Friday, September 17, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Hi there, ever'body! It is I, the Younger Brother, here to guest-blog every once in a while. You will, of course, excuse me as I get used to the medium.

Let's talk about Scott Pilgrim vs The World! Here's the plot you probably had in mind from the trailers: Scott Pilgrim, a twenty-something slacker in a band, spots the lovely Ramona Flowers at a party and pursues her! But if they are going to continue dating, Scott will have to defeat Ramona's Seven Evil Ex's. And that's all you really need to know! Also, it happens in Canada. Also, it's an adaptation of a 6-book series written by Bryan Lee O'Malley. And it's directed by Edgar Wright, the man who brought you Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, and Spaced (but not in that order).

If you ended up in the theater on the advice or kidnapping of friends without having seen the trailers or any other kind of preparation, the Universal Studios logo appearing as an 8-bit render, with an 8-bit fanfare, goes a long way towards shaping your expectations: this is a movie for the first generation to grow up with video games.

Scott's confrontations with the League of Evil Ex's are heavily informed by arcade fighting games, visually reproducing the "Vs" screen, continuous hit & combo counters, reversals, and including the awesome "K.O.!" announcement that we all know and love. On top of that, the Evil Ex's respond in defeat in a way that will be familiar to anyone who's ever jumped up to punch a floating block with "?" printed on it.

I'll be honest with you. I watched the trailer because I heard it was Edgar Wright. And then I read the series because I watched the trailer. And between those three (trailer, director, series), I was pretty certain I was going to love this movie. And I do.

I love the fight scenes with the Evil Ex's, especially the choreography, and especially the choreography for Evil Ex #4. I enjoyed the acting, both from the Evil Ex's, and from Scott & the people in his life - to call them Scott's supporting cast is accurate, but if you read the comics, you'll get a better sense that these people all have full & complete lives outside of what's happening with Scott Pilgrim.

If there was anything that didn't sit well with me, it's that Scott & Ramona's romance doesn't get enough time to develop properly, and by the end, you kind of feel like maybe Scott & Ramona don't quite belong together. The other bit is that the movie starts to feel like it's gone on a bit too long: there ARE 7 evil ex's we have to get through and still get the girl, after all. There's a little too much material for one film, and not quite enough for two.

Minor quibbles, easily overcome by the Epic Epicness of the film. It's true, Scott Pilgrim vs The World isn't for everyone, but if you tried to get Mario to jump farther on your NES by leaning your whole body & the controller to the side & almost falling off the couch, you'll "get" this movie. Laughs all around!

~Rambling Little Brother

PS: If you liked the movie, read the book!

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