Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Another quickie review for you, this time a movie which as been sitting on my to watch list for a while. I’m going to apologise in advance for how badly written this is. I’m sort of ill, tired and hoping that you’ll have the energy to turn my words into something resembling a coherent thought.
Scott Pilgrim is in danger of falling into the Juno trap or trying to be that little bit too indie. However, I reckon it just about gets away with it. The script is funny and off beat with quotable lines for the cult fans, and it features a selection of “alternative” characters with ironic clothes. For me the best thing was the use of animation though. The video game sequences are a lot of fun, with each opponent bringing a new style (my favourite being Vegan superpowers), but I also liked that the surrealist kind of world carried over into the “normal” lives of the characters as well. The pop up bits of information about each of the characters as we’re introduced to them is a good example of little video game quirks working their way in. The overall effect is that of watching a comic strip, with clever editing making you feel like you’re moving from panel to panel and quips from Evil Exes that definitely belong in big white bubbles. Why exactly the Evil Exes have it in for Scott is never explained, nor do we know if this is Scott’s imagination or real, but we accept it because of the dreamlike world we have come to inhabit.
Having never read the books, I can’t compare, but I’m reliably informed that it manages to stay pretty true and the use of original artwork no doubt helps with that. Although this is a movie for gamers, you don’t need to be hardcore to get the jokes. I’m sure there were references that went over my head, but at the same time there were other little gamer tropes that raised a smile.
The characters themselves are fairly two-dimensional, but the whole film is a 2D world brought to life so it actually enhances the fantasy feel. Michael Cera play s the same character he always does, managing to stay hopelessly awkward on the right side of annoying. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is well cast as the quirky Ramona; a character who is not that original but who she manages to keep fresh. For me the star of the show though is Kieran Culkin as Scott’s roommate Wallace. I haven’t really seen anything with him in before (I’m told I need to see Igby Goes Down) but he was undoubtedly my favourite character. Again, dry-witted gay roommate isn’t necessarily original, but the film relies on familiar characters in an unfamiliar setting and Wallace is a good proxy for the audience. Chris Evans, who I have been vaguely unimpressed with in the past, surprised me with some good comedic moments, as well as making me geek out at the idea of Scott fighting both Captain America and Superman (Brandon Routh) during the movie.
Scott Pilgrim is always compared to Kick Ass and there seems to be a bit of a consensus that the latter is the better movie. When I see it, I’ll let you know where I stand, but for now I’ll say that Scott Pilgrim is a brilliantly different movie which I can definitely recommend, whether you’re a gamer geek or are just looking for a twist on the traditional rom-com format.