‘We are Sex Bo-bomb!’ screams Kim Pine (Alison Pill), one quarter of the Canadian band that hurtles Scott Pilgrim vs. The World into life.
Scott Pilgrim, following in the footsteps of other comic heroes, makes the transition from page to screen flawlessly mainly due to the directorial prowess of Dorset-born Edgar Wright. Perhaps best known for his work with Simon Pegg on films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Wright has followed Pegg across the pond and has subsequently created Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, an underdog story for the descendants of the MTV generation.
Scott (Michael Cera) resembles most geeky cinema underdogs; he’s unemployed, his band is struggling and he can’t quite seem to get the girl. Why would you want to watch a re-run of such an over-done story? Because, as its posters insists, it is an epic of epic epicness. And just what sets it apart from the array of other teen movies? Well after finding the aloof Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a girl Scott quite literally finds in his dreams, he’s dealt with the task of defeating her seven evil-exes (something she’s insistent he doesn’t mistake for seven evil ex-boyfriends). The film that follows is visually splattered with filmatic, game and cultural references that offers a refreshing new look to the traditional loser story.
The film indulges in computer graphics lifted both from traditional and contemporary games and are sure to make even computer-phobics smile, whether it be the falling of coins every time Scott defeats an evil-ex or the power-ups and extra lives Scott achieves during his battles. Although it embraces the gaming genre, Scott Pilgrim is not a film that ignores its source – Ramona’s comic-styled flashbacks are lifted directly from the books.
Not only do its effects set it apart from most other films, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World doesn’t take itself seriously and doesn’t expect its audience to either, the latter being asked to suspend its disbelief, a task which turns out to be comfortable and rather instantaneous. The film contains the funny one-liners Wright fans will have come to expect from his films whilst the blacking out of Julie’s incessant swearing is comical. The exes themselves are humorous and the actors visibly delight in the film’s light tone. Chris Evans, playing Ramona’s second evil-ex Lucas Lee, seems to relish the opportunity to mock the action hero role. Interestingly his team of stunt men who help him ward off the under-prepared Scott are actually Evans’s real team of stunt men.
In much the same vein, audiences will find it relatively hard to feel sympathy for Scott’s spurned ‘fake high school girlfriend’ Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) as the film is obviously not trying to make any moral statement; Scott recognises his flaws and accepts them instead of allowing himself to wallow. Well, accepts everything apart from the fact that he is in dire need to visit the hairdressers, instead choosing to don a hat every time his shaggy hair is questioned.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World reaffirms that Wright’s abilities are stand-alone and that we can expect more great things from him in the future. The game references and sequences are cleverly applied and never intrude making for a highly enjoyable film that shouldn’t be missed.
Best song; The Sex Bob-Omb songs are both raw and rounded. The soundtrack itself has quite a punk-inspired foundation onto which hormones have been layered. A stand out track would have to be Garbage Truck whilst Crash and the Boys’s ‘I’m Sad So Sad, so Very, Very Sad’ is a ten second stomper.
Best performance; Jason Schwarzman excels in his portrayal of Gideon
Best line; ‘You punched the highlights out of her hair!’
Watch if you enjoyed: Kick Ass, Hot Fuzz
Watch out for Ramona Flowers actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead in The Thing remake – oh and if you wondered just what Scott ordered from Amazon to try and lure Ramona to his house, it was the Blu-Ray edition of Wright’s Hot Fuzz.