|Scott Pilgrim - The jakob187 review||11 out of 11 users found this review helpful.|
Over the course of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World's close to two-hour running time, you'll find two things true: this is a cavalcade of sensory overload in visuals and audio, and it's a love/hate movie. Fans of the comics probably won't like how some of the characters are treated, while those unfamiliar with the source material will probably miss how shallow the idea of Scott and Ramona getting together really is because of that aforementioned sensory overload.
The film has us follow Scott, a slacker-loser-jerk dating a high school girl supposedly five years his younger, then seeing the girl of his dreams...in his dreams. He eventually makes his way to a party with his bandmates, where he sees her and tries to talk to her. His game is weak, and the only way he can get her to agree to hanging out is by ordering a package from Amazon, which she thusly delivers. This girl is Ramona Flowers, and while Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a fine job of acting the role based on the script that was written, the issue is that Ramona does nothing at all to gain this kind of attention. That attention is the fact that Scott must battle her seven evil ex-significant others in over-the-top battles that mimic the worlds of video games, comic books, anime, and more. The fact that he's fighting seven people over a girl he has just met and believes he's completely in love with just because she's pretty is beyond me, especially when his high school girlfriend (named Knives Chou) actually bends over backwards to gain his attention and affection. In short, the whole point of the film existing...is because of a fateful meeting that really isn't earned beyond Ramona just wanting to get away from her past and start a new life.
Edgar Wright takes the source material quite literally in his film adaptation, and while it's not a panel-by-panel recreation as the likes of Sin City or 300 have done, it holds true to much of the comics visual aesthetic. There are "thonks" displayed in big print on the screen when someone gets hit, massive explosions of color when a speaker plays movie, and enough video game references to choke a mule. When the Universal title card is laid out in 16-bit vector matrix graphics like an old Sonic game and the theme music is redone in MIDI form, you know the kind of movie you are getting into. The visuals in and of themself are rather impressive, and it all plays well into the general idea of "big and over-the-top" that the comics is pretty well known for. The visuals, as well as audio, also use a ton of references to other properties. Final Fantasy and Zelda music is directly used, 1UP life mushrooms adorn the screen, Scott eventually levels up and gains +1 Balls, anime battle action ensues on a regular basis; ladies and gentlemen, this is a movie for nerds.
That is where part of the problem starts with Scott Pilgrim - it's a little too referential for a wide appeal. At least forty percent of the jokes throughout the film are for those who know their games, know their comics, and know their obscure movie and/or actor references. The list compiles over time to be something rather staggering, and in turn, it could turn off many who just don't get the in-jokes. Wright does seem to hold most of the references to incredibly popular video game cliches and ideas, like Mario's 1UP mushroom or Zelda music, but it just doesn't seem that most people will get the No More Heroes references. In Scott's battle against the third evil ex, played by former Superman Returns actor Brandon Routh, the two duel in a bass battle where Routh plays the opening to Budgie's "Breadfan" note for note, then follows it with Muse. Shortly after, Routh is arrested by the Vegan Police, which itself has a guest appearance by former Punisher actor Thomas Jane. Most of these little in-jokes are something only the most hardcore of hardcore will catch, and you may find yourself being the only one laughing in the theatre at times because of it.
There are plenty of other jokes in the film that play to a wider audience, but many of those jokes happen to revolve around poking fun at Scott's gay roommate (played to hilarious perfection by Kieran Culkin) or even his jailbait high school girlfriend before meeting Ramona. Rarely does the humor of the film ever base itself solely on the idea of true humor, and instead, it relies very heavily on its references and fun-poking. The general vibe of pretentiousness around the movie is made lighter by Wright's hyperfast editing and crazy special effects, and it is rather difficult to take the film too seriously when people are flying in the air and pulling swords of fire out of their chests. Luckily, none of the humor seems genuinely mean-spirited, as everyone kind of understands that it's just the way the world is and they all live in it.
Don't get the wrong idea here. Personally, the movie was funny enough to keep me laughing, referential enough that my arm got tired from pointing at the screen to essentially say "I get that reference", and the acting is generally alright for the roles they support. I liked it. Still, Michael Cera ends up playing the same role as usual (awkward teenager with speech pattern issues), and the supporting cast of evil exs are far more worthwhile to watch than any of the main cast outside of Kieran Culkin. Sadly, there is very little about the movie that feels like Edgar Wright was at the helm of it. It also features two protagonists that seem more in lust with each other in some high school-ish manner than any form of actual love, and part of the charm of the movie dies with that knowledge.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World International Trailer
Now with more boob punching and Canadian hipster love!
Scott Pilgrim vs. Lucas Lee Fight Scene
Scott faces down Ramona's evil-ex Lucas Lee and his retinue of stunt doubles.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Trailer #2
Ever wanted to watch Michael Cera get his ass kicked in increasingly effects-heavy ways? Then brother, does this new Scott Pilgrim trailer ever satisfy.
Screened's Summer Movie Preview
Alex and Rorie check out the 2010 Summer Movie Lineup.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Trailer
Defeat seven evil ex-boyfriends? That's easy. Once my girlfriend made me defeat twenty-five evil kittens. At least, I'm pretty sure they were evil.
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