Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (by Dave Machado)

I had a strong feeling that I was going to love Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  Being a huge fan of Director Edgar Wright, the cast, and Brian Lee O'Malley's original graphic novels, it wasn't a stretch to safely assume this would end up as a Best Of 2010 entry.  The week before the movie came out, I even picked up both the Score and Soundtrack and became obsessed with those as well.  Then the reviews started rolling in and it seemed a bit mixed.  People were having issues with the movie related to the likability of Scott Pilgrim (some of whom I believe were just sick of Michael Cera) and the believability that we the audience should care about whether Scott ends up with Ramona or not.  I pushed these bad feelings aside and patiently waited to see the movie myself. Now, after having seen it, I can easily say that it lived up my insane hype and is easily one of the top 3 movies of the year so far (along with Kick-Ass and Inception).

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is not a movie that should be viewed literally.  It is a brilliant satire on what it's like to easily fall in love as a young adult and to feel the pressure of living up to your significant other's past trysts.  It takes this concept and throws it into a world where super powers do exist and where every sound effect is taken from old video games.  Basically, it places you in the mind of a young 20-something geek, in our case named Scott Pilgrim.  Scott truly believes that Ramona is his soul mate and will stop at nothing until they can be together forever...this week.  That's what I think is so great about this story.  Scott Pilgrim is an impulsive character and when he's fighting these evil Exes, he's doing it with a great deal of passion.  But again, viewing this as a satire, I see that passion melting away, once one of these two become sick of each other.  But that doesn't take away from Scott's victories at all.  His love for Ramona is just the MacGuffin used to stage some of the coolest fight sequences I've seen in quite some time.

Special attention should be given to the cast of this movie.  There is not one wasted role and everyone brought in for even the smallest part is perfect.  It's not worth listing specific favorites because it would easily turn into just me going through the entire cast.  However, I will say that as far as the Evil Exes go, Brandon Routh was incredible.  I haven't seen him in much since Superman Returns but I really hope this puts him back on the map.  I'm not sure how complimentary this will sound, but Brandon Routh plays an incredible douche bag.  It's almost a shame that the Exes only get a couple scenes a piece because I could easily watch an entire movie based on each one.

All cast accolades aside, the real star of the movie is Edgar Wright and his editing team.  I believe Edgar had already proved he had an amazing sense at how to consistently keep a films momentum up but with Scott Pilgrim, he takes things to a new level.  The way this film is edited makes it worth seeing one more time just to sit back and just enjoy how he lets the story unfold.  Things are cut at a breakneck pace but are done in such a way that it never feels disorienting or annoying.  The best (and in this case, most appropriate) comparison would be to the speed at which you read through panels in a comic book.  One panel can convey a whole conversation and Edgar Wright is able to do the same thing with one scene that literally only contains one or two lines of dialog.  In a fair world, this would at least earn this movie an Oscar nomination for Best Editing.  

So luckily there were no surprises and I fell in love with Scott Pilgrim.  It's been a tough year for quality movies so it's good to see such a fantastic one sneak by the studios.  Sure it's technically not "original" since it is based on the graphic novels, but as far as other movies like it, it pretty much stands alone.  We've seen similar things attempted in movies such as Crank and Speed Racer, but Scott Pilgrim takes what they setup and blows it all out of the water.  Scott Pilgrim is a fantastic work of art that I look forward to rewatching for years to come.  The fact that it has a Mega Man reference is simply icing on the cake.

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