Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim is a 22 year old slacker living with a gay friend, trying to make a living with his average band Sex Bob-Omb and dating a 17 year old high schooler. But when he meets the girl of his dreams (literally), Ramona Flowers, he sets out to win her over and begin dating her instead. However, before he can do that, he must defeat Ramona's Seven Evil Exes, who have banded together to control Ramona's love life and are determined to stop Scott from living out his fantasies at any cost...

Earlier this year, I watched and reviewed Kick-Ass and found that to be a really refreshing take on the comic book superhero genre. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World may not be a superhero film of sorts, but it is most certainly a comic book film and upon finally seeing it after eagerly anticipating it for so long, I can only describe it thus: Mindblowing. This film is phenomenal in carrying out its adaptation of the graphic novel. I feel confident to honestly say that this is as close to a true comic book film, in its most basic definition, you are ever likely to see. The film is a comic book. The comic book was a manga. The manga was a computer game. The film is the resultant hybrid comic book/manga/computer game. It's confusing, but my god it works.

Right from the very beginning, you know it's going to be something different when you're given the Universal ident 8-bit style. From there it just goes on, staying as close to its source material as possible, creating a world that feels like a true-to-live video game. From Scott and his friends being introduced by name tags which appear in screen, to Scott's enemies exploding into a shower of coins and points once defeated, even down to Scott's band's name. The graphic novels took their cues from the world of Nintendos and Manga, and writer/director Edgar Wright has done his best to keep it true to that, and has succeeded at every turn. From the OTT fighting, to the 1960's Batman style fight words complimenting, it is a comic book film in every sense of the term. Every shot looks like a frame from a comic book, meaning the fight scenes become a cross between The Matrix and Mortal Kombat and let's face it, who HASN'T been waiting for that combination?

Michael Cera has come of age in 2010, carrying Youth in Revolt through a somewhat dodgy script and has come into this and delivered his strongest performance yet, which was vital as he absolutely carries the film through. It's hard to think that only 7 years ago, he was George Michael Bluth in Arrested Development, one of the best TV shows of the last decade.This, of course, meant I personally rejoiced when Scott battled Evil Ex Number 4 aka Roxy Richter aka Mae Whitman aka Ann from Arrested Development aka George Michael's girlfriend. Follow that? No? Well, it was a good moment seeing those two together again and makes the prospect of an Arrested Development movie all the more mouthwatering. But I digress... Mary Elizabeth Winstead is only OK, but then Ramona Flowers is a tricky character to play as she rarely expresses any real emotion. The Evil Exes are proper comic book villains with powers and dress senses to match. Scott's bandmates provide some laughs as well. But it's Scott's most recent ex, high schooler Knives Chau, and Scott's gay roommate, Wallace Wells, played by Ellen Wong and Kieran Culkin respectively, who are the strongest supports in the film and are gifted with some of the film's best/funniest lines. Oh, and as lovely as it was to see Anna Kendrick, she shouldn't have been cast as an 18 year old, or even just someone supposedly younger than Michael Cera. No.

I simply think this is just the ultimate geek film, truly. The number of computer game references is astronomical, from the blatant to the subtle. The use of Scott Pilgrim artwork as a flashback device was clever in a self-knowing way but it still fit into the film's aesthetic. Sex Bob-Omb's music was written by Beck. I mean, come on, that's just cool. It's truly entertaining and laugh out loud funny. It's also a touching romance story. It's also a great action thriller. It's also a phenomenal comic book adaptation. It's also the perfect video game movie. Ironically, after all the Resident Evils and Silent Hills we've been given, the best video game movie we now have in the world isn't even a video game.

Overall, there just aren't words to describe how good and entertaining I found it to be. Earlier in the year, I did say that I hold Watchmen to be my most perfect comic book adaptation so far. Scrap that, this is. Earlier in the year, I said Kick-Ass was the best film of the year. Scrap that, this is. Yes, even after Inception. I honestly cannot recommend this film more highly enough. Truth is, I completely and utterly lesbians this film.

Rating: *****