Sunday, January 23, 2011


I was reluctant to watch this movie based on two things: I never read the comic and I am really getting tired of the superhero genre in general. I do read contemporary comics, but I stopped reading superhero titles many years ago; even the satirical ones. That and the fact that the artwork for the comic Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is very much in the Manga “big-eye” style kept me from even trying to read it. The last superhero film with a similar contemporary feel that was also based on a comic that I watched was Kick-Ass. I didn’t enjoy that mostly due to its use of realistic violence while it still attempted to generate humor. There is no comparing Scott Pilgrim vs. The World to Kick-Ass, because the two films are completely different in tone.

If you are not familiar with the comic (I’ve read that it is a fair adaptation of the source material) and you are expecting a superhero action flick with perhaps a touch of hip humor, then you are in for a surprise. The surprise will be either an unpleasant or pleasant one depending on your ability to adapt to director Edgar Wright’s somewhat unorthodox pacing and scene transitions. For once I’m glad I didn’t do my homework on this film, because I would have discovered that Edgar Wright directed both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, neither of which I thought was funny in the least. Luckily for me, after adjusting to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’s unique visual style and directing, I found myself completely wrapped up in the story of a lovable loser who falls in love with the girl of his dreams, who just happens to have seven ex-boyfriends that are inexplicably super-powered and ready to fight our nebbish hero “to the death."

The cast of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World really helps to bring to life the somewhat one-dimensional characters. Michael Cera plays the lead Scott Pilgrim with just enough sincerity that you find yourself rooting for him in his seemingly impossible quest to get and keep the girl of his dreams. Mary Elizibeth Winstead plays said girl-of-Scott’s-dreams Ramona Flowers with a bored and reserved air that inexplicabley makes her character even more likable and attractive (despite the awful multi-colored wigs she wears throughout the film). There are so many great young actors in this film that you’ll find yourself looking them all up because so many of them are recognizable to us genre fans!

Another thing that makes Scott Pilgrim vs. The World a unique visual as well as auditory experience is the music! Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Beck, Metric, Broken Social Scene, Cornelius, Dan the Automator, Kid Koala, and David Campbell all contributed to the film's soundtrack. Beck composed the music played by Sex Bob-omb in the film, which is the band that Scott Pilgrim plays in. Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene wrote all the songs for Crash and the Boys, which is a rival band in the film. Metric are the influence of the band Clash at Demonhead in the film and contributed the song "Black Sheep" to the film, which is the song Scott’s ex-girlfriend’s band plays in the film. All the music is loud, raw and has a very mod-punk garage feel to it!

One last word of warning to superhero fan purists: this film never gives any rational explanation for why almost every character in this film has some sort of super powers! Only the villains – The League of Evil Exes – are given any kind of back story as to how they arrived at their super powers and this is done mostly for humor. If you can deal with this one major incongruity then you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the movie. This odd blend of super-heroics, comedy and romance is definitely not for everyone. But, if you are tired of the more traditional superhero films that have been released in the last few years, then treat yourself to the oddly comic romantic heroics of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

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