Thursday, 6 December 2012

Film Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World - (2010)

Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin and Jason Schwartzman.
Running time: 112 minutes
Age Rating: 12A
UK release date: 27th August 2010

"Scott, if your life had a face, I would punch it."

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is the tale of a 22 year old named... well, Scott Pilgrim. He is jobless, completely devoid of motivation and still hasn't recovered from being dumped by his ex girlfriend. Scott is not exactly your traditional heroic protagonist. At the beginning of the film we learn that there are only two things really happening in Scott's life, his band and his new girlfriend (Knives Chau), who is only 16. But then something happens: Ramona Flowers. The mysterious American arrives in Torronto , and of course Scott falls for her. Now this is where things get weird. To get the chance to be with Ramona, Scott must defeat her seven evil exes.

Now I'm going to admit that I absolutely love this film. I had never read the graphic novel before seeing the film, but this didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of it. The genre of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is difficult to pin down. I'd say that its a romantic comedy with elements from kung fu action films and geek culture. Director Edgar Wright is well known for blending genre elements together with his previous films (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) and it works just as well in Scott Pilgrim. After reading the graphic novels, I found that it isn't that faithful to the six book series. There was just too many back stories and side characters to fit in to a 112 minute feature. This isn't a bad thing though, in fact its much more interesting because it is different. You don't have to wait for an endless amount of sequels with the final book being split into two parts! It's a self contained story with a definite conclusion. Which in my opinion, we need much more of.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is truly unique. It's a film that feels equally like a graphic novel and video game through the uses of the visual style. During fights a combo meter will appear counting up successful hits, punches impacting with people will have exaggerated sound effects and neon backdrops will appear when two characters charge at each other preparing to battle. At one point a character is thrown through a wall into another area and the divide between the two looks like the space between comic book panels. This film is so colourful and exciting that you'll never want to look away. The cinematography supports this by being just as slick as the action, it follows the action and wants you to see it unlike the recent rise in shaky cam action scenes.

The actors all seem pretty appropriate for their roles. I know that's not exactly glowing praise so I'll say this, everyone does a good job and the film isn't ruined by any performances, but I don't see anyone winning an award any time soon for starring in it. Michael Cera plays the title character and does a good job of carrying the movie. However a lot of the side characters truly stand out for great comic performances. The biggest example of this is Kieran Culkin, who plays Scott's roommate. He always has a one liner about something and is Scott's voice of reason (Even if 90% of the time he's being sarcastic). A few celebrities have cameos as evil exes, such as Chris Evans, Brandon Roth and Jason Schwartzman who have great fun playing over the top villains. I'd say that the casting choices are pretty good, the actors are all very faithful to the one's in the graphic novels

This is a tribute to the people who grew up with video games, comics and cartoons. This film is so packed with references and call backs, you'll need multiple viewings to catch them all. Yet it never makes them the primary focus of the film. Edgar Wright understands that there needs to be substance as well for it to be a great movie. I can completely relate to Scott Pilgrim, even if he is a terrible person. The film is basically about how young people (ie Scott Pilgrim) deal with relationships and most importantly, get over themselves. This film isn't just a bunch of fan service, it has a heart as well.

So then, here we are, I'd highly recommend Scott Pilgrim to anyone. Its a love letter to geeks, but doesn't alienate other spectators. Its got fun action scenes, laugh out loud humor, quirky soundtrack and a genuinely heartfelt message. This film has been crafted with love. Its more than worth your time.

And just a quick note: If The Legend of Zelda, Street Fighter, Mega Man or No More Heroes means anything to you then you need to have seen this film yesterday.

"No. I want to fight you for me."

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