When I first picked up Bryan Lee Oâ€™Malleyâ€™s Scott Pilgrim series, I fell for it, hard. Here, finally, was a quirky, beautiful love interest who wasnâ€™t just another Manic Pixie Dream Girl — a three-dimensional girl with motivations and an inner life of her own. (It doesnâ€™t sound like that should be too much to ask, but the sad case is that it often is.) I found O’Malley’s take on the archetype to be just about perfect.
Then Edgar Wright‘s film adaptation came out, and it was hilarious, and inventive, and energetic, and sweet, and… and yet another story about a Hapless Hero and a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Although the film remained mostly faithful to the main plot of the source material, it had to cut copious amounts of backstory to fit into the running time. Perhaps no one suffered more than Ramona Flowers, who went from a fascinating, complex woman to a pretty trophy to be won.
What was most disappointing about it is that the downgrade felt unnecessary. Manic Pixie Dream Girls abound, but thereâ€™s always an opportunity for them to be more than that. Below, in honor of Oâ€™Malleyâ€™s original Ramona Flowers, are five other Manic Pixie Dream Girls who arenâ€™t.
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