Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is most certainly “an epic of epic epicness.” I read the original graphic novel (not its sequels…yet, because my library doesn’t own them) in the series of six by Bryan Lee O’Malley, and I was hooked. Much like the comic, maybe even more, you need to be OK with the conceit–your suspension of disbelief (and sense of wondrous adventure) must be set firmly in place. Scott Pilgrim’s world is one of magical realism, seen through the lens of the Nintendo geek, and thus may only be appreciated by those who grew up on NES and SNES. Truly, your inner gamer must be fully engaged to enjoy this film.
Mine was, and I did–thoroughly.
For a long time, I’ve wondered if Michael Cera can escape George Michael Bluth, for he has been typecast as increasingly older, while certainly not more worldly, versions of his breakout character (ironically, he comes up against his Arrested Development girlfriend, Ann Veal, during the course of this film). As much as he can at the moment, I believe that he has moved beyond his stereotype–while in Youth in Revolt he did a passable job of fighting his inner George Michael. Although, the large amount of fighting he does throughout this film may help to obscure those similarities with his television alter-ego.
Scott Pilgrim is pretty much a good for nothing layabout (age 22) who doesn’t work and barely participates in his band, The Sex Bob-ombs. He’s still damaged by his previous relationship, and is dating Knives Chau (a 17-year old who bears one of the best name in comics) who is ga-ga over the fact that he’s in a band. They’re basically dating so he has something to do, but they don’t even hold hands. He meets Ramona Flowers for the first time as she roller-blades through one of his surreal, depressing desert dreams, and he eventually meets her in real life. They slowly and awkwardly begin dating, and in a thinly veiled metaphor for emotional relationship baggage, Scott must face Ramona’s seven evil exes.
He must face them, versus style, on an epic scale, with comic and video-game style physics, with onomatopoeic explosions, excellent one-liners, and in a hilarious, surreal series of settings and atmospheres.
These are studded with “KOs,” points, 1up life power-ups, and when the bad-guys are defeated they turn into coins a la Mario. There is often a comic-frame technique to the visuals, as well as intelligently placed text boxes.
I laughed throughout, was impressed with the imagination and originality which permeates this film. I absolutely enjoyed it, and I’m left wishing that Hollywood would put more things together that are more than mere derivations of what has come before.
This article expounds on the film even more.