Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Bassist, gamer and unlikely lathario, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is sleepwalking through his twenty-something life when he spots the red-haired Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) across a sandy dreamscape. Waking up to find that she delivers for Amazon, Scott initiates a meeting and asks her out on a date, facing increasing pressure from his gay room-mate (Kieran Culkin), disapproving sister (Anna Kendrick) and assorted bandmates – guitarist Stephen Stills (Mark Webber), drummer Kim Pine (Alison Pill) and groupie Young Neil (Johnny Simmons) – to end his platonic relationship with Chinese school-girl Knives Chow (Ellen Wong).  Before he can achieve his endgame, however, Scott must battle Romana’s seven evil exes without inadvertently becoming one himself.

With the exception of DreamWorks’ outstanding How To Train Your Dragon, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was my favourite film of 2010. Every so often a film comes along which appears to define a generation – whether it’s Casablanca, Star Wars or Clerks – tapping into the Zeitgeist and paying homage to the mediums that have shaped not only its filmmakers, but the majority of the audience too. The finished product is so packed with sentiment, so compellingly dynamic and lovingly crafted that it really is the go-to movie for validation of a disaffected youth.

Ostensibly a musical with its numbers replaced with mortal combat, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World attempts to relate the loserish life of Scott Pilgrim against a backdrop of pixellated nostalgia and big budget bombast. The characterisation is note-perfect, as our protagonist’s social life is populated with sympathetic ex-girlfriends, ambitious bandmates and a gay room-mate who just wants his flat back to himself. Enter Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Ramona Flowers, the one woman who might be able to offset Scott’s hyper-real insecurities with her relative soliditiy, her own individuality manifest in an ever-changing hair colour rather than a self-obsessive and alienating selfishness.

Considering just how many characters comprise the film’s ensemble, it really is remarkable how memorable the majority prove. While the actor’s are largely responsible for this – with Kieran Culkin and Ellen Wong proving particular highlights – it is Edgar Wright’s embrace of creator Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six volume graphic novel that gives each character the chance to shine. From the evil exes themselves to Aubrey Plaza grumpy Julie Powers, each supporting role is so well-drawn, so well-written and so strangely recognisable that Pilgrim’s Toronto, Canada, is brought to life with so much care and insight that it could be set anywhere at all.

But there is more to Edgar Wright’s movie than just fun characters. Viewed through Scott’s eyes,  the film exists in a world as computerised as it is cinematic. Boasting dialogue so stylised as to suggests Toronto might be twinned with Sunnydale, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is one of the most infectiously organic films you are ever likely to see. From the surrealist editing to the desert-like inter-dimensional highway, the film pelts along at a truly riveting pace, from the massive themed fight sequences to the comparatively intimate interactions between bandmates and lovers.

Ultimately, however, it is the dressings as much as the whole that marks Scott Pilgrim vs. The World as our film: the references to such iconic video games as Street Fighter and Super Mario, the comic book stylistics that erupt from ringing phones or strummed guitars, and the thrilling soundtrack that is every bit the match for the attention-deficit visuals and frantic pace. Witty, touching and brimming with originality, Scott Pilgrim is the perfect hybridisation of influences that have inspired a generation.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

  1. Pingback: My 10 favourite movies of the year. « popcornaddict

  2. Pingback: #MTOS Sunday March 31st – Video Game Movies | popcornaddict

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