Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Anna Kendrick, Jason Schwartman
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer(s): Michael Bacall, Edgar Wright
Cinematography: Bill Pope
Original Score: Nigel Godrich
Running Time: 112 Mins.
It is unlikely that upon watching Scott Pilgrim vs The World many of the audience members, bar the hard-core comic-book geeks, will be aware of the credentials of the story, based on a graphic novel this is effectively the last super-hero film of the summer is a sense starring the year’s (possibly even the decades) most unlikely and witless hero. Aside from the source material this is literally essence of geek drip fed into celluloid, directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) and starring a who’s who of new talent fronted by Cera and supported by Superman (Routh), Captain America (Evans) AND Jason Schwartzman no less amongst many other soon to be superstars. You would be hard pushed to find a stronger ensemble for this kind of material, but wait theres more, much more for this is all knowledge you will have before even seeing the film…
So to the film itself, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World concerns its titular character’s efforts to woo the love of his life Ramona (Winstead, this is not as simple as it may sound, for Scott to be able to date Ramona he must defeat her 7 evil-exes, all of whch in the bigger picture means Scott Pilgrim is a rom-com with added battles, a lot of added battles. Plot is almost inconsequential though as what director Edgar Wright is all about is presentation and style, style is a word bandied around a lot when dealing with the term auteur (surely the highest accolade for a director) and if imprinting your film with a unique “look” qualifies you for that status Wright is a director deserving of it, with Scott Pilgrim only serving to clarify this if there were any doubt in his past work.
James Cameron recently made a valid point that recent film classics are those that push boundaries and dare to be different, not such much in narrative but stylistically. citing 300, Sin City and Transformers as modern classics, many will likely argue this point but there is little denying the spectacle and sheer amount of envelope-pushing those films did collectively, and I would promptly add Scott Pilgrim vs. The World to that list, let’s face it boy has to fight for girl and true love is the oldest story there is, all of which makes taking this story and seeing it like never before something of a filmic miracle.
So what makes this such a special film, worthy of ranking as a classic, to cite it as simply a cinema experience like no other sounds like a cop-out and nigh on unbelievable yet that really si what it is, the first 10 minutes ease you in, slow compared to the breakneck pace of the rest of the film each character is perfectly set up, given ample screen-time to find their way into your heart, a must for a rom-com to succeed, the leads are cute as a button (Ramona and Scott) yet as with all rom-com’s the best “com” comes from the support cast, which here is expansive and epic considering the not so epic running time.
That the evil exes themselves are expertly cast and stand out with only the one chance to get it right is something of a miracle (there isn’t a duff one in there), but it is Kieran Culkin that steals the (comedy) show with his one-liners as Scott’s gay room-mate Wallace, it is he who keeps Scott, and the audience, grounded while all else is fantastical. But fantastical is good, the fight scenes and indeed the film as a whole is fed through an 8-bit computer style lens that sees Scott “get a life” have a “pee bar” upon going to pee (of course), and most significantly in fights sees each evil ex battle take a different form whether is be straight out punch up or a fight between “amp” monsters that has a touch of the Pokemon about it. Coming into the film at a steady pace and phasing no-one much like the musical numbers in Moulin Rouge, this is a world that could quite possible all be occurring in our lead characters mind…
Employing multiple split screens, on-screen prompts and Batman style “kapows!” and a very geeky/quirky tone, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World won’t be for everyone, in fact it will likely form a great divide of lovers that “get it” and those who don’t, in fact anyone over 35 might be better off staying well clear, however for all those that are willing to open their mind to something refreshingly new, you will not be disappointed, movie, comic-book, music and gaming geeks alike!
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is unique in the best possible way, it wont be for to everyone’s taste but if you’re willing to open your mind to a new cinematic experience you might well find yourself enjoying a modern classic that I anticipate will get better with each viewing.