Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Review

Posted on August 31, 2010 by

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Right. I can do this. I can work this out. I can review this movie. Uhm…

Scott Pilgrim is… Is… REALLY. AWESOME.

Yeah, I know, I don’t usually make such a fuss about a film straight off the bat, but I really did love every second of this movie. There isn’t a line of dialogue, a cut, an effect or an actor out of place. This film is flawless, and I adored it.

SP is based on the popular indie comic book of the same name, which I had neither read, nor indeed heard of before seeing this movie, except for a passing mention in Kick-Ass. The titular Scott Pilgrim is the ultimate slacker, bumming through life living in his gay friend Wallace’s apartment. His life is turned upside down when an American girl (this is set in Toronto, Canada) called Ramona Flowers appears in his life, using his dreams as a shortcut to get to places as part of her job as a delivery girl for Amazon. When he later spots her in the library, he realises that not only is she the girl of his dreams, but she’s also real.

If he wants to date her though, he’s going to have to fight for her. He soon learns that, in order to be with Ramona, he must first defeat her seven evil exes in battle. Yeah.

This a movie that revels in geekery. It opens with the universal theme and logo, in glorious 8-Bit. The dialogue throughout is sharp and funny, with jokes and references to geek culture from the 80’s onwards, and the film is loaded with videogame tropes. There are status bars and combo meters and onomatopoeias get written out on the screen. The visuals jump out of the screen and add so much depth to the movie that I was slightly annoyed I didn’t have the option to watch it in 3D, which is rare for me, because, as a rule, I chuffing hate 3D. With a fiery passion. Anyway.

The cast. Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead are our two leads, Scott Pilgrim And Ramona flowers, both somewhat geeky, though in different ways. Cera as Scott Pilgrim starts out as your stereotypical lazy gamer nerd, while Winstead as Ramona is much more indie-hipster chick with vibrant highlights, goggles and rollerblades. They hold the film together as the driving force of the plot, though the two don’t have much in common and have little actual chemistry, but the frequent set-piece battles manage to distract from this for the entirety of the movie, so it’s not a problem. What is actually kind of a problem is that Scott’s first girlfriend in the movie, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) actually has a much better chemistry with Scott/Cera, but is never presented as a serious love-interest until the end, but even then, the ‘first girl wins’ rule is subverted. Individually, the two leads work excellently in their roles, however.

(Michael Cera is one of this new generation of ‘geeky’ young male actors like Jessie Eisenberg and Aaron Johnson, who seem to be taking over from the Frat Pack of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson etc in terms of production posse of the generation)

The supporting cast are all stellar. Most memorable are Wallace Wells (Keiran Culkin, brother of Macaulay), Scotts straight-gay flatmate (With whom he shares a bed, and Wallace’s numerous boyfriends) who often has the funniest lines as the film by turning up out of nowhere and being all snarky and deadpan, and Kim Pine (Alison Pill) as the  drummer in Scott’s Band, Sex Bob-Omb who is general in the background, has very few lines, but is all about the physical comedy. The seven evil exes are all excellent, with stand-outs being Chris Evans as an arrogant skateboarding actor, who uses his stunt-doubles to battle Scott, and Jason Schwartzman as big-bad hipster Gideon Graves.

The drive of the plot is of course the battles with the seven evil exes, and each is utterly epic. When the first fight started, I was half-expecting it to be a sissy slap-fight (based on the sort of movies Cera has been in before) but each fight turned out to be energetic, exciting, funny and gorgeously choreographed. Each one brings something new to the table, with one of the highlights being a battle against Japanese DJ twins, by summoning MONSTERS WITH THE POWER OF ROCK. Everything in the movie runs on videogame logic, and the fights are all the more fun for it.

If I had to tell you to see one movie this year, it really would be a two-way toss-up. Where Inception is a masterpiece of intelligent, thoughtful auteur-driven film-making, this is pure rule-of-funny over the top fun. I myself can’t decide between the two which is better, which I think is because they’re so vastly different in tone and style and theme, but Scott Pilgrim seems like one of those movies that is really only going to last for as long as the current generation, and will fade into obscurity when we’re older, Inception is one of those films that’s just going to last, damnit.

So in closing, yeah, I loved Scott Pilgrim. I wanna see it again at least twice while it’s still on the big screen, because that’s how it should be seen. It’s not gonna be everyone’s cup of tea, gearing more towards the geekier end of the demographic spectrum, but while a lot of the humour is based on references to video games and gaming culture, the jokes stand up well enough without that knowledge to make it well worth seeing anyway, just for the engaging characters, witty dialogue, and the fight scenes which put the HSQ* through the roof.

*Holy Snap Quotient.

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Posted in: Movies