Review: ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’

Wednesday, August 11 by

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
PG-13, 105m., 2010
Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kerian Culken, Mark Webber, Alison Pill, with Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzman
Directed by Edgar Wright
Screenplay by Micheal Becall and Edgar Wright based upon the comic book by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World bursts. No. Reload. Busts onto the big screen, full of bright lights, hipster music, classic video game action, texting lingo, and wildly perverse characters that crank the geekgasm up to 11.

Structured around the universal story of boy, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera, at his bliss of awkward tension and geek kick-butt action) meets girl, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the usual girl next door given a complete ‘Punky Brewster’ make over). Girl kinda likes boy, and boy has to fight her seven evil exes (Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, and Jason Schwartzman to name a few) arcade style to win over the girl. With each razzle and dazzle video game round, Scott takes them on one by one with the help from his underground Canadian rock band (Mark Webber, Alison Pill, and Johnny Simmons), gum popping sister (Anna Kendricks from Up in the Air)  and smug, wisecracking roommate (Kieran Culken, the cooler, smarter brother of Macaulay).

The movie is primed to explode from all its crazed video game references, music, battles, cameos and large than life characters, but yet each of these characters are given a refreshing pace and place that fits snugly into Scott Pilgrim’s 105 minute world.

All of this comes popping to life thanks to the ultimate British fanboy filmmaker Edgar Wright. While based upon the popular Japanese inspired comic book by Brian O’Malley, Wright gives this surreal video game type of world his own brand of rat-it-tat rhythmic pace and humor. Part of the fun is catching all of the in-jokes and music pop quizzes, but even the plain perspective audience member you can just sit back and enjoy the wild laser-light-show ride.

With this movie, Hot Fuzz, and Shaun of the Dead, Wright continues bringing his brilliant and fire blasting entertainment homage to his favorite pop culture things. Wright, like a painter with vintage nintendo system, builds the 8-bit video game action of Scott Pilgrim to come at us with such freshness and detail that you’ll keep asking for more, more, more.

This is a movie that knows its and respects its characters – a strange thing to see in this ever populating world of thin CGI characters and storylines. Scott and Ramona are not your typical mysterious girl and virginal boy, they seem like cardboard cut outs on the surface, but they come with their own baggage of exes and failures. Scott, for instance, has been with several other girls before Ramona, from drummer Kim (Pill) to music starlet (Brie Larsen) and sweet little Knives (pixie newcomer Ellen Wong), and all these girls have been affected by Scott, good and bad. These previous relationships set off a series of trigger fire instances where we find Scott Pilgrim isn’t the nice virginal guy we think he is.

Another thing that I can’t help but smile at is how Wright and his talented chipper cast are able to pull off a series of surprises that aren’t tacked on summer gimmick pleasure. A wall busting cameo surprise comes in the middle of the movie that will have you howling at how they pulled it all off.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World shows us that the world of video games can be a piece of art and with more than enough 1-Ups to go around. I really look forward to a bonus round of this movie in the future.

Grade: A-

Do you like this story?