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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

A 2010 American action comedy film directed by Edgar Wright based on the comic book series Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley.

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A New Benchmark for Creative Energy in Film

  • Sep 25, 2010
Every now and again there’s a film that makes me love being a film geek. Whether it’s the ageless wonder of the science fiction classic Back to the Future or even new classics that call back to the old days of crime capers like The Brothers Bloom, sometimes it’s simply easy to love film. Thankfully, Edgar Wright’s newest film is not only one of the finest examples of the idea, but also a hysterically original adventure that proved to be irreverently entertaining. The film takes place Toronto, Canada, where 23 year old Scott Pilgrim is pretty well content living the life of playing in the band “Sex Bomb-Omb” and dating a girl in high school. Soon there after Scott begins a secret affair with the mysterious Ramona Flowers, and reluctantly initiates a series of battles with her seven evil exes, Matthew Patel, Lucas Lee, Todd Ingram, Roxy Richter, The Katayanugi Twins, and Gideon Graves. Over the past decade Wright has made his name on the comedic genius of the duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost from their work in both Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, and I was really interested to see Wright involve himself with a different cast that was mostly not British like himself. Whenever I first started recommending the film after I saw it, one of the first questions I was asked was “Is Michael Cera still playing Michael Cera?” I personally have always liked Cera’s work, and I’ve always thought Cera’s playing different characters each time, but he as a person comes off in a certain way. As Scott Pilgrim though in the lead role, Cera plays the naive nature of the character almost perfectly. Matthew Patel, Jason Schwartzman, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, the Saito Brothers, and Mae Whitman all play their “Evil Ex” characters delightfully over the top and bring personality to each one. It feels like it was each of their own dreams to play a bad guy in a movie some day, and their performances are pure wish fulfillment, which is a sheer joy. Both Routh and Evans seemed to have the most fun bringing their characters to life in some of the best comedic scenes in the film, and had some standout lines. On Scott’s side of the fence was another fierce batch of acting talent. Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) got some girlish squeals of laughter from me in how dark and brooding her character could be at times and how Wright played with that, and I continue to love Anna Kendrick, even as she plays a completely different character from her amazing role in Up in the Air, as Scott’s sister. Marc Webber, Johny Simmons, and Erik Knudsen have some fine moments of comedic glory, but both Ellen Wong as Knives Chau and Allison Pill as Sex Bomb Omb’s Drummer brought the heat in some brilliantly comedic moments in the film. Keiran Culkan also killed as Scott’s homosexual roommate, interjecting great lines at the beginning of Evil Ex fights and playing perfect deadpan off of Scott. In case you couldn’t tell from the trailers or TV spots, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has a visual style all its own. In case you haven’t seen the videos and have no clue what I’m talking about, phones literally go “ring”, punches are visibly seen with words like “smack” and “crash”, and there are video game and television references galore like a constant callback to Street Fighter during each of the fights, and a couple of references to television shows like Seinfeld. The callbacks and incorporation of it into the film as a structure of story transcends the idea of a gimmick and brings the film onto its own playing field. The visual style of the film is nothing like you’ve ever seen before, and the film never uses it as a crutch, but uses it to enhance their storytelling, taking a film with a lot of heart and making it twice as cool. Other directors would ignore the core story there in favor of the visual flourishes, but with Wright style comes second, and gets as much attention as the already blooming tale being told. Just like Gondry with Eternal