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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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Rating: Awesome!

  • Jun 15, 2011
Rating:
+4
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 attacks appearing onscreen. One early scene shows the main character, Scott Pilgrim (did I really have to tell you that?) walking into a bathroom. A "pee bar" appears next to his head and drains as he empties himself. Whenever Scott gets into a fight, a vs. symbol always appears between Scott and whoever he's fighting against in order to signal the beginning of the fight. These aren't arbitrary special effects created to make the movie more interesting, either. The characters all seem to have an awareness of these things, and they engage in their fights with them in mind. It's perfectly normal in their world. In one funny scene, Scott is getting cursed out by a friend of his sister. A black bar appears across her mouth every time she uses what I assume is the f-bomb, and Scott finally has to ask, "How are you doing that thing with your mouth?" Scott's foes explode into coins, and nobody finds this weird. After Scott wins his first fight, in fact, he goes to pick up the coins and laments the fact there aren't enough for him to afford a cab ride home.

When the movie begins, 22-year-old Scott Pilgrim has found a new girlfriend in 17-year-old Knives Chau. (Yes, that's her name.) Things are going pretty well between them, and Knives worships the ground Scott walks on, and is always present and cheerful at rehearsals for his punk band, Sex Bob-omb. One night, Scott has a dream about a different girl. When he later meets the girl, Ramona Flowers, at a party, he ends up making an order from her delivery service so she can deliver it and he can ask her out. Ramona agrees to go out with him just so he'll sign for the damn package already, and the two of them take a liking to each other and begin a relationship.

Now the obvious problem for those who don't know the movie is, what about poor Knives back there? Well, that issue is tackled. Ordinarily we wouldn't find ourselves being sympathetic to Scott after something like that, but the screenwriting makes up for that by making Knives so supremely annoying - not by accident, but purposely annoying - that we're rooting for him to stay away from her as much as possible. The bigger problem for Scott is Ramona's League of Evil Ex-Boyfriends. In order to have Ramona, Scott must fight against and defeat an army of her exes large and powerful enough to invade a small country in Latin America.

The crux of the movie is these fights. Scott takes on a bunch of Ramona's ex-boyfriends, who all have quirks and ticks of their own. In one scene, his band has to battle a set of twins who attack with sonic dragons. In another scene, Scott challenges a famous actor to a skating contest, and he fights a vegan rock musician in yet another scene. Meanwhile, Knives goes through the motions, always plotting and scheming herself to win Scott back. The scenes with Knives are really the only ones bogging this movie down, but they're short scenes so they don't take up too much space.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has an odd mix of in-jokes, winking references, and video game applications to real life. The aforementioned vegan rock musician, for example, talks about Vegan Academy in a real, literal context. He attacks using telepathy, one of the vegan powers he of course learned at Vegan Academy, and is done in by the Vegan Police when Scott tricks him into drinking half and half. (Says another character about him "Being vegan just makes him better than most people!") The famous bass line from Seinfeld shows up at one point to accompany a transition between scenes, Scott brags about having learned the bass line from Final Fantasy II, and his freaking band is called Sex Bob-omb, for god's sake!

There aren't a lot of surprises to come in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and once the main plot gets rolling, it's very easy to tell for the most part who Scott is going to end up fighting. But the fight scenes are a lot of fun - they should be, since they're pretty much the whole point of the movie. It's a blast to sit and watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as a fan of fighting games, thinking about just how awesome it would be to control a lot of these fights.

The plot goes through development between the fight scenes which is rather impressive for a movie of this sort. Following Knives around through her insanity stages was a good inclusion, so we're not just left hanging and believing Scott to be a jerk for leaving her, which we would have done had she never shown up again after Scott ditches her. Along the way, we also see Sex Bob-omb get signed by a big time label, and we get to watch Ramona ditch Scott and eventually take him back, and see Scott develop self-esteem. Even though the plot is developed so impressively, it still rides shotgun to the fight scenes, because for it all, the characters are minimalist caricatures. All of them are underdeveloped, though it's entirely possible this underdevelopment was intentional so we would be able to read whatever interpretation we could come up with into them.

This doesn't help in the case of Scott's roommate, who just hangs around the movie like a bad color commentator. While Keiran Culkin plays the roommate role with a touch of in-the-know cynicism, his presence - while very funny - may have been detrimental to the movie. WHile the underdevelopment of the other characters can easily be seen as minimalist storytelling, the roommate's underdevelopment comes off more like he was added for the sole purpose of being a foil to Scott.

Really though, you're not going to watch this for a plot and characters. You're going to watch it for the crazy tribute to video game culture, and to watch Michael Cera's punchable face actually get punched.

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June 15, 2011
quite an accurate breakdown and I have to say, this may be one of the movies that have inspired to eat more veggies....hey, vegan powers are a good motivation LOL!! thanks for the really fun write up!!
 
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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 . 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 . 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 …
Quick Tip by . February 05, 2012
Caption
Action, Romance, Comedy and filled with homage for all the things we love; this film is just a rockin’ good time! This stands as one of my favorite comic book adaptations and a refreshing change from all the super-hero movies that have plagued us of late.      C’mon, how can you resist a super-powered Vegan with telekinetic powers?      See Full Review here.     
Quick Tip by . January 04, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Surprising sleeper hit. This is one of those movies that seems like it was as fun to make as it was too watch.
review by . May 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: entertaining! a little of everything-action, romance, comedy     Cons: Style and humor not for everyone     The Bottom Line: "I heart you, Sex Bob-omb!"     Struggling to recover from the gruesome break up with his Big Ex, Scott is currently dating Knives Chau, a high school girl five years his junior. He's enjoying the simplicity of just holding hands. Knives, sweet girl, is just a phone call away from stalker-intensity fan dom for …
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Nicholas Croston ()
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … 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.

  • Poster art for "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."
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    Details

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