Saturday, August 14, 2010

Film Review: Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Ladies and gentlemen, the defining movie of our generation is here in the form of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This movie completely encapsulates and satirizes the interests and attitudes of contemporary youth. The 6 novel book series adapted to movie is just as good as the novels and will blow you away with its charm, fights, and humor!

Scott Pilgrim is a normal 23 year old boy dating a 17 year old high schooler. Everything changes when he meets Ramona Flowers the actual girl of his dreams. He then proceeds to fight an organized League of Evil Ex-Boyfriends in order to win the right to date her. Mean while juggling trying to get a record deal for his band and dealing with all the actual drama of dating.

This film is mostly aimed at 30 and under age range. The move so directly targets that age range that older people might not "get it" and thats simply that they are a different mind set and come from a different culture than from what we grew up in, because our lives have been so heavily influenced by video games, music, tv, and comic books.. However, Scott Pilgrim i foresee having a cult following in the near future.

This film was so incredible in nearly every aspect. First of all the over all feel of the film immediately pulls you in. It starts in a kind of a normal world where nothing crazy or out of the ordinary occurs and the life of Scott Pilgrim seems to be that of a normal Canadian boy. It quickly flips that on its head by turning into a live video game. The movie is similar to a musical in that people in musicals spontaneously break into songs but in Scott Pilgrim the spontaneously break into fights and sometimes both song and fights. The believability really goes out the window early in the film, but in a good way. You don't care about the real world believability soon after because the fantastical world of kung fu fighting, psychic powers, ninja teleporting , and musical sound that battles each other in the form of dragons and an ape like creature makes you giddy and instantly glued to the screen.

Some critics say that the stakes of the film are nullified by its refusal to establish any firm rules about the logic or limitiations of its world, but it’s that carefree attitude that frees the movie from the blandness of impossibility and the confines of Hollywood convention. It’s what allows the film to be so fresh and energetic and spontaneous and wonderfully unpredictable in every scene. And where it might pose a problem in another film, Wright keeps Scott Pilgrim anchored with a strong sense of character and heartfelt honesty. Those are the stakes that matter—the characters, and their relationships—not whether or not Pilgrim’s life is at risk, which we already know the answer to regardless of how realistic the film is.

The pace of this movie starts from a stand still and goes from 0 to 300 in less than 5 minutes. The movie quickly gathers steam and never lets up. Wright shifts the film effortlessly from scene to scene, doing so through amazingly cleverly transitions that help to give it a momentum that never lets up. In a single interaction of dialogue, the location can change up to three times, and you might not even realize it! Pay attention! 

This movie has every good element from all the genres of movies. It’s a comedy-action-adventure-musical-fantasy-romance—and it nails every single one. The movie epitimozes the best that each of its genres has to offer, while at the same time poking fun at them. It even incorporates things out side of movies like video games (Zelda sound effects and 8-bit weaponry) to comic books (extensive use of onscreen text and split screens) to music (alt rock songs prefaced with dialogue like, “We’re here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff!” Some of the flash backs in the movie are just pages from the books! How cool is that?!

If your not very familiar with those things it doesn't hinder you from enjoying the movie. For those that get those additional nuggets of goodness, they will appreciate them, but the film's humor, plot, and characters stand alone and can still be enjoyed to the fullest. The nerd references are just a side quest (and if you didn't get that then you might be the people that won't get those references.)

Aside from being a nerds wet dream, the characters and humor in this movie are impeccable. The comedy in this movie comes from every possible angle. Much of it directly from the source material, but there are many additional small things that Wright adds to the movie that makes it even better! Every bit of the humor is unpredictable and quirky. From blatantly addressing bleeping of swear words to making a whole scene designed after an episode of Seinfeld with a laugh track and everything, you will never see the humor coming.

Much of the humor I speak of is because of intense characterization that this movie has. You instantly understand the nature of each character as the enter the screen because they are filled to the brim with charismatic character. Michael Cera is the perfect Scott Pilgrim. He plays the timid 23 year old that can beat the snot out of you with flawless ease. His timing and mannerisms accurately reflect the character from the novels. I my self saying "oh so thats how he would emphasize that sentence," mostly because I am a nerd. But, Cera really pulls of his fighting in this film. The fighting is amazing and Michael Cera looks completely believable in his action hero role. 

There is one character that for me stands above all the others in both the movie and the books. That is Scott's  cool gay roommate, Wallace Wells. This guy was the perfect adaptation from the book. Everything he says and does was so funny I looked forward to when i next saw him on the screen just as I looked forward to when i would see him on another page. When you see this movie, and you must, watch Wallace because hopefully he will bring you as much joy and laugher as he did to me.

Everything about this movie sparkles and makes me wish the movie was 8 hours long! It's charisma, humor, characters, and fights really have made something new and never before seen. This is the sort of movie where a major moment of intense emotion directly results in a flaming samurai sword protrudes from a character’s chest. A movie like that doesn’t come around very often, but when it does, you know you’ve found something special! 

Characters 10/10
Plot 10/10
Cinematography 10/10
Humor 10/10
Everything 10/10


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