If I have any complaint about the upcoming “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,” which has one of the most rewatchable trailers I’ve seen in years, it’s that I’m sad the realities of this industry mandated that Edgar Wright and screenwriter Michael Bacall had to find a way to compress a six-book series into one film.
I’m sure they did it with grace and wit and style to spare, but it still makes me sad, because part of the fun of reading any serialized story is that basic question at the end of each installment: “And then what happened?”
I love a good serialized story, and Vaughan’s isn’t just good… it’s great. I didn’t read it as it ran in monthly installments, but instead read it as trade paperbacks, pretty much all at once. What really blew my mind was when my parents were here on vacation a little over a year ago, and my 68-year-old mother, who isn’t a comic fan by any definition, read the entire series in one fell swoop. It’s such a strong storyline, packed with great characters, and all stemming from one of the most ingenious concepts for a series I can remember. A worldwide event leaves every single person with a Y chromosome dead, except for a young man named Yorick and his helper monkey, Ampersand. His quest to figure out why he’s the only man left on Earth takes him from coast to coast and gives him opportunity to interact with one of the great female cast of characters in modern pop culture. It’s a great piece of “what if?” fiction, looking at what a world without men would really mean, and it’s also surprisingly emotional as Yorick has to grow up emotionally, something that it seems like our culture doesn’t demand of its young men anymore.
For a while, DJ Caruso and Shia LaBeouf were attached to the film, and there were several drafts (including a few by Vaughan himself) generated for New Line. I’m surprised it didn’t happen at that point, as it looked like a movie that had a lot of momentum built up. New Line’s still struggling to define their identity since being absorbed into Warner Bros., and this is one of the projects that has become a political hot potato at the studio. It seems that there is finally some forward motion, though, and the fate of the film may be defined by the opening of “Clash Of The Titans” this coming weekend, since Louis Leterrier is rumored to be the one interesting in bringing the comic to the bigscreen, according to Latino Review.
“Y – The Last Man” is a huge story, and the notion of trying to fit the entire thing into one film concerns me. It might be possible, and there might be a way to tap into the best ideas of Vaughan’s series in one movie that wraps it all up with a nice bow on it. But part of what made the series so emotionally effective was the way it built over time and the difficulty of reaching the goals that the story sets in place for Yorick. Each step along the way feels equally important, the mark of truly great storytelling. It’s not just about where Yorick ends up… it’s how he gets there.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this one, fingers crossed that when it finally happens, it happens because it’s the right version of the film.
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