By Sean Harris ’11
Within the first minute, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” proves it won’t be like any other movie.
The Universal logo appears, but pixilated, and a retro NES version of the theme starts to play.
This was the best way to introduce this alternate universe, where video-game logic reigns supreme, and the characters who inhabit it settle their differences by breaking into duels. The loser gets turned into a pile of coins.
If this idea is too weird to comprehend, the movie is just getting started.
Directed by Edgar Wright, who also directed “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” and based off of a comic book series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, “Scott Pilgrim” is an absurd, creative and fun fantasy/romance/comedy/action hybrid that embraces all the things most audiences will find strange and displays them proudly.
This is not a movie for everyone, but for those who enjoy it’s video game similarities, “Scott Pilgrim” will be a real gem.
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) could be described as a slacker, rocker, Canadian and a hopeless romantic. At the beginning of the film all of his friends are criticizing him for dating a naïve 17-year-old girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong).
It soon becomes apparent that Scott is just using Knives to help him get over his last girlfriend, Envy Adams (Brie Larson), who broke Scott’s heart in a particularly nasty breakup.
While nothing in this film’s alternate reality could be described as usual, things take a turn for the bizarre when Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha) bursts through the roof during Scott’s musical gig and demands they fight to the death over Ramona.
Ramona later tells Scott he will have to defeat her seven evil-exes if they want to continue dating and that Scott will have to decide if love is worth fighting for.
A definite advantage of “Scott Pilgrim” would be its style. At the conclusion of every battle, Scott earns points that flash on screen. Onomatopoeias are everywhere, and when Scott’s band plays, visible sound waves surround their bodies.
The battles themselves are very stylized and ridiculous to the point of being awesome. It is definitely something that needs to be seen to be believed.
The characters of the movie all speak in short, to-the-point blurbs, something that is used to enhance the immersion into this world and the dialogue can be hilarious at times.
One of the more interesting elements to this movie is the character of Scott Pilgrim.
He is far from a champion at the beginning of the film, shamelessly cheating on an enamored high school girl because he doesn’t want to face the awkwardness of the break-up.
In a deeper meaning, the battles are less about the prize of Ramona and more about Scott getting over his own character flaws.
The movie can occasionally get too quirky for its own good, and the staggering amount of material that needs to be addressed was split into six full volumes in comic book form.
Here, Wright is given just two hours, and it shows at times, often groaning under its own weight. However, Wright knew exactly what to trim and what to keep; he adapted a series for a two-hour movie. Take notes M. Night Shyamalan.
Extra praise may be needed here; some superhero movies struggle with juggling three villains and doing them justice. Here there are seven, and all of them are given their moments in the sun.
I could go on praising this movie. I haven’t touched on the great acting, and the likeable characters. It seems pointless though as I feel that I’m in the minority of people that will truly embrace this film.
What Wright has created is a unique film that has not been seen before and likely will not be seen again for a very long time. Audiences should try to embrace it and they may find themselves pleasantly surprised.
4 out of 5 horseshoes