Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
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From time to time, a movie comes along that resonates with a certain group of people and those people only. For some people it was Friday the 13th which will forever live in the hearts and minds of true horror fans across the ages. For others it was Titanic that once again settled into the romantic "female" movie. Now us geeks have Scott Pilgrim, filled with geek love throughout this little gem. I'm not saying that this is by any means a perfect film or that it's for everyone, but for some of us, it's a shining moment of cinema that calls to us in a way that no other film to date has done. At its core, Scott Pilgrim is a love story that ventures out into the weird and geeky fringes of what most people will no doubt care little for but others such as myself will embrace with joy.
Review by Mojokc
Added: May 14, 2011
The story centers around our hero Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), a 22-year-old loser who is "between jobs", currently dating a 17-year-old high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), and the bassist in a band called Sex Bomb-ombs. One night while sleeping, Scott has a dream in which Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) roller-blades through, thus starting our hero's fascination. After a bit of semi-stalking and what have you, Scott manages to start dating Ramona and soon finds out that he just got himself a girl with a shit ton of baggage. Ramona's baggage happens to come in the form of her seven evil exes know as the League of Ramona's Evil Exes, and Scott must defeat all seven of them in order to be able to date Ramona.
As with any scenario of this sort, it's fairly obvious that each evil ex is quite a bit tougher then the previous one. All the while, we have various other characters that make their appearances throughout the run time such as Scott's gay roommate Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin) who acts as Scott's sometimes-estranged moral compass, Scott's band-mates, and of course, Knives Chau who now holds a grudge against Ramona for stealing Scott from her. The storyline is fairly straight forward in its approach: introduce hero, show hero's life, introduce villains, defeat villains in order and finally the end battle. There is not anything shown here that hasn't been done before, but despite the formulaic storyline, it's still a very enjoyable experience.
Fans of the comics this movie is based off will be both joyed and upset. The movie sticks to its roots and does the book justice while managing to condense the story into a manageable time frame. Like all adaptations, obvious cuts had to be made in order to squeeze six books into a two hour run time. The story itself remains fairly intact, but some of the scenes were reduced and a few others flat out completely redone for the movie. I don't really want to go into detail, seeing as most of the scenes that were altered completely happen rather late in both the books and movie, so no spoilers from yours truly... just take my word for it.
As far as references go, where do I start? I stated previously that the geek factor is high for us fans of video games and other aspects of geek culture. The references span from the golden age of video games (IE: 80's Nintendo) to some more modern video game aspects with a sprinkling of Dungeons and Dragons thrown into the mix. Some references are subtle while others are flat out in your face in their approach. We have everything from a little sound clip from Legend of Zelda to swords and combo meters during fight scenes. The overall story feels as if it was pulled straight out of a video game script. Overall, quite the enjoyable experience if you're into those sort of references and tributes, often bringing a smile to your face as you recognize that sound bit or that line of dialogue.
Some of the high points in the movie are its special effects and fight scenes. The use of CG is quite obvious but also well done and fits the overall theme and feel of the movie itself. At one point, we have one of our villains grab his skateboard and do a grind down a railing that, for lack of a better term, is fucking impossible to normally grind. As he grinds down said railing, hopping from railing to railing building up speed along his journey, we are treated to the usual CG fare of the wind flying past, sparks spraying from the railing and also a nifty little speed counter in the corner of the screen. Nothing to write home about mind you, but a nice touch and again a reference to skateboarding video games and a tip of the hat to those in the sport.
Of course with every high there must be a low and some of the lows in this movie are pretty profound. The pacing sometimes suffers, the over-emphasis on Scott's awkward social graces, and Ramona's seemingly dry attitude. Character performances, while not bad, were nothing great either, and Cera as usual remains fairly dry as Pilgrim. Cera seems to be one of those actors who gets cast in all these geeky roles because quite frankly I don't believe he's capable of anything other than that role. He comes off as a cardboard character more times then he shines. His role as Scott, while fairly good, was a bit lacking as far as attitude goes. You walk away with this feeling like Scott's character could have benefited from a little more life pumped into him. The same could be said for Ramona Flowers, who while not bad, was not breathtaking either and could use a bit more added to the character to better reflect the Ramona from the books. Acting issues aside there really is not much else wrong with the movie.
After all is said and done, Scott Pilgrim is a very enjoyable movie with a few acting flaws. Geeks will find love here, others will find a pretty solid story and everyone else will more then likely just pass this one by. If video game references and a love story filled with awkward moments, over the top fight scenes and cheesy one liners doesn't fit your bill, then don't bother... however, if you find those traits endearing, then by all means give this one a go. 8/10 from yours truly - while not perfect, it's not broken and that is all I need to enjoy myself.
- added 05/15/2011, 01:10 AM
Well, I'm glad somebody finally reviewed this and
praised it at that. I loved this movie! I went
in with little expectations as I am not a Michael
Cera fan in the least and based on the storyline,
it sounded lame. However, a friend of mine who is
a fan of the graphic novels and an excellent
preview, convinced me to see it. I loved
everything about this flick. Now that I've read
the novels for myself, I don't think Michael Cera
could have been more perfectly cast. I thought he
played the character to a tee and I actually found
him very humorous and at times even endearing.
Which, was totally new for me because I'm the
first to agree that he basically plays himself in
every movie and is completely typecast. Everyone
else was almost flawlessly cast as well.
Specifically, Johnny Simmons, Kieran Culkin and
Anna Kendrick. I truly felt like the first
several books were literally brought to life on
screen. I don't think it could have been done any
better. First and foremost, I found this movie to
be a comedy first and an action/visual effects
movie second with romance bringing up the rear.
Despite the fact that it's about a boy trying to
win a girl, I never felt like that was
overpowering. Every scene had something funny in
it whether it was a great one-liner, a visual cue
or a great nostalgic reference. Hell, they could
just be standing in a room and I would find
someone's t-shirt design clever. The visuals were
phenomenal. It looked and felt like a video game
in every way possible. Even the opening with the
Universal logo all pixelated and the digital theme
music. I just loved how every detail was thought
of. My only problem with this movie was how far
it strayed from the last couple of books, but in
all fairness, the series wasn't complete when they
began filming this movie and Bryan Lee O'Malley
gave it his blessing. So, what more could you ask
for? I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and
- added 05/15/2011, 06:11 PM
Pretty enjoyable. Not much else to say about it.
- added 02/21/2012, 04:52 PM
I'm gonna have to agree with LD's
"meh/10" comment on this one. I love
Edgar Wright earlier work, but this one while
being nicely directed with some styles effects
just lack substance and laughs. 5/10