Must preface my brief review with the statement that the Movies 8 in Provo might want to consider turning down the volume. I really enjoyed this movie, but I wished I had some cotton or something to muffle the extraordinarily loud volume.
With that said, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was a marvelously perfect experience. It’s not my favorite movie of the year: that honor is still a toss-up between Robin Hood and How to Train Your Dragon. Scott Pilgrim strums right into the top ten.
The premise is simple: Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a guy who loves video games and is a rocker who fears the power women have over him and has never had the guts to deal with women as if they were grown-ups and real people. But one day he has a dream about a woman who then skates into his life. This is Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who from the start clearly has a murky past. (Didja see that I juxtaposed ‘clearly’ and ‘murky’? All worship me!)
Ramona is the girl of his dreams. But as they grow closer, he suddenly has to fight her seven evil exes (not ex-BOYfriends). Meanwhile, the band for which he is the excellent bassist is trying to sign a deal by winning multiple levels of Battle of the Bands.
Simple, but wonderfully done. This film is based on a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Whence comes the spectacularly special part of the film.
This movie has no desire to convince you of super powers, video game tie-ins to the real world or other such nonsense. These characters inhabit a world in which people can grind down a mile or so of railing and hit over 300 kilometers per hour, wiping out spectacularly in a large explosion. This world includes a vegan with superpowers, because he is vegan. And don’t forget Matthew Patel, fighter and dancer extraordinaire.
It’s loud, filled with great and mediocre (on purpose!) music and visually both challenging and delicious. Edgar Wright, the fellow who wrote and directed, decided to add comics and video games to this movie and take that trope all the way. Kudos to him for the courage and for doing it so well.
For example, when phones ring, we get the comic-book visual of RIIING emanating from the telephone. This is carried through perfectly, to such a perfect point that when the phone is behind us (the audience) we see a reversed reflection of RIIING in front of us.
Add to all of the sensory tastiness the fact that the dialogue is crisp, the acting is good (despite Michael Cera– more on that later), and the movie is laugh-out-loud-and-long funny in spots.
The cameos are well placed (Thomas Jane and Clifton Collins, Jr. were my favorite as Vegan police who take Brandon Routh’s powers away). Chris Evans is hilarious as Lucas, the burly bully.
Kieran Culkin was lights out as Scott’s gay roommate. As is the trend in movies lately, however, he seemed to be the only source of wisdom in the insane world Scott inhabited. See Little Miss Sunshine for evidence. Something that bothered me and ought to bother many more people is that the gay man was the only dangerously promiscuous person in the film.
All in all, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is an outstanding film that explores the art and craft of moviemaking in a new and very very exciting way. This movie isn’t for everyone: it’s loud, visually jarring at times and very hip. But if you just sit and wait for the showdown between Scott’s band (the Sex Bob Ombs) and the evil twins’ band, it will be worth it. That was money all the way; loved the visualizations of the music.
The video game tie ins will go way over the heads of audience members who haven’t been in that world for a while. But it will still be a fun movie. Just be sure to watch closely from the very beginning; the Universal logo and music are a perfect beginning to a nearly perfect movie-going experience.
My review’s over.
But Michael Cera. Yes, he’s funny. Yes, he’s a good anti-hero. But he’s always getting girls in his movies– different types of girls– and it’s very difficult to see why. To me, his schtick is getting old. He’s whiny, his voice still hasn’t cracked, he’s scrawnier than my ten-year-old, and I just don’t get it. What’s attractive about that?
I can’t suspend my disbelief to let that aspect work, sorry. I’ve seen the character before, and the behavior, insecurities and mannerisms of the character are the same as what we saw in Arrested Development which was outstanding despite him.
Anyone have a rebuttal?