smash hit on its hands.

Six years later and O'Malley is looking at a first print run of 100,000 copies for 'Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour,' an absolutely insane print run for a graphic novel these days, and a major motion picture based on his work hitting big screens all over the world. The success of 'Scott Pilgrim,' whether the movie or the comics, is something awesome and shows that with a little hard work (and a whole lot of skill), anyone can make it. (Read Moviefone's interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley)

'Scott Pilgrim' Trailer


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