Sunday, August 15, 2010

Review of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World


The summer of 2010 hasn't been a great year for movies. If you're a smart person who loves his movies, you'll be smart enough to avoid summer movies like The Karate Kid, Grown Ups, The A-Team, Twilight: Eclipse which happens to be so overrated, and the list would go on. Sadly, the only movies available to watch which happens to be really awesome are Toy Story 3 and Inception. But here's a movie that will be part of the closing ceremony of Summer 2010: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Meet Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera). He's a Canadian loser/slacker/wanker who lives with his gay roomate in a small storage area in Toronto and plays bass in a small band called Sex Bo-omb. Pilgrim's fallen in love with a 17 year old Chinese girl named Knives (Ellen Wong) until he finally sees the girl of his dreams (literally). A girl who dyes her hair every weekend named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and he does really stupid things to get with her. All that worked well, but in a bizzare situation and a plot that directly follows the plot of Kill Bill, Pilgrim must defeat her seven ex-boyfriends or in this case her Seven Evil Exes. He must do so in order for him and Ramona to continue dating or he'll get his ass kicked.

Scott Pilgrim is a mish-mash of genres. From comic book movie to teen movie to sci-fi to kung fu. The list goes on and on and it is a huge mash up. The last time I watched a mash up of genres was Kick Ass which was a teen/slasher/superhero flick. But like Kick Ass, Scott Pilgrim is unintendedly the most divided movie in here. If you're like  Richard Wilkins who is not a T-meter critic or like every conservative, they'll say it's messed up and is like a movie for a video game. If you're any critic against them, you'll say the same thing but explains the creativity of the movie.

Scott Pilgrim is niched for a teenage audience because it's almost a crazy, unconventional but yet visual experience to watch. You get massive onomatopoeia like "Wham", "Whoosh" and "Thonk" to make itself thinking that it's a comic book on a big screen. Most of the dialogue involves teenage issues and it's hilarious like how they bleeped profanity from the mouths of people.

It is almost an awesome thing to see that it is a video game even though it didn't came from a video game. There are many references from the music from Zelda to the way they start off the battle between Pilgrim and the ex, excellently choreographed with the Street Fighter/Tekken video games. One obvious reference is how one part of a scene is at least 8-bit. Besides with all that referencing, Scott Pigrim is basically a pop culture sandwich. Video games, TV all of them squished together to make that film. Didn't I mention there is a lot of product placement?

The plot unfortunately is so repetitive. It goes into this samesy pattern - Scott does something stupid, he faces an evil ex, Scott does something inappropriate, he faces another evil ex. However one highlight I actually was impressed was the music that makes the movie look real. Not the soundtrack but the score. Interestingly it is composed by Nigel Godrich who is producer and "sixth" member of one my favourite bands Radiohead and is really impressive.

Michael Cera is actually splendid as the title character who would go on to be the reluctant hero but part of his personality will be disliked by others. Much of his character is like the Tony Stark personality from Iron Man. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is also pleasent as Ramona Flowers. Wasn't impressed with Ellen Wong though, she's so sweet at the beginning but then turned out creepy.

It's a shame that this movie lacks chemistry between Scott and Ramona. Comic book movies have a lot of action. I mean amazing. But when it comes to the characters filmmakers usually have that character part of their brain switched off. I mean there's something so good happening between the two characters (Scott and Ramona) and it's interrupted by a crazy-out-of-his-mind character coming to Scott and they have to fight, it lost much of the screentime for that storyline.

However the best performances in Scott Pilgrim is almost the supporting cast. Kieran Culkin who is Mackaulay Culkin's brother and plays Pilgrim's gay roomate steals every scene with Cera each time he sleeps or make out with a guy. Anna Kendrick who returns from the horrible Twilight: Eclipse steals her scenes as Pilgrim's disapproving sister. But she plays the same person as that sweet, politically correct yet bitchy girl she played in Up In The Air, which you might of course knew the movie that nominated her for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. But one person who steals every scene is Aubrey Plaza who, like Kendrick, plays an angry girl hating Pilgrim. I have to sit there thinking to myself: "Are teenage yet smart girls really so angry?"

Scott Pilgrim is almost epic, but it's not much that I would enjoy.

 Verdict: Scott Pilgrim wins this round!

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