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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Review by: 
Captain Cutshaw
Release Date: 
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Edgar Wright
Michael Cena
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Jason Schwartzmen
Ellen Wong
Kieran Culkin
Bottom Line: 
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In many ways I am both the target audience for “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and I am not. Being a fan of Edgar Wright, off beat romances, alternate universe stories, pretty damn thrilling action sequences and dangerously hot redheaded drummers definitely puts me square in the sites of this movie. However, since my Atari 2600 died in the mid ‘80s (I think it committed suicide after trying to play the original Indiana Jones game), I simply have not been a gamer. It’s one of the few areas (coupled with my general disdain of Anime) where my Geek Cred ™ is put into question. This puts me outside of its sites. Then there is Mary Elizabeth Winstead which puts me so in the sites my head explodes as if Barry Pepper was holding the rifle. So how did I react to this flick?

I loved every second of it.

In what has been a disappointing summer, not just for genre movies but movies in general, this is truly something fresh and unique for us to see. You get the wonderful feeling while watching it of “I haven’t seen this movie before”. Are you even able to use both hands when counting the number of times you’ve said that over the last ten years?

From the get go, this movie is fun. Fun with a capital “F”. We pick up right away that the world this movie inhabits is not our own, with the descriptive words of ringing phones & knocking doors floating through the air and the “Pee Bar” appearing to let you know when you are empty to name & description cards flashing on screen as characters are introduced and the sparks coming off the drum set & guitars when the music starts. Yes, this is the world as if video games were real, but frankly, it’s the world we all wish we lived in when we were teenagers through our early 20s. Where everything that happened was the Most Important Thing Ever because it had never happened to us before. We were finally fully self aware and everything was new and colorful. The reds, blues & yellows were brighter, and the grays were overwhelming. When you played music, life exploded, when you saw the girl of your dreams, the world momentarily disappeared and you would be fine if it never returned as long as she stays...right…there, and fighting for her honor is the greatest quest you could ever consider. This isn’t the realm of just video games; it’s the realm of our youth. And Edgar Wright GETS it. For me, this guy is batting three for three right now. He nailed the zombie satire of “Shaun of the Dead” and action movie satire of “Hot Fuzz” and now nails this. It is totally different from those two efforts (beyond not taking place in England or starring Simon Pegg & Nick Frost), but it just “feels” like one of his movies. 

The cast is uniformly excellent. There is definitely a Michael Cera backlash nowadays with folks complaining that he always plays the same character. Well, look at the guy! He’s not going to be playing Batman or the hunky Nicholas Sparks’ romantic lead. And I’m sorry, he does this kind of part really well. Leonardo DiCaprio is always playing a guy who looks like a 15-year-old making “angry face” but that doesn’t seem to make people hate him. Cera is the perfect man for this part and I wish it had happened earlier in his career so people would simply see how good he is in it.

In the original comic, Ramona almost looked like she was drawn to be Mary Elizabeth Winstead. And the part fits her like a glove. I damn near have to recuse myself from reviewing her as my lust is pretty deeply embedded, but she simply is Ramona. What’s weird is, even though her back-story is given a lot of time, especially in relation to her exes, her character doesn’t seem as fully fleshed out as it could have been. That is one of my few complaints with the movie. We are told that her past is what made her the cold, hard-assed semi-bitch we first meet, but through the animated flashbacks, it appears as if she was always that way. Why? Sure, things like that are more fully fleshed out in the comic, but we’re looking at the movie here. It really is a minor complaint, but I simply wanted to know more about Ramona & who she is, what she likes to do, her hobbies & passions (beyond roller blading & coloring her hair), why she would agree to see Scott beyond wanting to try a “nice guy” for a change (as I know that might work for the first date, but not beyond that). Regardless, Mary is wonderful and luminous in the part and I had no problem in understanding how Scott could so fully fall into those eyes.

The rest of the cast is perfect. From all of the Evil Exes, who each had their own unique personality and moment to shine (with the possible exception of the twins, but I still think they were handled beautifully) as well as their own strengths & weaknesses, to all of the people in Scott’s life. Especially Ellen Wong as Knives Chau, Scott’s girlfriend as the story begins. This was really the toughest character to play in the movie. She has the biggest character arch to cover and the toughest tightrope to walk in order for her character to be overwhelmingly passionate & excited but not be annoying so the audience still likes her & feels for her/sees things from her viewpoint throughout the movie. She was rather amazing and I don’t know how anyone else could have played the part better. And Alison Pill (Kim the drummer) should keep that hairstyle for the Rest. Of. Her. Life. No matter what. Freakin’ adorable.

The general marketing for this movie has been abysmal. Basically the ads either make no sense, like the posters with a faceless guy playing the bass with a >shudder< pick, or the trailers which pretty much say “If you haven’t been playing video games since Nintendo’s ‘Duck Hunt’ first came out, this is not the movie for you,” to the feeling many have that if you’re not a young, hipster douchebag…it’s not for you. None of this is the case. If you like exciting, original, fast paced, funny-as-hell, fun flicks with adorable chicks, hot guys and a few nerds here & there, I’m pretty sure you will enjoy this movie.

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