Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)


 After a chance encounter with his dream girl, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) must battle her league of evil exes, bent on preventing anyone from dating her.

  "You once were a ve-gone, but now you will begone."

I can say without any hesitation that in terms of pure entertainment value no film put a smile on my face quite as grand as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. That being said Scott Pilgrim is a movie riddled with little flaws that prevent it from reaching that tour de force amazement that would leave me, like it has so many of its now devoted fans, in a feeling of ecstasy. First, though, let's talk about what all the movie does right.

Scott Pilgrim has a way of viewing the world that will connect with the deepest of nostalgia to those who grew up in the time of arcades and NES/SNES. In essence Scott Pilgrim is the film tailor made for those of the early video game generation. Packed with references, high rock music, subtle jibes, and a coolness that can only be described in terms of its utter geekness, there's a great element of charm that plays to Scott Pilgrim's advantage.

Edgar Wright continues his streak of stylized, but smart, homage films that highlight him as one of the more creative visual directors of his age group. At the same time, Wright knows enough about the story to maintain the exasperated pace, and still blend in the series' many unique characters. As one could expect this comes with a double edge sword. The inclusion of the entire series into one film aids the action oriented picture. There's always a fight coming up and always new style pumping life into each and every one.

Unfortunately what gets lost in this array of style are the basic foundations of any classic: story and characters. Scott Pilgrim is a bit of a self centered ass and his 'evolution' as the series progresses feels rather forced in the context of the story. There's very little reflection, a whole lot of fighting, until of course the film's climax which tries to put all its lessons into one package. Meanwhile the many supporting characters, including star players like Ramona, get lost in one to two sentence character builders then shuffle off until they're needed again.

What saves Wright and Co. is the sheer brilliance of the cast. Each cast member, perfectly selected, melds into their character with great ease. There's never a moment when you doubt a particular actor is fully enveloped in their character, which allows the audience to forgive some of the lesser elements.

If there is one thing I would have request of Wright is making the film a good ten to fifteen minutes longer. The high octane pace may be perfectly suitable for its ADD rampant fanbase, but I felt as if there was much more to be told. The characters could have received more fleshing out, and the ending could feel a bit less 'and there you go' and a bit more 'aw, beautiful!' It's not the feeling that Scott Pilgrim did anything wrong, just that it could have done it a bit better.

Still, once the credits roll, one would be hard pressed to have found any emotion on my face other than a unquestioned grin. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World exudes charm, wit, and hilarity in a way few films in 2010 have managed to capture. If for no other reason than that, it earns my seal of approval.

There's no denying the vast allure of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Full of fun, excitement, and action, the movie keeps things light hearted and decently developed from start to finish. At times the movie depends too much on style to hide its weaker qualities, but when something works as well as this does you find yourself willing to forgive more than you normally would.

9 better thoughts:

The Mad Hatter said...

Toronto represent!!

SugaryCynic said...

Brilliant movie. Except that chip-in-the-head bullcrap. That pissed me off so much, especially when the book gives you a pretty decent non-microchip-related reason.

filmgeek said...

I am sooo excited about this film. It didn't play at my cinema but the DVD is on my Christmas list (my mum has forbidden me from DVD shopping until then, the horror!)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Didn't see it in the theater (because I knew I wasn't the target age group) but I'll catch it on NetFlix.

Castor said...

Yep, same as Alex. I wanted to see it in theater, just ended up not going.

Univarn said...

@Mad Toronto.... TOronTO... toRONto... nope, never heard of it. Is it somewhere in India?

@SugaryCynic Well the ending to the movie was made well before the final book was released (not sure if that has anything to do with it) and I think it stuck with the films overall vibe, but it felt a bit forced. I wasn't too big a fan on the movie's overall approach to the ending which felt very rushed. Sort of a last "cram every thing from the series we can in" moment.

@filmgeek I recommend medication, bed rest, and 24 hour TCM marathons.

@AlexJ Not the target age group? Pssssh, I'm not the target anything for lots of the movies I see but I go anyways :)

@Castor It seems this movie had that affect on a lot of people, hence the Bomb status its currently occupied.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Glad you loved this even though I'm definitely not a part of the target audience...which is what I think makes it even better. It may be tailor made for a particular niche audience but it ends up transcending it.

Simon said...

Fucking microchip.

Andrew Robinson said...

Agree, Agree, Agree... my bluray copy is on it's way and I can't wait to watch this movie over enough times to get more and more of that Edgar Wright style that I loved on rewatches of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz...

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