If it's crap ... We'll tell you
As I write this I find myself dumbfounded on where to even begin describing my experience with “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”. Dumbfounded not as to whether or not the film is good but rather how Hollywood can make awful films out of any exaggerated anime, comic book or video game based property and yet produce a film containing nearly all of these elements to create one of the best films of the year.
The tale of Scott Pilgrim is not a complicated one. Scott is a 23 year old Canadian hipster/loser. His inability to hold jobs keeps him mooching off of his gay roommate (Kieran Culkin), his band is pretty mediocre, and he’s in a newly formed relationship with his only 17 year old fangirl (Ellen Wong) purely out of desperation to make his life suck just a little bit less.
Then he meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a girl whom he finds himself instantly drawn to. After a rough meeting the two hook up, finding themselves in a relationship but leaving Scott to deal with her emotional baggage. Ramona’s complicated love life has left her with 7 exes obsessed with controlling her love life. If Scott wants to stay with her, he’ll have take on all 7 of them in combat.
First off, let’s make no mistakes here; the premise of Scott Pilgrim, from the original comic book series written by Bryan Lee O’Malley to this big screen adaptation is absolutely ridiculous. Similar to how the comic is written however, there’s nothing wrong with that. Nearly every moment of this movie is exaggerated in some way as if to remind viewer that this story is not the real world as we know it.
From the video game tropes featured in the story, to the onomatopoeia’s accompanying every sound effect, the world that Scott and his friends inhabit is unique. The movie opens up with the Universal Studios theme and logo playing in 8-bit and it is at this point that you know what you’re in for and whether or not you’re going to accept it or not.
Despite the high energy fun of every single fight in the film however, the real star of this movie is the acting performance of every single actor involved. Proving me wrong about my presumptions of his lack of range, Michael Cera’s performance as Scott is almost just as loveable as the character is in his titular series. He may be stupid but he’s well intentioned. Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Ramona Flowers deserves just as much praise, appearing a bit too aloof at the start but gradually growing into her role making the chemistry between her and Cera work.
Overall the entire cast did an excellent job with their roles but the actors playing Ramona’s 7 evil exes were undoubtedly the strongest contenders. I won’t spoil their appearances but each of them is fully developed human beings with genuine substance to their back stories and personalities. With this movie’s ability to juggle 7 villains while maintaining its perfect balancing act throughout the entire less than 2 hour viewing time, there is no excuse for any comic based movie villain to lack depth in adaptations ever again.
In short, Scott Pilgrim is a blast. Its style of parodying hipster and geek culture makes for some of the most memorable comedic writing I’ve seen in quite some time, shooting for laughs from the entire crowd but really striking a chord with anybody that gets the abundance of references made within the movie. Yet the drama never comes off as an afterthought, making the conclusion just as satisfying as the journey to it. The first third is a little bit slow and due to the references to specific fandoms (Sci-fi, comic books, video games, etc.), it may be destined to be more of a love it/hate it kind of film. If you can stick with it though, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World may end up on your best of the year lists, or most original of the year if nothing else.
8.5 out of 10