In a time of blockbuster, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” adds a new flavor to action. beat ’em up love story. Wait, do those exist?
The film, directed by Edgar Wright, the cheeky British genius who gave us “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” is based on a six-volume graphic novel that you probably haven’t read.
It follows the romantic exploits of 22-year-old bassist Scott Pilgrim, played by Michael Cera.
Now before you write this movie off because of Cera (like I almost did), he was a hilarious leading man who gave the fight scenes justice.
Pilgrim goes to a party where he runs in to an offbeat gorgeous girl he later finds out to be Romana Flowers, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Pilgrim, who’s had his share of bad luck with the ladies and a current girlfriend in high school, decides to get closer to Flowers.
I don’t care for recycled romance plots. Dorky boy finds abnormal girl with major issues and tries to get with her. She gives him the time of day even though her heart has been through the blender several times by choice, and she’s always been the dumper never the dumped.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has a plot just like that but with an inspiring twist so awesome that the formula here seems to vaporize. What the audience gets is incredible special effects combined with truly original filmmaking. Pilgrim soon discovers his new crush has the most unusual baggage of all: a degenerate league of exes who control her love life and will do whatever it takes to eliminate him as a suitor.
Whether he is rehearsing with his band, mooning over some girls and avoiding others, hanging out with his roommate, moping and napping and avoiding work he is periodically disrupted by spectacular battles with mighty foes.
Before you see “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, you need to realize one thing: It doesn’t follow any “rules”. Not a bad thing. Musicals don’t, after all. What are the odds that someone becomes so full of emotion they break out into song and choreographed dance routines with dozens of strangers? Impossible. But somehow, we accept it.
You have to take that kind of dis-belief into this movie. It’s the only way it works. But in this movie people don’t break into song, they break into wildly over-the-top-fights that are both a joy to watch and to laugh at.
The fights pay tribute to video games and comics with constant references of extra lives, KO’s, and even a ton of quarters Pilgrim receives after beating each ex. Video game junkies and nerds alike will rejoice at this originally delivered concept.
The surrounding cast is also notable, specifically the evil exes. Each fight between Pilgrim and an ex is different and entertaining. See if you can pin-point the exes that played in previous comic-book movies.
A notable scene is a battle of the bands with twin DJ’s. The Sex Bo-Bombs, the name of Pilgrim’s band, had made it to the finals, only to face the DJ’s who control an impressive electric dragon that comes out of the 100 set of speakers behind them.
Did I mention Scott dated his drummer? Like I said, lady problems.
His band adds a life and spirit to the soundtrack that is also worth a listen too.
Despite the title “Scott Pilgrim” is very nearly stolen by Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells, Pilgrim’s imperious gay roommate and moral conscience.
Anna Kendrick, as his level-headed sister, is both relatable and hilarious. Some of the best moments also come from Aubrey Plaza of “Parks and Recreation” as the terrible-tempered Julie Powers who’s mouth, when she swears, censors itself. The film is a delight and much like its comics not known to many. Its brilliant video game/comic book themed visuals, fast paced action, mixed with a romantic plot line make this a perfect movie for everyone. Don’t be fooled by Cera headlining this gig. He makes you cheer for him during the fights, and has you rooting for him in the end. The movie isn’t set out to win Oscars or awards, just too simply entertain, and entertain it does.