Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World - Review

Despite being a huge fan of Bryan Lee O'Malley's epic graphic novel series, even I have to admit the advertising campaign for the, long awaited, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World verged on obscene with the hipster, emo and geek chic references.

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading the books, the movie's concept is, at its core, pretty straightforward. Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), a likable loser from Toronto, Canada where he's unemployed (which never seems to really bother him), playing bass in the delightfully named Sex Bob-Omb and dating a 17 year old named Knives.

All seems well until the gorgeous and mysterious Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) enters the fold and consequently turns his life upside down. The catch however, in his unique romantic comedy, is in order to date the woman of his dreams, Scott must defeat Ramona's seven evil exes. Too much effort one might say, or perhaps I just say...

First of all, as a fan of the books, it pains me to say I'm actually disappointed by the film. I always was quite perplexed as to how Edgar Wright was going to adapt six, rather detailed, graphic novels filled with flashbacks, bizarre computer game influenced interludes and some interesting sub-plots into a two hour film. The ending result however felt rushed and the pace was so fast I'm surprised I didn't suffer a migraine from the 100 mph visual assault on my cerebral senses.

At times though it does strike a familiar note with Mike Myer's wonderful Wayne's World films in terms of cultural significance of the youth today (I say 'youth' I'm only 24...).

Michael Cera, world renowned by now for playing the same happy-go-lucky bloke in every film he appears, played the title role perfectly. Whether you like him or hate him, he was born for this, but it's a slight shame he never had the chance to really delve into that darker side we saw glimpses of in last year's Youth In Revolt. Mary E Winstead had all the elements which made most male readers of the graphic novels fall for Ramona in the first place, complete with her alluring qualities while also showing a softer side when her cynical sarcastic wall is finally broken down.

However it is, very much, the cool supporting performances where the film really takes shape. The stand out personally being the truly fantastic Kieran Culken as Scott's gay room-mate Wallace. The comic timing of all his lines were delivered with complete precision which begs me to ask, why he wasn't in it more often.

Also the classy, albeit occasional, appearance from the wonderful Anna Kendrick as Scott's younger sister added a bit of depth to the support list. Would also just like the raise a point that the actor of Young Neil - Johnny Simmons - in terms of looks perhaps would've been a better Scott Pilgrim than Michael Cera but whether he has the performance to match is probably a debate not worth having.

Equally, the 'League of Evil Exes' produced some of the more enjoyable moments of the movie, and is also where the adaptation is perhaps most faithful to the books. While Jason Schwartzman worked wonderfully as the 'final boss', the appearances of Satya Bhabha and Superman himself (Brandon Routh to his mum) as evil ex one and three respectively were the highlights for action, visuals and overall execution.

I was expecting more from the soundtrack which was filled with bland indie junk however, the sound effects taken from various computer games of my youth such as The Legend of Zelda and the Mario series raised a smile or two from me.

The climaxing scene also felt a little underwhelming and perhaps Mr Wright would have been best to wait until the final book had been released before attempting to make up his own ending for the film, but such is Hollywood I guess. Perhaps a TV series spanning six seasons at some stage? Anyone?

Final Thoughts
Despite the visual assault which is guaranteed to either blow your mind or put you into an epileptic fit, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World was regrettably a shoddy adaptation of an amazing graphic novel. Hurts me greatly to say the book is full of much more epic clashes, comedic wit and deeply heartfelt moments than what the resulting film put before us.


See This If You Liked...
Wayne's World, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is in cinemas everywhere now.


rtm said...

I was just asking another blogger who lives in the UK if this movie is successful there. I'm not familiar with the graphic novel nor am I a fan of Cera, but I might give this a chance because I love Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. I'm probably more interested in seeing all the evil exes than the title role, Chris Evans is always fun to watch and Brandon Routh is well, great eye candy ;)

Andrew Moore said...

What I've gathered from the general UK press reaction to Scott Pilgrim is, we all love Edgar Wright therefore we should all love Scott Pilgrim.

Yet no matter how much I tried, and the more I thought about it, I just can't bring myself to genuinely love it.

The evil exes and Scott's roomate Wallace, played by Kieren Culken were the highlights.