SCOTT PILGRIM vs THE WORLD – A Movie Review of Sorts

by on August 14, 2010

in Entertainment, movie reviews

SCOTT PILGRIM vs THE WORLD

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a 112 minute package of fun that is as fresh a movie as I’ve seen in a long time. No matter what your age, I think you will enjoy the story of youthful loves, losses and emotional growth.  Oh, and lots of epic action.  Really!

The movie felt like a near perfectly blended mix of Tron meets The Matrix meets Pacman meets a modern-day rock musical. I swear, if this movie ends up replacing the Rocky Horror Picture Show as a serious cult favorite, I would not be surprised. Though in all fairness, these two movies are not in the same realm.  Not even close.

I think there’s something for everyone in this movie and it’s the first movie I’ve seen in a long time where the audience broke out into truly deserved applause at the end.  What I liked about the audience was that it was comprised of groups of all ages and genders. It was this crowd that broke out into enthusiastic applause. That to me, is a great sign for any movie. Especially one where folk were concerned about some generational differences.

One of the more refreshing parts of the movie was the pacing and the lack of predictable scenes and took me hours to fully digest the experience.  The pacing was such that I was in a time-dilation of a sorts.  If felt like they spent forever introducing and developing the characters at the onset, but it really wasn’t.  It was just well-told, well written material that covered a ton of ground in a short period of time, but did not feel rushed.

That’s the short of it. The long of it will probably contain some kind of spoilers because I’m not sure I can talk about the movie and not give some things up, so be aware of that.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

SCOTT PILGRIM Edgar Wright, Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth WinsteadEdgar Wright, Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Michael Cera plays the love scorned Scott Pilgrim and 26-year-old Mary Elizabeth Winstead playes Ramona Flowers, Scott Pilgrim’s love-interest. But don’t let the main characters distract you from who else is in the movie, because each actor fills a part that is incredibly integral to the plot. There are no small parts in this movie. Cera, in case you don’t know, has been in hits such as Superbad, Juno, Youth in Revolt and other hits. Winstead has been in Live Free or Die Hard, Death Proof and Grindhouse.  I think I’ve become an instant fan of these two today.

The screenplay was written by Edgar Wright (Grindhouse, Hot Fuzz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Shaun of the Dead), as well as directed and produced by Mr. Wright. Michael Bacall was the co-writer.

Of import is Bradley James Allan, the stunt coordinator & Peng Zhang, the fight coordinator. Credits under Bradley James Allan belt include Kick-Ass, Avatar, Ninja Assassin, The Chronicles of Riddick and many other hit movies.  Peng Zhang has worked on Kick-Ass, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Ninja Assassin, X-Men: The Last Stand, Transporter 2, The Chronicles of Riddick & The Last Samurai.  These two have worked together in the past and they brought some amazing stunt fights to the screen in Scott Pilgrim. More on that later.

When seeing the previews for the movie, at first I couldn’t tell just how the movie was going to be presented. Will it be a cartoonish movie… or a ‘battle of the bands’ kind of movie? Are we in a video game? Well, yes and no but rest assured, it’s a movie with a fascinating presentation.

SCOTT PILGRIM Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead“Scott Pilgrim spots Ramona Flowers for the first time.  Wowza!”

Scott Pilgrim is still in the throes of a failed relationship from a year ago but despite being with another girl, he ends up falling head over heels when he meets Ramona, but there’s this hitch: Now that he’s dating her, he didn’t realize that there was a league of 7 evil exes (Not ex-boyfriends, “evil exes.” It is an important distinction throughout the movie) and he has to defeat all of them if he wants to keep dating her.

SCOTT PILGRIM video game effects“Scott Pilgrim previews could fool the unwary, but they’re perfectly integrated”

Scott is in a band who is in a series of band competitions, hence why we see guitars and other music in the film.  The fights in the movie are amazingly cool (technically), with videogame-like super powers, power ups and rewards. We have incredible martial arts, flaming swords and flying combatants. Don’t be confused. It’s a unique, cultish cinematography that joins reality with a video game feel. It’s incredible work from the mind of Edgar Wright to be able to pull together these different aspects of .  I think the fight choreography is some of the best I’ve seen in a movie and that was one of the many refreshing angles from the movie.

SCOTT PILGRIM Michael Cera super fighter“Scott Pilgrim gets down to business and kicks some serious ass!”

But at the drop of the first fight, it’s this very moment that the movie transforms Michael Cera into a furrow-browed, steely-eyed sparring hero.  He steps up and dishes out as much as he takes.  Amazingly, the fights aren’t always about who thumps the most on the other guy.  It’s about what the opponents weaknesses are also.  And from that first scuffle, it’s a joy-ride to be remembered.

SCOTT PILGRIM Mae Whitman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead“Mae Whitman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead:  Remember the distinction, not ex-boyfriends, just exes!”

The exes are played perfectly… I hated them. Chris Evans as Lucas Lee was awesome (.. and why wouldn’t he be? That’s a quirky spin from the movie on his character.)  Brandon Routh, I missed at first. Not used to seeing him with blonde white hair! He’s a vegan, and that has it’s own special advantages.

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Cera and Winstead were perfect for their roles, as they both have a subdued tone to their delivery that belies a lot of thought underneath it all.  The casting all around was pretty on-spot.

In the end, for me, what I saw was Scott Pilgrim, one step at a time throughout the entire movie, learning different things about himself that eventually helps bring his journey to its end.

If you’re not transfixed within a certain film or music genre and don’t head to the movies with preconceptions, I think you’ll come away from Scott Pilgrim vs The World having had a completely awesome experience and will probably find yourself clapping along with your audience in the theater by the time the credits roll.  Then again, there will be others that need something more concrete, more sensible to wrap their minds around to make the experience more easily explainable.

Be aware that though it’s a PG-13 film, there are some moments that if you bring all of the family, you might be needing to explain some “things” to the kids.  It’s not a lot, but it’s there.

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SCOTT PILGRIM Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers“Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers in SCOTT PILGRIM vs THE WORLD”

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SCOTT PILGRIM Michael Cera is getting a life“Scott Pilgrim is getting a life.  Really!”

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SCOTT PILGRIM Mary Elizabeth Winstead with her THOR Hammer“Ramona rocks as she gets into the fighting action with her digitized, Thor-looking hammer”

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