All right, and welcome back to Part 2 of our inaugural double feature.
So, I mentioned in my introduction that I'm a bit of a video game lover. Well... I figured that since this exists, why not pair an action film with a different kind of film? Expendables covered the 80's...
And this movie covers a whole ton of retro gaming references and romantic plots.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22 year old bassist for the rock band Sex Bob-omb who has no real life to speak of. Enter Ramona Flowers (Mary Elisabeth Winstead), a girl he sometimes sees in his dreams. It’s true love at first sight for Scott, and then they hook up and have a happy relationship. The only problem is… Scott has to defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes before he can have her heart. And so, he ends up having to fight them as they end up coming to him one by one.
All right, so right off the bat I have stuff to talk about. The entire enterprise of Scott Pilgrim is… well, incredibly stylized. The entire thing looks and feels exactly like a live-action realization of a combination of an old-school beat’em up game and a comic book at the same time. (Fitting, given that it’s an adaptation of a series of graphic novels simply titled “Scott Pilgrim”.) Think about the survival rules of Zombieland that pop up. Imagine that, taken to a whole new level of ludicrousness; onomatopoeia is tossed off left and right, some of the objects used in a fight get surrounded by 8-bit pixels, and some old-school video game sound effects are even used. It even goes right down to the 8-bit Universal logo accompanied by a .MIDI arrangement of its fanfare that would sound right at home on an NES when that comes up before the movie starts.
The high-stylization of basically everything in the movie may throw a few viewers off, but Edgar Wright uses it extremely well. It certainly makes for some really awesome-looking action scenes (some of the best I’ve seen all year, by the way), and it makes for a few really good gags as well. It might go into sensory overload in some places, but its tight stylization ensures that it maintains some level of consistency.
And the irreverence definitely doesn’t stop there. The dialogue manages to be extremely funny by virtue of how ludicrous some of the situations are. The writing for all of the characters is extremely witty, and while hanging lampshades, tossing off obscure references to various nerdy things, and letting various non-sequitors fly across the screen, it’s hard not to laugh at a large portion of the movie’s dialogue.
But at its heart, the movie also works as a romantic comedy, if it gets off on the wrong foot. There’s really not a whole lot of development on Ramona’s end, and thus, some people might wonder what the hell Scott sees in her other than a pretty girl who changes her hair color every week and a half. We don’t really get to understand why Scott has an attraction to Ramona in the first place.
But no matter what, it’s still there. And there’s something incredibly honest about the whole enterprise once the movie gets going. In addition to the whole seven evil exes deal, there is some real romantic and character development on Scott’s end when the going gets tough. And when the going gets tough, honest emotion resonates through the off-kilter presentation and all the funny lines.
The entire presentation is off-kilter, and for this Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World delivers on almost every level. It works as an action movie, it works as a romantic comedy, and it works as a straight comedy all on itself. While the central relationship does suffer from slight underdevelopment, it does also get genuine emotion from its characters. If you’re a geek you’re going to love it. If not…
Give it a chance anyway. You might like it anyway.
Most definitely worth checking out.
And that takes care of our double feature.
This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'm happy to be on Blogspot, and I'll see you next time.