Review – Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the WorldScott Pilgrim vs. the World is based of the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley and published by Oni Press.  Directed by Edgar Wright and staring Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead the movie isn’t a Twilight for boys as some moronic reviewers have suggested, but instead is the first real movie for the Nintendo generation.  Throughout the kinetic action sequences and fight scenes and rapid fire banter are references through sounds and visuals that’ll appeal to Generation X.

When boiled down, Scott Pilgrim’s journey is the Legend of Zelda done in comic book form.  The less than confident hero must go through levels and defeat bosses to save the girl he likes.  Wright knows this and plays off of it perfectly with sounds familiar to 8-bit jockeys including musical cues from Zelda and visual cues from that and more including Super Mario Bros.  This is a movie for video game geeks and comic geeks alike.  A mish-mash love poem to pop culture for the ADD set.

The downside to the movie is actually the two main members of the cast.  Cera is his usual self, the character we’ve seen him play a million times.  At moments there’s great line delivery, but for the most part it’s the same old character.  Winstead also plays Ramona Flowers a bit aloof, and instead of a confident, strong woman, as I though she was in the comic, we instead get a broken, weak female lead.  The rest of the cast is dead on and fit their characters perfectly.

Overall, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is the best comic movie adaptation of the year.  But, I’m realistic, and if you don’t appreciate 8-bit music or see 1-ups pop up on screen this movie is definitely not for you.  As always, the source material is better, but this is a pretty damn good adaptation and one that should be seen on the big screen.

Direction: Edgar Wright has put out some fantastic movies (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) and all of them have a similar feel to them with great character interaction and generally good sequencing.  Here, his style deviates a bit with crazy and quick cuts with one scene often times blending into another.  95% of the time this works, and is the only flaw I really found.  There’s moments when the cuts just don’t work and flow is choppy.  But overall the movie has a hard task of blending action, comedy and a love story and Wright pulls it off quite well.  This is a comic book on the big screen and I can’t think of someone who’d of pulled it off better.

Acting: As I said Cera and Winstead are the weakest parts of the movie with the rest of the cast being spot on and actually stealing the show. Kieran Culkin is great as Scott’s roommate Wallace Wells bringing a sense of sarcasm and catiness that’s subtle and hilarious.  Ellen Wong as Scott’s first girl, Knives Chau, also is a comic book character brought to life with just the look on her face saying pages of dialogue.  You can tell the cast had a good time, and I don’t think I’d of replaced anyone.

Plot: The movie is a pretty solid adaptation of the graphic novels.  There’s deviation and some plot points are tossed or not explained as much, but the video game audio and visuals are played up more.  It’s a great adaptation, but my two issues are that Scott comes off as more of a dick and whinier in the movie and Ramona also is not as strong.  It could be the actors portrayal, the directing or the writing but it’s a different tone from them.  Also, once the battles begin, it’s pretty much one right into the next which cuts away the focus from the secondary characters.

Overall: The movie is kinetic fun and over the top.  The audience I was with loved it with a long round of applause after.  This was a movie a had a smile on my face coming out of the theater and hope I get dragged to it again by friends.  If you’re a tween, in your 20’s or early 30’s or have fond memories of spending hours on end in front of your original Nintendo then you need to get out and see this movie.

Grade: A-