Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ten Statements About....SCOTT PILGRIM VERSUS THE WORLD (2010)

Beware Michael Sera's video-game-inspired power!
“Next time, we don't date the girl with eleven evil ex-boyfriends."
“It's seven."
“Oh, well, that's not that bad.”

1) This film has a great, well, texture.  The way director Edgar Wright’s storytelling approximates a video game creates something unique even among comic book movies--namely a movie that looks like a comic book contemporary to the making of this film.  The introductory panels for each character, the way papery graphic sound effects rise from actual sounds, the combat titles, the transitions all help to build the world Wright wants us to dwell in.

2) I know some people didn’t care for Michael Cera, but I think the film needed him as Pilgrim.  Sera has just the right level of insincerity in his performance that it works.  Through his eyes, we understand that Scott is a big dick, which is essential for us to buy into the journey he goes through.

3) You know, I think Elizabeth Winstead is stunning, but her Ramona is, well, a bit of a dick as well, and has less screentime to show any change she may have gone through.  I think that the film needed to give her that to justify the ending it came up with (an ending that was made up before the last issue of the comic came out).

There are so many jokes I could make, but none of them would
paint me in a good light...
4) But what the film really needs to do is more clearly justify and define the story arc for Ellen Wong’s Knives Cho.  Given how she’s treated by Scott in the first act and gets all stalker-y in the second, the argument the film seems to make for her in the third seems so disjointed and strange--and it leads to a denoument at (literally) the film’s end that seems to dispute that third act entirely.  That Wong almost makes it work is a credit to her as an actress.

5) Can I admit to having a slight crush on Allison Pill’s Kim Pine?  Maybe it’s the way she delivers each line with a sort of controlled fury, but she seems to draw the eye with each scene she’s in.

6) One of the things that makes this film work besides its unique look is how much fun so many of these actors, especially those that play Ramona’s seven evil ex’s.  I’m a big believer in the principle that if the people involved are having fun (without breaking the third wall), then that fun will rub off on the viewer, and it works here.
Yeah, it's a Michael Sera film...but don't fight this film's
unique, sugar-coated charms.

7) I really respect the fact that Wright establishes the video game motif of his world extremely quickly, and then sticks to the the rules inherent in such a background.  Hell, the resolution of the third act works only if we buy into his world-as-video-game conceit...and it’s to his credit that the big twist is set up very clearly, yet we might not figure out what went down right away.

8) Every time I see Brandon Routh, I am convinced he needs a bigger career.  His telekinetic (apparently in the world of Scott Pilgrim, veganism gives you super powers) Todd Ingram is one of the highlights of the film, and he makes the most of his screentime.  And apparently Thomas Jane gets to drag him off for violation of the Vegan Code.  And speaking of the Vegan Police....

9)  I do appreciate how, after Wright gives us the prerequisite hyper-kinetic fight scene (because, you know, video game and all), Scott ends up using his head and, in one memorable moment, his musical skills to triumph over each of the exes.  It shows that there are qualities that could raise Scott above his dickishness, and it makes that ultimate rise above his flaws work in that third act.

10) Bless this movie for being shot in Toronto and...being set in Toronto.  Hell, one of the major reasons Ramona becomes an object of desire for desire for Scott is because she’s from the States and, as such, is ‘exotic.’

Overall...this is one of those films, like Speed Racer and Josie And The Pussycats, that will get the following it deserves with distance.  Wright creates a world, sticks to it, and is unafraid to give us an unsympathetic lead (who becomes sympathetic through what he learns from the events of the film), and presents a unique moviegoing experience.  While the ending is a little sour, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a very good film.

1 comment:

  1. I have yet to have seen a film/TV show that Edgar Wright was behind that wasn't at least enjoyable to watch. There's a lot of elements from "Spaced" that he throws in to this movie that add to the gamer aesthetic. Yes, the ending is...uneven, but when you take into consideration that the movie was being filmed before the final book in the series was completed, you have to give props to Wright for making it work as well as it could.