Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review - Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim is a 23 year-old bass player in a small indie band called Sex Bob-Omb. When Scott begins to see a girl in his dreams and then later meets her, he instantly becomes infatuated with the girl named Ramona Flowers. Soon after asking Ramona on a date, Scott is faced with the test of defeating her seven evil exes in order to find his true happiness and keep the girl of his dreams.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" is everything I could have wanted and nothing I would have expected. The romantic comedy is a sensory overload in the best way possible. It is like nothing I have ever seen but a combination of everything I love. The film is an enigma, one that forges entirely new ground in the realm of romance and coming of age.

Director Edgar Wright takes Bryan Lee O'Malley's magna comic and turns it into a live-action cornucopia of pop culture. The video game aspect of the film alone could warrant it's own review. Absolutely brilliant and innovative ideas put into a format some may have never thought imaginable. Stuff that hits home to an entire subculture of people. Sure Hollywood has made video games into movies, but never have you seen video games become the movie.

The entire post production staff from special and visual effects to sound and editing deserve highest marks. What is done in post on this film is applaudable. Not just applaudable but standing ovation material. Brilliance that will be watched repeatedly and studied. It is hard to put into words just what is displayed throughout 'Scott Pilgrim' or more so, must be seen for itself. In every way, 'Scott Pilgrim' blows the viewer away. A perfect example of this comes during Scott's battle between him and evil ex number 5 and 6. Absurd, insane and absolutely brilliant.

One gigantic aspect of O'Malley's original 6 volume comic is the band that Scott Pilgrim is in called Sex Bob-Omb. In the comic we never hear the band play. No music is ever put to them, but the 112 minute adventure directed by Edgar Wright changes all that. Thankfully, Wright went out and got some of the best people possible for the music within "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." Nigel Godrich's original score is a brain-melting masterpiece. His score is a major contributor to making 'Scott Pilgrim' such a one-of-a-kind experience. As for Sex Bob-Omb and the other band, Clash at Demonhead, Beck and the Metric provide perfect musical counterparts to the bands O'Malley fans have been reading in the comics for years.

As you know Scott Pilgrim is assigned the task of defeating Ramona's seven evil exes. That means there is gonna be some fighting. Having that many battles with an actor that previously hasn't done any fighting could seem like a massive stretch. Yes, I'm talking about Michael Cera. Those reservations are ill formed because Michael Cera pulls off all the fighting without a hitch. Helps that he and the rest of the cast had fight coordinator Peng Zhang and stunt coordinator Bradley James Allen who both have a illustrious host of films under their belts. Cinematographer Bill Pope also deserves a ton of credit for bringing such a sleek look to 'Pilgrim.' His cinematography grabs a hold of you and doesn't let go till the credits roll.

The entire cast to "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" is pretty incredible. There really is not one performance I didn't like. There are however a few character flaws I will touch on, but more on that later, this is suppose to be about the actors. Michael Cera is infallible as Scott Pilgrim. I really love seeing Cera break ranks on his recent typecast portraying a more confident and less whimsical character. He carries the movie and leaves you wanting to watch again and again.

Cera has always been spot on with his comedic timing and nothings changed here. He does a fabulous job sharing the screen with the rest of the cast. Particularly his band, Sex Bob-Omb. All of the scenes between the band are a riot. Mark Webber who plays guitar player Stephen Stills and Alison Pill who plays drummer Kim Pine are terrific. Another outstanding dynamic is the chemistry between Scott and his gay roommate Wallace Wells played by Kieran Culkin. This is where some praise must be given to everyone involved in scripting "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." Edgar Wright, Michael Bacall and Bryan Lee O'Malley penned some engaging and laugh-out-loud dialogue and scenarios. All of the dialogue feels natural, topical and most importantly fluid.

All of the evil exes are hysterical. Both the characters and the performances are magical. Jason Schwartzman, Brandon Routh and Chris Evans however end up remaining the most memorable. Schwartzman once again delivers a perfectly snide performance that is both charming and revolting as Gideon Gordon Graves. As for Routh and Evans, their scenes are side-splitting as well, but the biggest kick here is seeing Michael Cera kick the crap out of Superman and the Human Torch (soon to be Captain America).

The one area the film takes a bit of a dip is in the romantic interest of Ramona Flowers. She is the girl of Scott's dreams, but in the film she is a bore. That doesn't mean Mary Elisabeth Winstead isn't adorable in the role, because she is, but her character is extremely flat. You may be left wondering why Scott is so obsessed with her. In the comic their relationship is far more fleshed out. Ramona and Scott date for a lengthy period of time and we get to know the characters far better. In Wright's film however, the relationship remains in the infancy stage, moving forward at a rapid rate. Their may be some disconnect with movie goers who have not read the comic and Ramona, but remind yourself this is the girl of Scott's dreams, not yours. Love is a whacky thing and trying to define why one person falls for another just may end up pulling you out of the experience.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" is very much an experience. It has so much happening and puts it all together in such a first-rate form. The film is appealing on so many levels. Whether it be a comedy, a romance, a adventure, a musical or an action, the movie just comes together brilliantly. I've always been a big fan of Edgar Wright, but I never thought he was capable of pulling off this epic of a movie. And when I say epic, I mean epic, 'Scott Pilgrim' is a game changer.