The ScienceSaru-produced animated series rebuilds rather than retells Bryan Lee O'Malley's beloved comic.
Late in the final volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's 2004-2010 comic series Scott Pilgrim (Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour), once the action's done and the hateful Gideon Graves has been slain, protagonists Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers take a moment to process everything. Defeating Gideon meant facing not only the vicious misogynist swordsman but also their respective character flaws (It's telling that one of Scott's key moments is his realizing just how alike he and Gideon are, and by gaining that understanding, he affirms that, yeah, Gideon has so got to die).
There are a few candidates for Scott's actual finest hour in Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour. His after-action conversation/reconciliation/renewal with Ramona is my pick. Bryan Lee O'Malley/Oni Press.
As Ramona says, change is one of life's constants, which applies to Scott Pilgrim's ventures into new mediums. Edgar Wright's thoroughly enjoyable movie shifted around characters and reworked some of Scott's flaws. The colorful, impeccably soundtracked, hair-tearingly difficult Ubisoft-produced video game ramped up the goofy save for one particularly pointed ending. And now, with the Netflix animated series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, creator O'Malley—joined by co-writer and co-showrunner BenDavid Grabinski and animation studio ScienceSaru (with episode director Abel Góngora) have changed things up yet again. Rather than retell Scott Pilgrim as it's been since 2004 (a story already told, with riffs, as a comic, movie, and video game), the creative team opts for something more radical. It's a work as much in conversation with the Scott Pilgrim that came before as an adaptation. Continue Reading →
From De Palma's series launcher on, Cruise has used the tales of Ethan Hunt to ponder the nature of cinema as performance, perception, and manipulation.
The Mission: Impossible movies begin in perhaps the most inauspicious fashion possible: a computer tech, played by Emilio Estevez, watching security camera footage of clandestine crime scene clean-up. One of the men he's watching happens to be Tom Cruise in heavy prosthetics and a wig. It's an odd opening for an eight-film mega-franchise, a globe-trotting stunt spectacular that has attracted some of the world's biggest stars and most interesting actors—America's answer to Bond movies. But as the opening to a Brian De Palma movie, it's a no-brainer. Of course it starts with a dorky guy in a cramped little room watching unappealing CCTV footage of a crime of passion. That's De Palma.
Though Robert Towne wrote the script (he and Cruise were friends and artistic confidants; Cruise produced his 1998 movie Without Limits), the film is thoroughly De Palma's, never more so than when indulging in its covert operations. He films the opening sting from Cruise's POV, and its dizzying effect is rather like the opening to Dario Argento's Opera or its fellow perverse Italian horror thrillers. It is always disconcerting when movie characters address us but speak to someone else when we see what the hero sees see but cannot control what they do. We are seeing a performance from the inside, knowing that if the scene doesn't go off without a hitch, it could mean death for the man whose eyes we've been given for the duration. The Mission: Impossible movies have since changed directors four times, but their central tenet remains: they are about performance. They are about making movies to make sense of a senseless world. Continue Reading →