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Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim VS The World

Written By: Les Talma

08-01-2010

Movies/scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world.jpg

Directed by:  Edgar Wright

(Based on the comic by Bryan Lee O’Malley)

Starring: Michael Cera as “Scott Pilgrim” and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as “Ramona Flowers”

Basic plot: Scott falls in love with his dream-girl Ramona, but when they start dating he learns he has to defeat her 7 evil exes in no-holds barred, reality-bending, fights to the death. It’s all in good fun.

DVD or Theater: You want to see this in a theater with a big audience. Their reaction to the snap-perfect dialogue, the odd sound and visual cues, and the video-game /comic book/manga- inspired fight scenes will be priceless. (When I saw it, the audience applauded at the end.)

Is it good?: Oh yes, it’s very good. You have to remember this is from the director who gave us “Hot Fuzz”, “Shaun of the Dead” and the “Grindhouse” fake trailer for “Don’t”. He knows his genres, and with this one, he is pitch-perfect with his direction. This is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen where the dynamic action of video games, and the word/ picture union found in comic books are so perfectly presented in a movie format. It’s fun, hilarious, exciting, and not quite like anything I’ve seen.

What’s it like: It’s like the dream, quirky atmosphere of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind” merged with the high velocity; furious exhilaration of “Kill Bill” tempered by the campy, sound-effect, visual pop of the Adam West “Batman” series. Then all of that is seasoned robustly with classic fight moves from all sorts of treasured video game classics and those in turn, are framed in the anime-style, ultra-dramatic, showdown scenarios of the type that were always so lovingly paid homage to in all those “Dexter’s Lab” cartoons.  

Stuff You Should Know:

  • Scott Pilgrim is in a band called “Sex Bob-Omb”. They’re his support group and conscience. 
  • He has a hilarious roommate played by Kieran Culkin who is just too cool for words. He’s like the slick-operator/best friend from one of those old 80’s movies.
  • Scott has had a few relationships that ended very badly.
  • He’s just starting to date a girl named Knives Chau when Ramona enters his life and totally captivates him.
  • In Scott’s world no one is greatly surprised when people break out into epic battles. (It’s hinted that stuff like this has happened before .)
  • Scott’s actually quite good at “Dragon Ball Z” type fighting, which is funny since the character is played by Michael Cera.
  • Michael Cera is well cast. Sure he usually gets the same type of roles but his casual reaction to extreme situations works perfectly here.
  • Each of the exes that Scott has to fight have radically different powers and personalities, which keep the showdowns consistently surprising while also showing us how varied Ramona’s past relationships have been.  
  • You don’t need to have read the comic book to enjoy the movie. (I’ve never read the comic and I didn’t feel lost at all.)
  • The “Scott Pilgrim” comic consists of 6 manga-sized volumes of black and white art. Some of the artwork is visible during flashback scenes in the film.
  • Oh yeah, and this all takes place in Toronto, Canada; which adds a whole new level of bizarro, laid-back and chilled awesomeness.

Negative Points: Maybe the pace is too consistently rapid. It never slows down. But I think that will only make the repeat viewing that much more enjoyable.

Favorite Points:

  • The “Seinfeld” and “Flash Gordon” (Ming ring) sound cues
  • Seeing Brandon (Superman) Routh get a twisted, super-powered role
  • The great fight scenes and random video game imagery that constantly pop up
  • The way Ramona’s constantly changing hair- color reminds me of Kate Winslet’s character in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

That’s it: That’s all you should really know before going to see “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”. To know too much going in would diminish the experience. It’s even better than the previews make it out to be. I highly recommend it. Enjoy.