Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
PLOT: This is Scott Pilgrim. He's the 22-year-old bassist of the wanna-be rock back Sex Bob-omb. One day he meets the quite literal girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers. She's a sexy and mysterious New York girl living in Toronto and Scott is determined to win her heart. But before he does, there's this little issue of The League of Evil Exes and seven former flames who will do nothing to ensure Scott and Ramona are kept apart.
REVIEW: "That's what great art is about. Guilt, longing, love disguised as sex, sex disguised as love..." Lester Bangs in ALMOST FAMOUS.
From the moment the iconic Universal logo unfurls in 8-bit style with MIDI fanfare, before making way for a Bill Hader narration and a musical cue from "The Legend of Zelda," you should know you're in for one of the most geek-friendly movies in recent history. But it's not just geeks who will love SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, a movie so rich with feeling, so bursting with originality and so plain old FUN that it'll be hard for anyone to resist.
Based on the equally fantastic series of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels that started in 2004 with "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life" and ended recently with "Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour," the film adapts the six volumes into a tight narrative that balances humor, action, music and romance with equal panache.
Fans of the comic were initially somewhat concerned when Michael Cera was announced as the cinematic version of Scott Pilgrim. Unlike the rest of the cast, Cera doesn't quite physically resemble his character (whereas it's eerie how much actors Mark Webber or Johnny Simmons look like their namesakes) but he nails it from the get-go. It's not an easy challenge as Pilgrim isn't exactly a flawless protagonist. He makes poor choices, hurts people and generally falls into many of the same emotional pitfalls a good deal of us did in our early-20s. But we always connect with him and relate to what he's going with and that speaks volumes to Cera's skills not just as a comic actor (his timing here is impeccable) but his dramatic chops as well.
The rest of the cast, including Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin and Jason Schwartzman are so good it's easy to think that any of them could be the breakout star of the film. But fantastic cast aside, there's really only one breakout star of SCOTT PILGRIM: Edgar Wright.
With SCOTT PILGRIM, Edgar Wright has proved himself as one of the most talented directors currently working in Hollywood. A movie like SHAUN OF THE DEAD would be almost impossible to top for some directors but Wright has created a film every bit as fresh and exciting as SHAUN when it was released.
Wright has framed the film so it plays out something like a musical. We're in a relatively real and grounded world but instead of people breaking out into song and dance, they break out into massive fight sequences. And the action sequences are so brilliantly conceived, you never once flinch at the notion of Michael Cera kicking the ass of seven henchmen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead doing battle with a giant hammer or a Bollywood-style song/fight with demon hipster chicks. In fact not only do you not flinch, you "WHOA!" like at any great kung-fu film.
But honestly, all the cool action sequences in the world wouldn't make SCOTT PILGRIM work if it didn't have heart. SCOTT PILGRIM works because we connect with Scott. We've made mistakes, done stupid things, broken hearts, our hearts have been broken. We know what it's like to fight for something, sometimes fighting just as much for yourself as for anything else. For a film that deals so heavily with a younger generation and culture, SCOTT PILGRIM is a remarkably grown up film. In fact, it's a film about growing up. It's a story about growing up, falling in love, choices, taking responsibility, coming to terms with the past and ultimately finding yourself. While taking on the seven evil exes, Scott isn't just defeating Ramona's past but his own demons as well.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD is the rare comic adaptation this is every bit as groundbreaking as its inspiration. The music will make your feet tap, the battles will make you cheer, the romance will warm your heart and, in the end, this movie will kick your ass. It's one of the best films of the year and a movie I just absolutely loved.
"Continue?..." I've got a whole roll of quarters right here.
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