Netflix’s big new release for the weekend is Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, an anime revival of the popular graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley. It’s a bit of a weird bag; pre-release, O’Malley and BenDavid Grabinski repeatedly said the show would offer something similar to the comic while also being a different experience unto itself. But it was probably easy to miss that, given how much of the show seemed like it was just re-adapting the initial premise and functioning as a reunion for the entire cast of the cult classic 2010 film.
As it turns out, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is more different than its predecessor material, in the sense that it’s more of a Ramona Flowers story than it is the title character. Without fully spoiling things, it’s her duty this time around to confront her Evil Exes, who themselves get deeper interior lives that are mostly outside of Ramona’s orbit. It’s a gutsy move that (at least for me) managed to mostly work, and naturally gotten no small amount of discussion flared up online. But at the same time, it’s not entirely unexpected, given the media landscape we’re currently in.
Revivals and reboots of old properties have only gotten more and more meta in recent years. The Star Wars sequel trilogy was (generally) about what it meant to be a Star Wars fan, for example, and the same can be said of the more recent Scream movies. Both Final Fantasy VII’s remake trilogy and the recently released Mortal Kombat 1 (which isn’t a remake of the original game, but a universe-wide reboot) pose the same question, but geared towards the characters within those individual franchises: what happens when they realize they’re players in someone else’s game, and how does realizing what their lives used to be color their future? Not all of these attempts to get meta hit, and some could honestly do to dial those questions back (or just not do it all), but you can reason that if something’s getting revived after being away for a number of years, it’ll also be looking inward.
For this weekend’s Open Channel, let us know how this storytelling approach works for you. Is it unearned and overdone, what revivals and remakes do you think have done it well (or horribly)? Tell us in the comments below.
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