Two very different literary properties. Two very different movies. Who will be the big winner at the box office this weekend?
In this corner, we have Eat Pray Love, the movie adaptation of the bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. Eat Pray Love chronicles a woman’s post-divorce travels through Italy, India and Indonesia as she attempts to rediscover herself. The film version was directed by Ryan Murphy – the creative force behind Glee – and the cast features Javier Bardem, James Franco and Billy Crudup. Oh, and Julia Roberts, who apparently everyone loves.
And then there’s the competition, Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Based on the graphic novel series by Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley, the Scott Pilgrim books have a cult following and the movie garnered a lot of buzz at the recent ComicCon. Scott Pilgrim is a twenty-something slacker/guitarist who falls in love with Amazon.com delivery girl Ramona Flowers (I try not to hold that against her), but in order to continue dating her, Scott must defeat her seven evil exes. The movie was directed by Edgar Wright, who was responsible for Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and stars Michael Cera, who may as well be anointed the king of the indie-hipster-nerd squad.
I’ll admit, I haven’t read Eat Pray Love so I won’t be able to judge it the movie is a faithful adaptation or not. But I’m fascinated by the studio’s cross-promotional marketing strategy, which includes several different lines of branded products: candles, moisturizing creams, jewelry, tote bags, clothing line, designer teas, et cetera. Part of me cringes at the commercialization, but another part of me is happy to see a movie-based-on-a-book-that’s-not-Twilight get so much attention.
I have read and enjoyed the first five of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels — the sixth and final book of the series, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, came out in late July — and would recommend them even to people who wouldn’t think of themselves as “comic book people.” Through his art and dialogue, O’Malley is able to create multidimensional characters on the page, where the subtlest change in expression speaks volumes. I especially love the subtle little Canadian influences that can be spotted throughout the series, and I hope that translates onto the big screen.
Will Julia Roberts’ star power and the many fans of the book be enough to push Eat Pray Love to the top of the box office, despite the negative reviews that are starting to pop up? Will Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe be able to attract a mainstream audience beyond their fervent comic book fans?
I’ll be at Scott Pilgrim tonight. Which will you be seeing?