When sitting in the theatre listen out for any laughter at the chip-tune Universal theme. Those guys are the audience who will get the film. The others? They will probably be mildly amused at the visual hyper-activity.
Toronto, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is an aloof and self-centered slacker suffering inertia. When he’s not playing bass guitar in his band Sex Bob-Omb, he’s dating cute 17 year old Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) or crashing at his gay friend’s, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin), house. Going nowhere fast he suddenly meets girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
Unfortunately, he has to battle her seven evil exes including Chris Evans and Jason Schwartzman.
Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six part comic book, Edgar Wright has written and directed the first film to brilliantly work in videogames coherently in fourth wall breaking nods to the medium.
Edgar Wright’s skill as a director puts his contemporaries to shame – the visual inventiveness and energy generated by sharp editing and character placement and visual set pieces are all impeccable.
The fight scenes are all cool and visually inventive, ditching reality for candy-coloured fantasy seen in the likes of Street Fighter. Highlights are so many including Matthew Patel’s opening fight, Chris Evans hilarious turn as a scene chewing action star whilst Jason Schwartzman as sell-out record label impresario is amusing.
This film utilises videogame and comic aesthetics in such flamboyant and energetic ways. It has so many musical and visual references to 8 and 16 bit generation games like enemies bursting into money, a combo counter for the fights whilst the excellent soundtrack is awash with Zelda themes and sound effects and, and, and I could go on as it soon felt that this was all the film would offer because it felt like a headlong rush to the final boss but there’s something more complex going on with the film, the audience and their relation to videogames.
I felt that the film nailed the videogame generation as Scott is awkward and views life through the prism of videogames. He’s technologically savvy, emotionally immature, afraid of difficulty whilst every trial he endures suddenly gets a user interface and he needs to raise his experience points and access continues and extra-lives to defeat his enemies. It takes the structure of a videogame/heroes journey and is eager to please the audience through humour and fights but Scott is ultimately forced to grow up emotionally.
I probably saw more of myself in Scott Pilgrim than I’d care to admit which made me much more indulgent of the film and the story all the sweeter. By the end I was emotional, happy that Scott had won the girl and matured.
The acting is impeccable, stand-outs being Emily Wong and Anna Kendrick and Kieran Culkin (above), whilst Michael Cera, who I’ve never been a big fan of, won me over. The team who worked on this film are incredibly talented and this film deserves to do better at the box-office. I’ll definitely go see this film again and I recommend you watch it to.