Film Review – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Scott Pilgrim

If you’re the key target audience for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, then the opening Universal Pictures logo, adapted to fit in with the movie will be enough to produce the broadest of smiles. And it just gets better from there…

The movie is, without doubt, a cinematic event. Loud, colourful, speedy and for the most part it carries the insane momentum well. It’s easy to get caught up in superlatives and hyperbole, but deep in its heart, Scott Pilgrim is a male geek wish-fulfilment movie.

By now you should all know the premise. Scott Pilgrim, awesome, falls for the beautiful Ramona Flowers, but has to defeat her seven evil exes to carry on seeing her. In the meantime he and his band Sex-Bob-Omb have to win the local battle of the bands to win a record contract. To complicate matters further, his own evil ex, Envy Adams is back in town and he has to deal with recently dumped High School girlfriend, Knives Chao.

Adapted from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s books, the film wears its love for comics, videogames and rock music on its sleeve. All the flashbacks are done by way of original O’Malley artwork, most of the sound effects are accompanied by corresponding graphics, and every time an evil ex is defeated a video game score comes up on the screen.

This is not going to be a movie that appeals to everyone, and watching it now, I can start to understand why Pilgrim lost its opening weekend US Box Office battle to the Expendables. It’s driven with huge chunks of guitar rock, and a brightly coloured palette. If you don’t get it, and a lot of people won’t, then it’s just so much noise and flashing lights.

Yet at the same time, mainly with the scenes that focus on Pilgrim’s relationships with Ramona and Knives, there are wonderful moments of quiet, with great performances from the young stars. Despite the flashy exterior, this film is exceptionally good at showing young love, and how we damage or break relationships, sometimes without meaning to.

There are standout performances too from Kieran Culkin as Scott’s long-suffering housemate Wallace Wells, Alison Pill as Kim Pine, another of Scott’s exes and drummer of the band and Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzman are the best of evil exes. Routh plays beautiful but dumb, Schwartzman’s character is a massive douche, but they’re both quite endearing in their own way.

The fight sequences are amazingly well shot and edited, almost too fast to bear, but not quite. Particularly stunning is the first fight with Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha) which takes the most surreal turn, and the skateboard challenge that Lucas Lee (Chris Evans) undertakes.

The movie has a strong live-action anime feel to it and this madcap, extremely visual approach seems to be the absolute logical progression for Wright. At the premiere last night Brie Larsson called him “a visionary… I can’t imagine anyone else making this movie in this way” and he has made something absolutely remarkable and groundbreaking.

The soundtrack is also excellent, raucous, guitar driven rock, mostly original along with a superb use of “Under My Thumb” by The Rolling Stones. The movie feels so young and fresh, if it went to a bar, it wouldn’t get a pint. If the trailer doesn’t appeal, then the film won’t either. But if you’re along for the ride, hold on tight, it’s a good ‘un.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opens in the UK on August 25th


~ by moviegrrlreviews on August 19, 2010.

3 Responses to “Film Review – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World”

  1. I went to see this – good fun. I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it. My husband and me know that we did probably not get quite all of the references to gaming and US geekiness, but then we live in Oz and are maybe about 15 years older than the ‘target audience’..Old enough too, to remember “Run Lola Run” and realize just how innovative and awesome THAT movie was .. about 12 years ago. Still, ‘Scott Pilgrim vs..’ is a great movie and M Cera is the new T Hanks. (I also checked with my teenage stepson, who has read all the comics and said the movie was ‘OK’, AND he smiled, which means about 4 out of 5 stars)

  2. […] The talent leaves the stage, the lights go down… and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World begins… […]

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