Scott Pilgrim vs The World (12A)
Posted by Kuang on Fri, 03 Sep 2010.
Scott is the bass player in the band ‘Sex Bob-omb’, who he describes as terrible. His life as an ex-student revolves around slacking, music and computer games.. and getting over his ex-girlfriend, who is now in a band far more successful than his own. Whilst dating a high school girl against the advice of his friends, he spots Ramona, literally the girl of his dreams, and soon discovers that there is baggage involved. Ramona has a series of seven evil exes, and Scott will have to defeat them all in some way if he’s to date her.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World is based on a series of graphic novels, taking situations and influences from each. Bringing such a thing to the big screen isn’t easy, so director Edgar Wright takes a literal and unexpected approach and completely breaks the third wall from the start; Scott Pilgrim is full of pop-culture in-jokes, screen overlays and comedy interludes aimed directly at the audience to add an extra meta-layer to the story. The pace is furious for the most part, with quieter interludes to let the characters breathe, and the sense is that Wright has crammed in far more than you’ll be able to appreciate in one sitting. Gamers and indie kids will love the wealth of references scattered throughout from the obvious (Scott’s band is named after a Super Mario Brothers enemy, and his ‘Zero’ t-shirt is a Smashing Pumpkins one from a song whose lyrics fit the film perfectly) to the subtle and obscure (The band Clash at Demonhead take their name from an old Nintendo game).
What you shouldn’t expect is a lot of deep character development and intricate storytelling – this film isn’t about that. Even the main character is a bit of an ass if we’re being honest, but it’s in a way that we can all recognise in ourselves, and it’s rewarding when he realises this and does something about it. Instead, the balance is tipped firmly towards stylish action with a huge martial arts twist and lots of things going bang. The dialogue is simple and sharp, as you’d expect from a comic, and nothing hangs around on screen for long enough to trip the overall flow. There’s a fair dose of comical teen angst, poking a bit of fun at American tween dramas, and lots of scenes and quirky behaviour thrown in simply because they’re funny. Wright let himself off the chain here and clearly made the movie that he really wanted to make without falling into line with cinematic expectations, and it feels all the better for it.
What we have in essence is a smart, sassy thrill ride that’ll ring happy bells with anyone who grew up through the late 80s / early 90s, and that manages to feel energising and bouncy even though the story is quite dark in places. You just have to sit back and take it for what it is, which is a loud and enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours followed by an evening of playing ‘spot the reference’ with friends :)