Retroactive review – Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Scott Pilgrim

For those unfamiliar, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is an adaption of the popular ‘Scott Pilgrim’ comics written and drawn by Bryan Lee O’ Malley.

The film attempts to squash six volumes worth of sheer brilliance into one 105 minute film, something which ultimately causes this film to drop from perfect to near perfect.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World follows the precious little life of Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), a 23 year old Canadian slacker who plays in a band called Sex Bob-Omb (if you don’t get the reference, then this film already probably isn’t for you).

Scott is dating 17 year old Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), a High Schooler don’t you know. His attenion is drawn to mysterious American Amazon.ca delivery girl Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Determined to date her, he dumps Knives and then has to defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes (not ex-BOYFRIENDS…). That’s the plot in a nutshell, it isn’t complicated, it’s simple and fun, and that’s the brilliance of the film.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Many critics have complained about the sheer sillyness of this film, but anyone who’s familiar with the world created by O’ Malley in the comics will feel right at home, in fact, so will anyone whos ever read any comic or played a video game. Make no mistake this is definitely a film for the ADD generation, but that shouldn’t put anyone off from seeing it.

The visuals in this film are outstanding and it’s clear a lot of hard work has gone into it. Edgar Wright really catches the tone and visual style of the comics and puts them on screen in a way that really has never been done before. Every scene is a joy to watch thanks to the meticulous attention to detail with everything. Everything becomes an onomatopoeia. This is truly a comic book come to life.

There has been a lot of hate for Cera but I think he’s perfect in the role, especially as the film gets going. He IS Scott Pilgrim. Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Ramona falls a bit flat, she does her best with the role but something has been lost in translation from the comics to the film. Ramona Flowers is a much more likeable character in the comics, but I think this just comes down to time restraints and fitting everything in.

Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons and Alison Pill get special mentions too. Without a doubt though, Kieran Culkin as Scott’s roomate Wallace Wells steals the show. The man has impeccable comic timing, and though the character is quite cliché, it works, he’s definitely the highlight of the film, it’s just a shame his screen time is so little.

The writing can sometimes be a bit loose and I felt an extra 15 minutes or so just to develop the Ramona character a bit more may have helped. As a fan of the comics, I would have liked to have seen Mr. Chau make an appearance and maybe a bit more of a conclusion to the Envy Adams plotline which never really gets picked up properly in the film.

Edgar Wright has once again proved why he is one day going to be remembered amongst the great directors of all time, up there with Scorcese, Spielberg and Scott. The film may not have the brains of Inception, or the pure physical force of The Expendables, but it has a lot of heart and soul, which is something missing from most big films these days.

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