‘Scott Pilgrim’ vs. the Lofty Expectations of Fanboys

Scott Pilgrim

What do you expect from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? Seriously. Do you expect that it will be as fresh and full of wit as the first time you read through Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic series? Will it be as ripped with energy and inventive humor as Edgar Wright’s first few films? One can only hope that it will be both. One can only feel confident — at least based on what we’ve seen so far — that it will deliver on these promises. But what if our expectations carry beyond that point? Is there a point where one can expect too much from such a property? I have a feeling that we’re about to find out.

There’s no way around it — Scott Pilgrim is hot on the web. As well it should be. If not for the movies, but for those five (soon to be six) brilliant little indie comics containing all the color in the world, save for actual colored ink. But the buzz is all centered around the film. The movie blogosphere is aflutter. Just today, /Film posted about the film’s soundtrack. Regular news for any film with an interesting soundtrack (and Scott Pilgrim does look to have a fine soundtrack), but it speaks to the high rate at which publicity materials around this film are being consumed. There was a Scott Pilgrim party in Los Angeles, a Scott Pilgrim video game that’s been all the rage, and clips and trailers (including the latest international trailer, which I’ve included below) to spare. We’re about to reach a boiling point on Scott Pilgrim, and there’s still more than 6 weeks left before the film hits theaters.

I worry. Not for the film, but for the fans. With excitement building to a fever-pitch this early and Edgar Wright doing his best on Twitter and his own personal blog to further fan the flames, there’s no telling how high the excitement for Pilgrim will go in the fanboy community. And at some point, that may begin to work against the film. If we (the fans) are too excited we risk the loss of objectivity when it finally comes time to see it. And the loss of objectivity brings heated emotion into the equation. And such heated emotion over a film before it is released can often bring one thing: disappointment.

And if the crowds that are so passionately in the corner of Scott Pilgrim, the taste-making few who would inform mainstream audiences and propel such a film beyond the box office wallowing of other fanboy darlings (Kick-Ass comes to mind), are disappointed, Scott Pilgrim will be dead in the water. And Universal will have another catastrophe on its hands, regardless of the film’s quality.

I fear that the signs are there. It happened with Kick-Ass, and now Scott Pilgrim is in danger. The lesson is that it’s important to advocate for a film that excites you, but not to expect the world in return. To go in with cautious optimism, so that the talent of Edgar Wright, Bryan Lee O’Malley and a very strong cast have the chance to surprise you. A chance to feel fresh once again. Temper those expectations, my friends, and ye shall be rewarded as you have in the past.

Now watch this trailer:

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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