Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Edgar Wright

Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Hader

Synopsis: Isn’t it always the way??   Boy meets girls, gets up the courage to talk to her, they go on a date… and he learns that he must now defeat her seven evil exes before he can truly start the relationship.   Wait, what the???   Based on the series of graphic novels written by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

A review by Film Nerd.

The scuttlebutt on this film had me face adversity (very minor burgeoning cold symptoms) and the blistering cold weather (actually, it was kinda warm, now i think of it), and drag a less than willing (actually, very willing) Bride of Film Nerd to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World after a visit to the bank this morning.  Okay, so the only real problem was that we didn’t go to our regular cinema so we paid through the nose for parking, but I digress.

I had high expectations walking into this film, and started to worry perhaps I should tame them for fear of disappointment.   I needn’t have worried.   From the moment a very pixellated Universal logo came on-screen with the regular audio being replaced with music that would not be out of place on a Commodore 64, I was hooked.   This remained a very kinetic and visually spectacular film throughout, so much so that the severest case of ADHD could easily be soothed in its 112 minute running time.   On top of this, it was as funny as all hell.

That said, I consider myself squarely in the target audience for this film, having grown up in the era of Mario, Sonic, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.   Each of these defining console games was affectionately references, often with humourous results.   Despite being rated M here, this is also a hero film you can take your kids too, as all the violence was very cartoon like, and with villains being dispatched in a cloud of coins.  In fact, it is more evidence that the Australian classification system is a joke, as this got a PG rating in the states, and a G rating in Canada.   I have the most accurate violence barometer sitting next to me in the cinema, and the only flinching she made on this occasion was struggling to breathe at times from laughter.

It is a fittingly quirky film from the director who brought us both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.   This is his first big budget American film, and I am delighted to say the budget only gave extra scope for his imagination rather than proving an odious burden, as it has so often done for lesser director’s in the past.   He is supported by a brilliant cast.   Cera’s Scott Pilgrim starts the film in the classic nerd role we know this actor so well for, but he actually kick’s arse when he gets to the battle scenes.   This is refreshing to see from him, and hopefully it is the start of him expanding out from the persona he has developed since Arrested Development.   Winstead plays love interest and source of everyone’s affection, Ramona Flowers.   I think we can expect a lot from this young actress, who has now impressed me for the third time, the first two times being John McClane’s daughter in Die Hard 4.0, and in Tarantino’s half of the under-rated Grind House, Death Proof.   Despite her loud and often changing hair, her performance is one of subtle nuance, perfect for the girl of mystery.   Pilgrim’s friends are a real treat, and given enough screen time each to exhibit their own eccentricities.  Leaving room for the seven evil exes to smirk and chew their way through scenery, from Evan’s movie actor Lucas Lee with numerous stunt doubles, and swooning opportunities for my partner in crime, to Schwartzman’s big bad, Record Label producer Gideon.

Which brings me to the other star of the film… the music.   Pilgrim is the bassist of band Sex Bob-Omb.   Artists such as Beck, and Canadian bands Metric and Broken Social Scene have each individually contributed music for the various competing bands, resulting in an incredibly cool soundtrack.   In fact, Australian Empire informs me that the soundtrack is “such an embarrassment of riches that it’s being released on two CDs”.   I was keen to buy said soundtrack after the ending credits finished rolling, but I am informed I will have to wait until it is released on September 7.

I highly recommend this film first to those that grew up with any gaming console 16-bit or less, second to great music fans, and third to fans of comedy in general.   It is hands down the funniest comedy released so far this year, taking the crown previously held by Date Night, wearing it to obtain increased strength and dexterity, then blowing all other competition away in a flurry of high kicks and sword play.   Now if that doesn’t get you excited, or if you are prone to epilepsy, stay away.   Everyone else, enjoy the ride.   Game on!

4 stars (out of a possible 5)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on IMDB

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

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