1. My wife is a trooper and sweetheart for actually wanting to see a comic book movie with me, especially one steeped in video game and indie rock nerdery.
2. Regardless of my feelings about this movie, you should go see it. It’s a cinematic achievement for the visuals alone – not because it’s broken new ground in special effects technology, but because it’s extraordinarily creative in the translation of the books to the screen. While there are many direct visual quotations of certain panels, there are plenty of cleverly designed extras and embellishments along the way that help merge the worlds of fantasy and reality.
But what did I think? Well I loved it…mostly.
Besides the joy of seeing a beloved piece of visual literature on screen, I appreciated many of the acting choices, the directing glory of Edgar Wright, and the sound track. Seriously, there was some tasty and grungy-dirty rock in this movie. The pace was exhilarating without feeling rushed. The references to video games (both visible and audible) activated my nostalgia gland. There were movie and television tropes galore used simultaneously as parody and loving homage.
So why the “mostly”? Well it has to do with some of what didn’t make it from the books to the screenplay. And no, I’m not hemming and hawing about picky details that I would have loved to see (THE EXISTENTIAL HORROR THAT IS HONEST ED’S, for example). This movie was nearly two-hours and it flew by. So it wasn’t simply that anything was missing; important character-development elements were missing. Some missing details made a few relationships and decisions hard to believe in the movie. And there were crucial bits left out that relate to Scott’s maturity and reconciliation with his own bad behavior. So while don’t mind that it wasn’t a 6-hour canon-fest, some of the emotional weight that makes you care about Scott, Ramona, et al. just wasn’t there.
I wonder, to some extent, whether this problem comes from the film developing simultaneously with some of the later volumes of the book. I can only speculate.
Ultimately I enjoyed this movie, though. I’ll likely see it again, and I’m quite likely to buy the movie when it comes out. It lived up to 99% of the hype in my mind, but that missing 1% means a lot to me.