“Scott Pilgrim” is a long series of short graphic stories that consists of six black-and-white volumes. The idea of filming belongs to Bryan Lee O’Malley. The main idea of the series is to depict an ordinary life of present-day young people, to outline their worries, concerns, and interests. The typical character, Scott Pilgrim from Canada, is 23 year old, plays a popular bass guitar as he is a part-time musician from Toronto. Scott falls in love with a simple American girl who works in delivery. Ramona Flowers, however, is not as simple as it seems at the first sight – she has seven past love stories which hinder Scott Pilgrim from being with her, as all her seven ex-boyfriends try to interfere in different ways into their relationship to make him join their League of Exes.
In August 2010, the film adaptation of these series under the title “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” was released starring Michael Cera as the leading actor. The film is considered to be less successful as the series. The same month, a video game about featuring the characters from he movie was developed.
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The first series begins revealing to the viewer the relationship of Scott Pilgrim and Knives Chau who is only seventeen years old. She is studying in the local high school and has Canadian-Chinese roots. At this point, the viewer can already sense some problem arising: The Knives Chau is underage, however, Scott sees no problem in it at all. He does not pay attention to the words of caution from his friends and continues to be with the girl who he does not really love, but while he seeks his dream-girl, he is with Knives. Their relationship is quite platonic, excluding any intimate contact, as Scott says: “All we ever do is talk”. Knives does not want to agree to it as with her still childish naivety, she is inclined to think that all her feelings are real and will last forever.
One fateful night, Scott sees a dream about a girl on rollerblades. Dreams come true, and soon enough he sees her in reality: Ramona Flowers is a newcomer from New York. She has just broken up with one of her boyfriends, Gideon, and everyone is talking about this break-up. The girl seems to be a little bit weird. She walks around with a purse and tells people that she can travel through a ‘subspace’ which is some special alternate dimension and her purse serves as a portal into there.
Scott’s attempts to meet with the girl again are marked by ominous signs: He gets a threatening e-mail from some Matthew Patel who comes to the concert of Scott’s bands and reveals his mystical powers saying that he is one of the exes of Ramona. After Pilgrim defeats Patel, Ramona and he decide to be together if he is strong and brave enough to fight against her other six ex-boyfriends.
The next series deal with Scott’s heroic defeats of all those who threat his love or his friends. Knives Chau is forgotten, and Scott does not have intentions to be with her anymore since he has Ramona Flowers in his life. However, a seventeen-year-old girl is not as naive and powerless as people around tend to treat her. Knives attacks Ramona at the library but then she finds out that Scott was mean enough to cheat on her as well as on his new girlfriend at the same time, so she resides.
Scott behaves like a person who cares about no one’s feelings and who can be together with several girls and do not feel even the slightest pang of remorse. It appears that his feelings towards Ramona are really deep and all his ‘friendship’-like relationship with other girls are nothing but a mode of spending time.
Knives is a real example of bravery: Despite the fact that her father was totally against her dating Scott, she continued to be with him, proving the existence of real, faithful feelings. When her father attacks Scott, she still wants to be with him. Ramona, on the other hand, seems to have no feelings at all, and for her being with Pilgrim is more the way of having a new admirer, a lot of attention, and something new to do. However, as soon as the couple starts living together, the routine life makes Ramona bored and impatient, showing her really evil self to Scott. She tells Scott that he has been just another evil ex-boyfriend she has had, so they break up.
Scott Pilgrim finds out from the twins, who kidnapped his good friend, Kim, that Ramona, in fact, has been cheating on him all this time they were together. He realizes that all this time he has fought for the totally wrong girl, and he begins losing the fight. However, when Scott confronts Ramona, she recognizes that she is “a bad person”, but she really “had a good time” with him. Ramona Flowers disappears.
Ramona, however, also carries a good lesson with her. She reflects the most modern views of the today’s young people: Her inclination towards homosexualism which she merely calls “a phase” and which Scott considers to be “a sexy phase” are accepted as something usual, therefore, proving the liberal treatment of those minorities who were discriminated long ago and still often are.
On the other hand, we can see another discriminating but in a very negative way feature in the film: The Asiatic features of Knives Chau seem to be the first issue that stops Scott from stepping over the line of friendship with the girl. He jokes “Like Chinese food?” – stressing on her difference in appearance from the European-type people. This racist stereotype is turned down in the final scenes of the movie when Scott recognizes his mistakes and takes responsibility for all his actions.
The last series of the film is the most educative. Scott wastes his time after Ramona went away from his life, and cannot find the goal in his life. It often happens with people nowadays: They go to work, then back home, maybe visit some relatives or friends on the weekend, but when to ask these people what are their real goals in life, rarely someone will give you a coherent, extensive answer – people usually are not sure what they want, or they know but are too lazy or afraid to go for it, wasting their lives on doing the different from desired thing. Moreover, the majority of these people also spend time with those who they do not really care about or do not like at all. Kim teaches Scott how to find the meaning in life and do what he really likes to do, treasure those he loves, and become a serious and responsible adult forgetting his still childish attitudes towards life which reminded greatly the perception of the world by Knives Chau.
It is vital to learn to accept and take the lessons from each mistake being made – this is the central thought which Kim passes to Scott. She shows him how wrongful his deeds were in the past. If the person tries to run away from the mistakes, the happiness will run away from this person because only recognizing responsibility for one’s actions can bring harmony within oneself.
Pilgrim finally shows to be a brave person with his own opinion ready to fight for those he loves and be truthful with them. His decision to return Ramona is marked by success, and overcoming multiple challenges in the face of her ex-boyfriends as well as his own issues, they are together again. Poor Knives finally recognizes her role of a friend and goes to college to obtain some education and get prepared for the real adult life without head-jumping into it when it is not the proper time yet.
Observing Scott’s decisions and steps he makes, gives the viewer a very good insight into the development and becoming a clever human being. Scott’s mistakes and wrong-doings are reflected in each of people, and he proves that if personal drawbacks are confronted, life will be different, better. Scott’s fighting for Ramona’s love is, first of all, his fighting for his own manhood, for his right to be who he is.
It is not possible just to become the smart one without tasting the bitterness of mistakes, however, those who can educate themselves to grow morally and spiritually can obtain the life they desire. At the beginning it is crucial to recognize that to make mistakes is not bad but quite good, until lessons are learnt and conclusions made. Scott’s Pilgrim’s way from a careless boy to a reasonable man looks quite symbolic. Each time when he faces a new challenge represented by the next ex-boyfriend of Ramona Flowers, he needs more strength and competence to win. More and more problems appear from different sides, hindering his way to the dream. Scott shows a very good example: People usually give up when they are almost at the finish. They just need to reach out a hand and grasp what they have been heading for, however, they make a step back and give up. They feel miserable but cannot do something to change it, wasting their time on something totally useless as Scott on video games. At this point it is crucial that someone helps with a good piece of advice or the person in troubles finds some inspiration on his or her own. Therefore, good relationship with friends and family are important for those in search for their place in life.
Overcoming the difficulties which being with Ramona Flowers represent the hero of the film carries another important thought: If someone truly wants something, there should be serious steps made. Nothing can change without efforts, and idleness and apathy are the true foes of the progress and self-development. Scott proves that to make the dreams come true, a hard work should be done which frequently requires a lot of persistence, skills, enthusiasm, and courage to face the challenges and try again and again when the failure takes over.