Sunshine, the main focus has to be the love story here, if that fails, so does everything else. Tons of attention goes into making the love story between Scott and Ramona feel believable, and the same goes for making his relationships with his friends and family strong but at the same time gut-bustingly funny. The film doesn’t just use the visual pizazz to strengthen it’s story, it also uses it in a variety of dream sequences with some throwaway gags and some truly unique jokes. I won’t spoil any, but there are some great laughs to be had when Edgar Wright stretches his brain skin. The visual style of the film hooked me from the get go, after the opening credits I turned to my friend and said “I already love this movie”. Thanks to the quick nature of the references and the already quick style that comes with making a video game-like film, the film moves at a hyper speed from scene to scene and character line to character line.I loved this about the film even though it was disorienting at times, and I can’t wait to check back in with multiple viewings to see all there was to see. That being said, some of the more geriatric viewing audience may fairly use this to hate the film, and that’s understandable. The movie moves quick with bright colors, quick lines, and quick edits, and while some may not be, I certainly am the perfect audience for the film. Although I was all for the quick and fantastical, over-the-top feel for the movie, there were a few moments that broke the illusion for me. There were a few moments in the film that just came off as “odd” to me when it came to some of the dream sequences and a moment or two from some of the fights. It felt just a tad bit out of tone. Moving on, the film scored some major points with me, being a major action film geek, by delivering on the high expecations when it came to the action. One of, if not my favorite action scene of all time comes from 2007′s Hot Fuzz where Simon Pegg takes on a town of elderly people with shotguns and rifles, and the entire thing is choreographed beautifully. The fight scenes never quite achieve that level of action magnitude (and being fair, Hot Fuzz never achieved this creative level), but they are entirely their own creation. Each fight scene has its own vibe and taste, sending Scott into a different situation and type of fight, whether it’s hand to hand, fireballs, or tricking the Evil Ex into submission. However, Wright proves his ability as a director by filming the fights impeccably, giving us a great view of the action. It would have been great alone if they had just done the same action scenes over and over, but the way he interjects his style and humor into the fights is un-matched in today’s club of filmmakers. It’s also evident a lifetime and a half went into the music work for the film. All of the times Sex Bomb-Omb gets to perform had me tapping my foot as the band was genuinely great and had a unique sound to them, and other musicians like Brie Larson get to perform. Who can forget also that songs by classic bands like The Rolling Stones are thrown in for good measure, and the score for the film is suitably hypnotic. In case you’re still wondering if I loved Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the answer is an enthusiastic “yes”. Not enough people saw this film last weekend as it was totally released on the wrong weekend only scoring $10 million of its $60-$90 million budget. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out though, the film is an absolute blast and is determined to be a cult classic. The movie is bursting with ambition and brilliance in both its comedic references and gorgeous action that manages to use the video game style to its own benefit. Also, who can forget there’s a great love story there too. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a film made for our generation of technology, video games and film. One reviewer put it best when he stated that it’s a teen film that defines our generation, and I couldn’t agree more. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is one of the most original films I’ve seen in quite a long time, it’s a love letter to this generation, hand-crafted by this generation, and tells a story we can all appreciate in a bold, new, and daring way unlike any we’ve ever seen. This is just like a number of films, telling the classic story of boy meets girl, boy must defeat seven evil exes. It’s a classic, right?

