book review: lost at sea

Bryan Lee O’Malley (best known for Scott Pilgrim) drew and wrote a high school road-trip book called Lost at Sea, and it’s fucking excellent.

The story is about four young people heading back to Canada from northern California. The viewpoint character is a quiet girl who doesn’t quite fit in, and she narrates how the difference is that she has no soul. I loved the inconsequential and the really important dialogue, the out-of-the-blue things that happen that follow the kind of road trip logic you abandon yourself to. It’s a different feel from Scott Pilgrim, much more realistic. And I love that the story ends before the road-trip is over. It just ends when the important stuff is over, and all the rest is what turns into road-trip inside jokes.

I think the thing I really appreciate about this is how so many road stories seem to be about guys going off to find something in themselves, but girl road-trips seem a bit rarer. In any case, this is a definite YA recommendation.

movie & book review: scott pilgrim

I finally saw the Scott Pilgrim movie. Fuck yes. That was great. There are lots of things different from the comic, but all around awesome adaptation, doing things in the movie that would be better than on the page and streamlining things to fit into a couple of hours. Excellent work.

So plotwise, Scott Pilgrim is 22 and starts the story dating a 17 year old named Knives Chau. Then he meets Ramona Flowers, and in order to date her has to defeat her League of 7 Evil Exes in awesome huge videogamey kung fu battles.

There are differences in the fights (Honest Ed’s doesn’t get destroyed in the movie), but I felt like the biggest difference was the playing up of Scott’s sort-of cheating on Knives with Ramona. Because the book is a lot more spread out timeline wise (taking place over months) the Knives thing gets kind of resolved a lot earlier in the story, whereas in the movie it’s still part of the ending. But really, fair enough.

There was less subspace in the movie, which I didn’t mind because there was already a lot of disbelief-stretching going on, so for the uninitiated it makes sense to leave that whole other world as something alluded to but not a huge plot-point. I did think that the use of the extra life was handled better in the movie as he actually went back to the last save-point and did things differently, the way you do in games. I liked that a lot.

I also liked the battle with the twins better in the movie because it took advantage of the whole movie thing, it being a battle of actual music. That was always harder to carry across in the comic, what Sex Bob-omb actually sounded like. The movie did it really well. And the fight between the gorilla and the dragons was pretty awesome.

So yeah. If you want more Kim Pine, and more subspace weirdness, and a very different ending you should really really really read the comic. And if you like the comic you should really see the movie. There we are.