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Video Producer Joey's Review of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Joey peels away from behind the camera to check out the new Edgar Wright flick, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

 Hey guys, Joey here!  I thought I'd take a small break away from video producing and give you my thoughts on the new movie opening this weekend, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  Ever hear of it?  Oh okay, cool, just making sure.  I think they missed a couple billboards.   
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But...coincidentally we do have quite a bit of coverage all over our site as well.  We're not going to try to over epicly, epic you over the head with all this epic coverage of epicness.  But, it's here if you're interested, and I listed it below for nice easy access. 
 Inferiorego's review from the Comic-Con screening is up as well as -- 
Tom Pinchuk's thoughts, straight out of the Egyptian theater in Hollywood. 
We also put together a 3- Minute Expert on the Exes of Ramona, which broke earlier this week.  
And finally below are my thoughts on the flick.  In short I liked it (4/5), and of course the comment board is open so let us know what you all thought of it as well!  
Well, back to the camera, enjoy the review, I'll see you guys!  
The world of Scott Pilgrim is a very small place, barely touching the edges of Ontario, Canada, with physical laws dependent on the same ilogical and nonsenical concepts of nearly every single mid-80's to mid-90's video game; notably Super Mario Brothers, River City Ransom, and the later combo based fighting games.  Power ups are earned by eating vegan, collecting coin obtained by defeating foes, rocking out, and...well, you get the picture.  This is, in the broader sense, a vintage video game-surelastic film that, in the real world, has been packaged into an agressive pop culture marketing campaign that seems to have already split the world in two, causing huge waves of early disdain for the film and it's concept entirely.  This circumstance is unfortunate, because Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is an extremly fun movie, with well executed integration of the aforementioned and one of the best flicks to come out this summer.
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 Michael Cera plays Scott Pilgrim, a kid whose maturity level is stuck in the middle of high school and young adulthood.  He plays bass in the band, Sex Bob-Bombs, with two of his old high school friends whose current motivation is to bring the band to fame and glory.  Pilgrim plays in this band not so much for the music, but for the illuminating perceptain of "coolness" that envelops young immature gals, specifically Knives Chau, a 17 year old Chinese-Canadian catholic school girl, played wonderfully by Ellen Wong.  Chau is young, has never kissed a guy, and falls head over heels for Scott Pilgrim after watching him rock out with the Sex Bob-Bombs.  She follows him, plays with him, wears his band t-shirts, and does all this with a sense of naiveity that blinds her to noticing that Scott is the least bit interested in her, especially after Romana Flowers becomes the literal woman of his dreams.  Romona Flowers, played with an uninterested tone by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, moves to Ontario, from New York, to get away from her old life and work part time as a delivery girl for  She finds a nice quick highway subspace through Scott's head (you know, cause she's American...and American's can do that) and this triggers an unrelenting obsession in Pilgrim which soon sets up the main plot for the film: in order to date the beautiful and illusive Ramona Flowers, Scott must fight and defeat her seven evil exes. 

There are plenty of supporting players in this film - Kieren Maculkin (yeah, Mcully's brother) who plays Wallace, the gay playboy roomate of Pilgrim, as well as the seven exes themselves including the x-treme skater/actor Lucas Lee, and diabolical music producer Gideon Graves (aka G-Man, hehe), played by Chris Evans and Jason Schwartzman respectively.  All of these charactors are brought in with intentions that are as deep friend in crazy as the world they inhabit.  Though the obvious plot of this movie is to fight and defeat these foes, the more interesting underlying narrative focus is based around the trio of Scott, Ramona, and Knives.  All three are dealing heavily with the infection of a powerfull, helpless, and unexplained infactuation over another person.  They each attempt to satisfy this emotion in very different ways, and while they each take different paths in service to this, they end up inadvertanly developing themselves and ending up at the same place - a far better place than their infactuation led them to believe they were capable of.  

Now, don't get me wrong, this narrative spine is not something the movie hinges itself on; this element finds itself sidelined for most of the movie in service to the main crux of Scott battling the seven exes.  And, consequently, by the time Scott and Ramona reach the end of their journey, you can't help but feel a little underwhelmed at how, or why, they got there.  This did, though, leave open space for Knives as she goes through her different stages of infatuation, leading to obsession, to destructible personality traits, and eventually landing to a place of strong self-respect -- her journey there, seems reasonable and touching, even given her limited screen time as a supporting player, and this is thanks to the script and the over the top fun portrayal from actress Ellen Wong 
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 Edgar Wright's direction has always impressed me.  The man knows how to shoot and move a scene, and direct moments of comedic beats with complimentary editing and cuts.  This is something that he really developed in the show Spaced, and has since been able to integrate it well into his feature films.  He shows off his killer execution of fast rhythmic movements and pacing, especially in the first half of the film, while he navigates us through Scott Pilgrim's life.  We see glimpses of a plethora of supporting characters, some who don't really seem too necessary (I get a feeling they had bigger parts of the source material), but none the less add color to Scott's world.  As we enter the second half of the film, the pacing starts to get a clunky, as Wright speeds things up to fit in the remaining exes, throw in more references, and wrap up the story.  We jump from one location to the next, one ex-boyfriend to the next, and it's here the motivating actions get a little undermined.  This isn't completely horrible, as this is where Wright throws in the kitchen sink in regards to concepts, themes, style, editing, effects, and so on.  By now, the excessive use of referential elements and eccentric effects editing may start to lose some people, but if you're already on board with what this movie is by this point, halfway forgiving the narrative defocus wont be unreasonable, and you'll have a great time with this, as it actually becomes a very fun part of the movie.

Wright has always done a great job at never peeling away from the tone of his films, even when he's jumping from genre to genre, and here, he jumps concepts with the same ease while strapping us in to a wild ride.  Despite the cringe inducing over-aggresive marketing campaign, the trailers for this film are a great representation of what the movie is.  Chatting with Rorie from Screened, he summed it best: if you like the trailer, chances are you'll like the movie.  Even with it's narrative issues, and moments of awkward pacing, this is an extremely fun film and one of my favorites this summer as the world in which Wright has painted on screen is dazzling, with a fun little story and unique interpolating of video game concepts and physics.