Posted by: Paul | September 1, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

All I could think, as I came out of the cinema last night having just watched Edgar Wright’s movie adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs The World, was ‘Woah’.

That’s not ‘woah’ as in, ‘Woah, dude that was awesome‘. Rather it was ‘Woah. Dude. What just happened?’ I wasn’t even sure if I liked it. It was certainly a lot to take in.

Edgar Wright, co-creator of Spaced and director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, has taken Bryan Lee O’Malley’s source material to it’s logical cinematic conclusion. The result is loud, vivid, in your face, charming, sweet, lame, dull, funny, not funny, exciting and graphic. It is all of these things and more. Some of them at the same time, but none of them for longer than 30 seconds at once. This is why I’ve found it so hard to process my reaction to it – often in the same scene I would flit from “I’m not enjoying this” to “I’m enjoying this so much I can hardly believe it“.

But I guess that’s the experience of being young, as, though it was a while ago, I do remember what that time feels like. Heightened emotions, mountainous highs and despairing lows.

Anyway, Scott Pilgrim (Arrested Development’s Michael Cera) is a loser – in the coolest possible way. He’s in a band, but doesn’t have a job. He shares an apartment with his best friend, but doesn’t have a bed. He has a cute girlfriend, but she’s a high schooler and too young for him. His entire life is composed of paradoxes, of situations that can’t co-exist for long, and then into his life rolls Ramona Flowers, a rollerblading Amazon delivery girl, and Scott Pilgrim’s world erupts in an explosion of purple love hearts and even purpler hair. She is The One. Or is she?

In any case, she has baggage. In order to date her, Scott must fight and defeat her seven evil exes. And so ensues the closest thing to a representation of a video game on screen which has ever, and probably will ever, be made. It’s the most original movie I’ve seen in a long time – perhaps at all.

Let me say that Scott Pilgrim is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires a certain level of knowledge about the geekiest of things in order to get the most out of the film. That’s not to say that there isn’t a charming, funny, exciting experience to be had here, but if you don’t have at least an understanding of gaming, you could be left cold by the constant onscreen graphics, stats and flashes. It’s full-on.

Like Scott, I was left dazed and confused afterwards. I think on balance I enjoyed it – I certainly can’t get it out of my head. But I can’t help thinking it’s a bit niche for it to be as successful as everyone involved deserves – make no mistake, a lot of hard work went into this, and you can see it all on screen – visually, it’s amazing, and unique. Ultimately though, Scott Pilgrim vs The World has ‘CULT CLASSIC’ written all over it. In fifty-foot high flashing letters that explode in a shower of gold sparks. Scott Pilgrim FTW!

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