Today Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, director Edgar Wright's 112-minute film based on Bryan Lee O'Malley's six-volume, 1,200+-page action/comedy/romance/slice-of-life comics epic, was officially released. I went to see it.
Part of me sort of wishes I had never read any of O'Malley's comics, if only to have experienced the movie as a movie, but it's way too late for that. Because I've been living with O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim story in its original form for some six years or so (Well, off an on, anyway), it would be impossible (well, pretty hard) to separate the experience of the film from my experience with the comics and assess the film on its own, so I'm not going to bother trying to offer a review-review here (especially since no one's paying me to do so here).
I will say that I liked the film an awful lot, and neither my affection for the source material nor my excitement for the film lead to any form of disappointment.
I'll also note that despite how closely some of the scenes resemble those in the comics, and how much of the dialogue comes right out of the bubbles O'Malley drew over his characters' heads, it is a very, very different story than that of the comic.
Much of that is due to the hyper-compression of the plot; what covered years in the comics occurs in about a week here, and a lot of the sub-plots and character arcs involving Scott's web of friends and foes is whittled down to fit into a single, less-than-two-hour film. The tag line for the film is "an epic of epic epicness," but it's remarkably small in scope. There are fewer characters, fewer appearances by those characters, fewer conflicts, less time covered.
The story suffers somewhat because of that, or at least changes focus, so that it's a little less about growing up and thinking of others than it is a twentysomething music hipster kung fu movie (And man, it's pretty amazing to think that there's a big summer action movie in which the climax is Michael Cera kung fu-fighting Jason Schwartzman). Which is fine; I have the comics to tell the comics' story, I don't need a film version of the same thing done in the exact same way.
As a companion to the graphic novel, the film is pretty great. As a replacement? Well, there's no reason a film based on a comic needs to be considered in terms of a replacement of a comic, is there?
Added: Color, sound, movement, a ton of fighting
Missing: Mr. Chau, Joseph, Mobile, the Katayanagi Twins' robots, The Glow, "Last Song Kills Audience," Scott and company's orchestrated dance defense against Matthew Patel and his mystical powers, Ramona's handbag of holding, all reference of Ramona being a ninja, The Clash at Demonhead's drummer's bionic arm, Lisa Miller and the high school flashback (although you can see that here)
Could have used more of: Wallace Wells, Stacey Pilgrim, Envy Adams