Aug 19, 2010

Movies: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

My relationship with the Scott Pilgrim comic book kind of ended halfway through the first volume. It just left me uninterested, although I appreciated it to an extent. Trailers for the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World movie looked all kinds of awesome though, so I couldn't pass it up. And boy, am I glad I didn't!


OMG! This movie is so insanely amazing! It is hard to imagine, but with all the coolness oozing from the trailers, they don't show even a tiny bit of all the profound gorgeousness contained within. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World puts the "cool" in "geek", and puts it in a big way. The story is appropriately retarded - 22 y/o Scott (Juno and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Michael Cera) is "between jobs" and in an indy band. They suck. He is dating a high-schooler. She is Chinese and from a Catholic school. Then he meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead of Death Proof fame). She is not a high-schooler, she works for Amazon and she uses Scott's head because there is a very convenient subspace highway passing through there (don't ask - it's that kind of movie). Obviously he falls madly in love, and Ramona's kinda whatever about it but decides to hang around. Then along come her Seven Evil Exes. And if Scott wants to date Ramona, he has to defeat them. In Japanese fighting game style duels. With specials. And combos...

There are so many references to old-school gaming (mostly Japanese), manga and anime in Scott Pilgrim that it would take up the whole review just to list them. Suffice to say Scott plays a Final Fantasy II melody on his guitar, and all fights in the movie have things like health bars, "K.O." signs, and leave it at that. From the ridiculous pixelized Universal logo with its retarded MIDI theme to the gorgeously cheezy "door" ending, this movie is made to appeal to geeks everywhere, but it's so well made, that honestly - you have to be a little dead inside not to like it. Obviously Michael Cera is the perfect choice for the role, but in truth there is no one in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World that doesn't perform at top level. Even so-so actors like Chris Evans (Lucas Lee, Evil Ex No. 2) and Brandon Routh (Todd Ingram, Evil Ex No. 3) are hilarious.

There is no element that doesn't go over the top in this movie, and it would easily fall apart, were it not for the brilliant direction. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz' very own Edgar Wright has done a masterful job and Scott Pilgrim is a cornucopia of great moments, putting not only the "cool" in "geek", but also the "tasteful" in "absurdly extreme". Kudos to the cinematographer Bill Pope (not surprisingly all three Matrix movies among many others) as well! The cuts are fast, practically no scene is left uninterrupted, and the camera and characters act like they are in a manga - meaningful fatal looks, sudden close-ups, you know the drill.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World sports a funky soundtrack, as most of the non-story revolves around Scott's indy band (they suck). Obviously most of the OST album is comprised of indy music, and many of Sex Bob-Omb's tunes (oh yeah, forgot to mention their name sucks too) are actually done by Beck. It is not the kind of music that I would listen on its own, but for this movie it is spot-on.

No perfection is perfect, obviously, and neither is Scott Pilgrim. Around the final act things begin to drag a little, and serious drama gets a tad more serious than the movie requires. The cheesyness of the ending also shows a tiny bit more ambition than it should, but it's all good, we forgive small transgressions such as these. And who cares anyway?! You have Tekken-like battles, enemies burst into coins when beaten, Scott gains points for beating Evil Exes, and there is a scene involving Ramona and a huge hammer! And if it all seems like the ungodly progeny of a 16-bit japanese game and a J-pop music video with fake Canadians as the main characters, well so much the better I say! Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is comprised entirely of victory, and it is a major score for geekiness!


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