Review #17- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

I must admit that video games are not my thing. In addition to finding them repetitive, they do not make me think as much as a good movie, book, or even television show does. Its not that I dislike video games, I just dont play them often enough to really care much about them. That being said, I had a small amount of trepidation going into Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. After all, the story follows Scott Pilgrim (played here by Michael Cera) as he attempts to defeat the seven evil ex-boyfriends (well, sort of) of Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the girl of his dreams. Although I have enjoyed Cera in everything I have seen him in, so far, this films style may have put me off a bit. It is an action movie, but with video game style fighting. In addition to displaying every Pow and Kaboom, characters also earn level ups and extra lives during fights. This movie is a classic example of where style over substance is expected, and I was hoping there would be a plot that was not paper-thin, that had interesting characters, instead of stereotypes. Well, although there was definitely more style than there was substance, Scott Pilgrim succeeds as a good movie, and I shall explain why.

Not only is this an action movie, its also a comedy, and let me tell you, at the very least its an entertaining one. While the script is decently funny, its the actors who really make you laugh. Cera is better than usual, playing a much less geeky character than usual, while Anna Kendrick is delightful as Scotts sister Stacey. The notable comedic standout, however is definitely Kieran Culkin, who plays Wallace, Scotts gay roommate. Culkin steals every scene he is in, but hey; what can you expect from the same person who proved himself as a fantastic actor in 2002s Igby Goes Down?

Lots of credit should go to the films director, Edgar Wright. He uses a ton of style, but uses it well. This movie is one of the most consistent visions I have ever seen on screen. It doesnt matter whether the scene is funny, romantic, sad, or action packed. Wright doesnt miss one step with his comic book/video game display. The fight scenes, for example, are so cartoonish that they dont have any stakes. However, the style is so much fun to watch, that lack of human vulnerability will be the last thing to cross your mind while watching this movie.

In my opinion, this film only has two major flaws. The first is that many of the video game-esque sequences go on too long. We see similar stylized action repeated over and over again during some of the fights. Thankfully, most of the violence is used to service the plot and/or humor, not detract from it. However, when its overused, time seems to go by a little slower than usual. Secondly, some of the drama is predictable or poorly written. Every time the film tries to slow down its pace and work on character development, it gets dragged down. These characters are interesting enough as they are, and any real character development is achieved through their actions, not conversations.

Edgar Wright, Michael Cera, and everyone else involved with this project brings his all to the camera. In addition to being pretty funny, the action scenes are cleverly crafted and extremely fun to experience. Even though some of the fights may be a little long and tedious to sit through, they are some of the films most original sequences. The characters, though they could have had more consistent development, are extremely likable, even the villains. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is uncompromising filmmaking to say the least.

3.5 Stars