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September 26, 2010
Nice review! I will feature this for sure. Hey, you may want to adit the review and re-establish some paragraphs, I think when you transferred your review from its source, the settings somehow changed due to the site's format. Thanks for the review!
More Scott Pilgrim vs. the World reviews
review by . August 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Let THE EX-BATTLES Begin in This Zany, Bizarre, Action-Packed Romantic Comedy!
We’ve all had nightmares about our girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends; some make us feel insecure, some make us feel proud while some…well, makes us forget about the whole thing. But hopefully, none of us have experienced being assaulted by the hordes of ex-boyfriends of the person we are dating. Well, those who are familiar with the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley may still have a hard time preparing for the film adaptation “SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD”. …
review by . June 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
After 16 years of slamming Hollywood studios for never getting our video game movies right, we finally have one that gets it exactly right. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a video game movie, even though it doesn't have a basis in any actual video games.     Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is more of a visual and cultural tribute to video games than anything. Every other element of the movie, including the plot, takes a backseat to the list of power bars, status updates, and special …
review by . December 12, 2010
In terms of actors today, Michael Cera is kind of overrated. He plays the same character in every single movie he's in: the awkward, geeky teen who's either anxious to lose his virginity or just be generally geeky. That doesn't mean that every once in a while, he can turn in a good performance, and Scott Pilgrim is definitely one of them. This is an incredibly awesome movie, and epic of epic epicness indeed. It's also kind of hard to put into words unless the person you're talking …
review by . January 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
This movie grabs your attention from the display of the Universal Logo.  The Universal theme music is like  the sound of an old video game.   Scott Pilgrim seems to drift from dream to reality and the scenes rapidly shift with written text to explain who the various characters are.       Scott is in a band with an ex-girlfriend and two other friends.  He lets them know that he is dating Knives, a 17 year old Chinese girl.  Everybody seems against …
review by . May 02, 2011
Scott Pilgrim. This has got to be one of the funniest, most creative, most interesting, most entertaining movies I have seen in a while. I could probably think of many more adjectives to describe this wonderful film, but I'm afraid that you'll have to make do with this review. From the minute I saw the opening logo for this movie I knew it was going to be something special and when I finally saw this in theatres, I was not disappointed. It does have its problems, but it will most certainly …
review by . March 16, 2011
I saw this movie on my friend's birthday. We talked it over and were picking between this, The Other Guys, and Vampires Suck. I'm so glad we picked this. Scott Pilgrim encapsulated the idle young adult generation so perfectly that I have no choice but to give this a 100%. Hell, if I hadn't seen Kick-Ass, How To Train Your Dragon, or any of the oscar bait movies, Scott Pilgrim easily could have taken the number one spot. This truly got robbed at the box office and I only hope its doing …
review by . August 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Scott Pilgrim Saved my World
SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD   Written by Michael Baccall and Edgar Wright   Directed by Edgar Wright   Starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick and Mary Elizabeth Winstead      Stacey Pilgrim: Are you legitimately moving on or are you just being insane?   Scott Pilgrim: Can I get back to you on that?      By the time you reach a certain age, if you’ve tried at all to make connections with other human …
review by . August 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Just imagine for a second that your life is a video game.  One where the potential exist for you to beat up bad guys, live each new day of your life as though it were a level where you score points, get extra lives and pull off amazing stunts because you simply can.  This is exactly what Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is.  A movie that turns the life of one young man into a video game.  It's zany, it's over-the-top but it's a lot of fun.  If you don't like Scott …
review by . August 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Scott Pilgrim ROCKED my 8-bit world!
I heard about the Scott Pilgrim movie about 2ish years ago and my response was: No... no way.  How can they even begin to capture the pure epic awesomeness of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic book series Scott Pilgrim compressed into one movie?  It can't be done.  Wait?...  What is this you say ... Michael Cera's going to play Scott Pilgrim?  The cutie pie guy that fans the flames for geek girls everywhere?  Well that changes everything.      …
review by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Spoiler-Free Sneak Preview: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
One of my projects is watching Rotten Tomatoes' list of the worst movies of the last decade and, in doing so, I've pontificated at length on the misery that is movies based on video games. To recap: there are a bunch on the list, many are directed by Uwe Boll (perhaps the worst director of all time), the most critically-acclaimed video game movie ever is the not-so-great Mortal Kombat. Video game movies usually take themselves too seriously and fail by having to stick to story lines that …
About the reviewer
Jake Wilbanks ()
Ranked #157
   My name's Jake, I write film reviews and the occasional music/video game/comic/tech review. I've been involved in journalism over the past 3 years, and am currently majoring in Journalism … more
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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a 2010 American action comedy film directed by Edgar Wright based on the comic book series Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley. The film is about Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) meeting the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). In order to win Ramona over, Scott learns that he must defeat Ramona's seven evil exes, who are coming to kill him.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was planned as a film after the first volume of the comic was released. Director Wright became attached to the program and began filming in March 2009 in Toronto, Ontario. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World premiered after a panel discussion at the San Diego Comic-Con International on July 22, 2010. It received a wide-release in North America on August 13, 2010.

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    Director: Edgar Wright
    Genre: Action, Adventure
    Release Date: August 13, 2010
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Studio: Universal Pictures
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