Monday, August 16, 2010

Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

The most fun you'll have in a theater with your pants on 

Directed by Edgar Wright

Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Rated PG-13

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is the kind of movie that any given person will either love or hate. People who are into manga and video games will have a lot of fun with this movie. However, people who have no connection to those worlds will likely find the movie to be silly and nonsensical. That said, as far as gaming-related movies go, this blows The Wizard out of the water.

Scott Pilgrim is based on a multi-part comic book series that has gained increasing notoriety because of the movie. In a way, it's fitting. Most modern video games have their roots in Japan, a country where manga (comics, essentially) cultivate and sustain the video game industry in their own way - especially when it comes to the genre of Role-Playing Games, or RPGs.

At the outset, this is the tale of a goofy nerd (the titular character, played by Michael Cera) with girl problems. Never answered is the question of how this guy has girl problems (or girls) to begin with, as he has the musclebound physique of a ten year old fetus and the personality of... that guy Michael Cera plays in all his movies. It almost seems redundant to go over the plot of this movie, as it's probably common knowledge by now for anyone who hasn't been living under a rock, but here goes. Our hero meets this girl with rapidly-changing hair color, named Ramona Flowers; he quickly becomes both infatuated and smitten by her. Unfortunately, he must contend with her seven exes, all of whom have super powers and have formed a league of evil. Luckily, Scott also has super powers, as this totally ignores all rules and physics of the real world. Thus, Scott battles his way through the exes, culminating with a fight against the leader of the league of evil, Gideon Graves.

The movie is somewhat faithful to the comics, but there are quite a few modifications. One thing that bothered me is that Chrono Trigger's X-Strike for some reason didn't make it into the movie, despite having a crucial role in the comic. The casting of this movie was done well, with the only miscast character being Scott himself. Michael Cera may be Generation Y's Sean Connery, but he just seemed out of place in this role.

For the most part, the other characters in the movie all come across as somewhat real - despite the outlandishness of the movie world - and easy to identify with. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays love interest Ramona Flowers, has a certain indescribable, alluring hipness about her throughout the movie. I would go so far as to say her eyes are the high point of the whole thing, as they show seemingly infinite amounts of character and grace.

My favorite part of this movie was the fourth boss fight, where Ramona does battle with a whip-chain wielding psychotic lesbian. This fight was off the charts awesome, and in a way made me wish that it was Ramona fighting all of the movie's villains instead of Scott. Yeah, I'll admit it - I had a bit of a crush on Ms. Flowers.

Perhaps the hallmark of this movie, besides the constant game references and ridiculous plot, is the completely frenetic pace of the brawls. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World has some of the most off-the-wall battles you'll see anywhere this year, and they move at a speed that will leave your brain spinning. That said, they're also easy to keep track of, unlike the Michael Bay esque "shaky cam" brawls that are all too common these days.

In closing, if approached with an appreciation for the source material, affection for video games, or even just an open mind, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World may well be the most fun you have at the movies this summer. People who go to this movie with an overly critical eye, expecting a movie that makes sense within the confines of real world laws and physics... will be disappointed. This movie is almost more of a video game than a movie at times, and taken in that context, it's a hell of a lot of fun. For an hour and a half, it has the ability to completely take you out of the real world - and sometimes that's just what we need. I give it three and a half stars out of five, and the only things keeping me from going higher are Michael Cera's slightly sub-par performance and the fact that it isn't for everyone.


  1. I must be the rare guy that neither loved nor hated it.

  2. The biggest mystery of the movie is why everyone else went so nuts over both of the leads!