Synopsis: In order to date the girl of his dreams Scott Pilgrim must first defeat her 7 evil exes.
Release Date: August 13, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Comedy
Warning: Review written by an impartial party who has absolutely no connection to said material. Pilgrim lovers beware.
The amount of potential found in the first 45 minutes of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is immense. It is unique in its delivery, through editing, and with the special effects, and you immediately gravitate towards every character. Scott’s plight in life, that of being a loser, is relatable. His slacker status not entirely pathetic but more comedic as we learn more about him. Then we meet Ramona V. Flowers and our excitement is raised even more so.
The first battles with the exes are incredible. The humor immense as Scott wanders through his world barely completing a full thought. The term “ADD generation” comes to mind. We accept all of this because it is creative and natural in an unnatural sense. The viewer easily adapts to the choppiness of the editing, the random thoughts, and experiences that are never fully answered or built upon.
You even start to enjoy this deviation from the norm. Throw in the direct references to the anime style of the books through square frames and on-screen written dialogue blurbs and suddenly you are seeing things differently. About now the halfway point hits and slowly things start to unravel and never come back together. It is a sad thing to witness.
The entire film is based on the six books of the Scott Pilgrim series. That said, a great deal of material is being covered in a short amount of time. The majority of the film is dedicated to the first and final books of the series. What is overlooked completely is Scott’s journey into manhood in order to feel worthy of Ramona and most importantly, his relationship with Ramona. He is risking his life to defeat her evil exes but as a viewer, we have no idea why.
Ramona’s character is devoid of any personality. She is as bland as can be and if not for her brightly colored, constantly changing, hair color she would blend into the background and be forgotten each time she appears on screen. Fighting for her comes across as just another pointless activity for Scott to participate in order to keep his pathetic, loser existence intact. You desire to learn more about what makes her so special. Without this, the culmination of fights with the exes grows tired regardless of the grand special effects they possess or for the most part interesting characters.
There comes a point where you start noticing the background activity more than the foreground – and it is more interesting. The film lacks substance from its main plot point, the romance between Scott and Ramona. Without this, it becomes a mere action movie with a video game language all its own. But no matter how many ‘1ups’ make you chuckle or the unmistakable familiar sounds of a hand to hand combat game nothing prepares you for the let down of never successfully establishing relationships.
By the end, you do not care what happens to Scott Pilgrim, or if he defeats the final ex and wins Ramona’s heart. All you want is to leave them to their on-screen existence and get back to your own world.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World ends up in the land of a niche audience. Fans will be able to admit the flaws in the adaptation but still come out praising the film. Those unfamiliar will be left wondering why the high level of excitement existed for the film in the first place.
Variety is a great thing and the characters in this film are incredibly different. This is what makes the movie watchable even when it begins to wane on your patience. You are bombarded with so many characters it becomes difficult at times to focus on just one. A very positive predicament, as it enables the viewer to be in a constant state of new awakenings as each one is introduced. The main character, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), is a mixture of geeky teen and a twenty-something loser.
He has no real redeeming qualities as a boyfriend but his sweet demeanor and complete ineptness at dealing with relationships or his own life is portrayed spot on by Cera. You like Scott, if not for the one simple fact that he is nothing without those who surround him, yet he finds it in himself to become extraordinary in battle. His love interest, she is another story altogether because quite frankly, she is nothing.
One cannot fault the performance of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona since the material just is not there to give her the range one would desire. In a strange twist, the girl Scott is not supposed to be with ends up being the one with much more personality, likability, and a real character arc, in a teeny bopper kind of way – Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). Wong easily develops the character from a shy, teenage girl to out of sorts crazy groupie to a street fighter (pun intended).
Wong’s Knives does what should not be done in a romance, she makes the viewer wish she got the guy when it is obvious he is meant for someone else, per the story. Knives is memorable thanks to Ellen Wong and a bright moment in an otherwise bleak film for lead female character’s.
It appears that all of the great material went to the supporting cast. The gay roommate of Scott’s, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin), steals every scene he appears in. His revolving bed shenanigans are hilarious, as is his ability to text or post in his sleep. Not to mention the perfect tone in which he delivers each and every line. I could not help but wish he was the main character as I would happily watch him for hours.
The first four evil exes draw out the excitement in the film. Brandon Routh as the super strong vegan Todd Ingram provides many a laugh while Chris Evans as Lucas Lee pulls off the lame action hero bit a little too well. Roxy Richter (Mae Whitman) is the only female ex but she may be the most memorable. The amount of angry, bitter passion she exudes is exhilarating. She can also swing a mean chain belt when battling it out with Scott and Ramona. Each evil ex has their time to shine and be remembered. It is only up to you whom you choose as your favorite and take away the greatest amount of humor and excitement from.
There is only one character I loathed; and not because we are meant to loathe him. The final evil ex, the mastermind behind the entire game, is Gideon Gordon Graves (Jason Schwartzman). (It is not our policy at FilmFracture to in any way let other films or character’s actors have played in the past play a part in the reviewing of a film. We keep things separate. I am breaking the rules today because I must.)
Jason Schwartzman does nothing with Gideon that he has not done time and time again with every character he has played. His range is questionable as after watching yet another performance of him as Jason Schwartzman I do not think he can play any other character. The character Gideon is a tremendous part of the climax of this film and the minute we are introduced to him all you want to do is sigh at the huge disappointment he ends up being. To see practically every other character cast perfectly and then this, it is an error of grand proportions.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Edgar Wright
- Screenwriter(s): Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Ramona V. Flowers), Kieran Culkin (Wallace Wells), Chris Evans (Lucas Lee), Anna Kendrick (Stacey Pilgrim), Brandon Routh (Todd Ingram), Alison Pill (Kim Pine), Jason Schwartzman (Gideon Gordon Graves), Ellen Wong (Knives Chau), Satya Bhanha (Matthew Patel), Mark Webber (Stephen Stills)
- Editor(s): Jonathan Amos
- Cinematographer: Paul Machliss
- Production Designer(s): BlueBolt
- Music Score: Nigel Godrich
- Country Of Origin: USA