‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’ Retro Review

Director: Edgar Wright

Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieren Culkin, Jason Schwartzman, Chris Evans, Mae Whitman, Brendon Routh, Allison Pill, Anna Kendrick, Ellen Wong

Plot: Scott Pilgrim, 23 year old Canadian bass player, falls in love with the girl of his dreams but must defeat her seven evil exes to win her heart.

Review: Anyone even slightly associated with me will not be shocked by the end rating on this review.

‘Scott Pilgrim VS The World’ is based on the indie/alternative series of graphic novels by Brian Lee O’Malley, and wears it’s influences from music, video games, and pop culture front and centre. Revolving around the titular Scott Pilgrim (Cera) in his bid to win the heart of the mysterious Ramona Flowers (WInstead) by defeating her Evil-Exes in battle, what is you get is a mish-mash of styles, techniques and surrealistic moments that draw upon everything from 8-bit video game weaponry to Bollywood dance routines. Split-screen, wire-fu hyperkinetic fight sequences keep the frenetic pace of the film up, which never feels to cluttered even with the huge cast of characters, multitude of set pieces, bizarre interludes and a story that originally took up 1000+ pages of comic.

Stringing together a series of effects driven punch ups is never going to be enough to make a movie, though, and fortunately Scott Pilgrim is at heart a comedy centred on character and romance. Featuring some of the best casting since Noomi Rapace became that girl with some kind of tattoo, fans of the series will delight to see practically all their favourite characters brought to life so well. Cera takes a few steps away from his typecast for the rocking, wise-cracking and ass-kicking Pilgrim (although he still retains a shadow of that one other character he always plays) and Winstead perfectly captures Ramona – impressive for a character whose defining characteristic is being mysterious.

Kieren Culkin manages to steal almost every scene as Scotts gay room-mate Wallace Wells, and generated the biggest laughs from the crowd, and Ellen Wong proves to be a talent to watch as the vulnerable and niave Knives Chau. Factor in Swartzman, Routh, Evans, Bhabha, Whitman and the Saito twins each adding a unique personality and flavour the evil exes, and Scott’s various friends and hangers-on, and you have the best ensemble of young talent seen since ‘Dazed and Confused’.

The entire movie is trenched in what has become Edgar Wright’s trademark moves – snappy transitions, whip-fire montages and heavy exaggeration yet somehow feels solid. This sharp style is the perfect match of O’Malley’s hyper-reality fictional universe where characters display genuine emotion, deal with realistic issues and then have to fight demon-hipster chicks, dragons summoned out of music of psychic vegans. CGI, although used in almost every sequence, adds a great sense of style to the film without ever drowning it out. No matter what Pilgrim is facing, it still looks like the beatings he takes hurt. The only sequence in which this doesn’t hold true is the battle against the Katayanagi Twins, which becomes a showdown between CGI monsters that leaves the viewer feeling a bit disconnected from the action.

The only person I would not very strongly recommend ‘Scott Pilgrim VS The World’ to is those who suffered epileptic fits playing ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’. Everyone else: load up on sugar and caffeine and have a blast!

TEN outta TEN