Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Indie Music Everyman in Hero Form

5 Aug

Edgar Wright has found a way to give the alternative pop-culture crowd a comic book nerd-gasm. Scott Pilgram vs. the World is an indie-rocker’s video game themed  journey through 20-something romances. It combines everything the indi-pop group loves: semi-sad love music, pastel colors, and Jason Schwartzman.

Who better to play the lead than alternative music and indie film everyman Michael Cera (Juno), whose natural affiliation with Canada makes him almost to perfect for this movie. Cera plays the shaggy haired Scott Pilgrim, bass guitarist for Sex Bob-omb and Toronto local, whose recently been left in the wake of pop-punk star ex-girlfriend Envy Adams (Brie Larson).

The film begins with Pilgrim a year later dating Asian catholic school girl Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). They share a brief love of ninja ninja revolution, and Sex Bomb-omb. But there not-so-torrid romance is complicated when Scott starts dreaming about an dyed-haired roller blading indi-goddess who appears in the flesh as Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).  After a brief and creepy, yet hilarious, stalking phase Romona decides to date Scott which leads to a 90’s video game style parade of 7 evil X-boyfriends attempting to kill him.

The league of evil X’s progress like the boss at the end of a Mario Brothers stage, each worse than the former. Each evil X is a caricature of the indi-pop scene from a super-vegan defeated through consumption of half and half, to a a cutesy butch lesbian, they all fit into the cool by being not cool underground.

Wright conducts the action sequences like a Dragon Ball Z arcade game, with split screen action and kung fu choreography.This anime-esque action movie combined with the never ending stream of gamer references makes for a movie so steeped in pop culture that it makes VH1 look like the Golden Girls.   Not that the toadstool one-ups, olive drab jackets and existence of Jason Schwartzman, are in any way a detraction of the movie.

From start to finish the film moves from action to comedy with an unforced transition that gives it a really enjoyable pace that never gets boring, and will always keep your laughing. Most of that is thanks to the dynamic duo of support characters: Scott’s coffee-barista sister Stacey (Anne Kendrick) and gay roommate Wallace (Kieran Culkin). Wallace is almost straighter than Scott, though he finds a new guy every night. But there comic interludes break up the one negative of the movie, Scott’s unprompted inter-conflict about dealing with Ramona’s X’s.

It’s a small blight on an otherwise solid film, but when Scott goes from gaga over Ramona to conflicted without so much as a thought bubble. Then again you hardly notice this lack of emotional trigger with all the evil X’s flying around, Wallace’s straight laced advice and the Mario Brothers references. All in all, a welcome surprise to those of us that had never heard of the Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series.

Directed by Edgar Wright from the script written by he and Michael Bacall. Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh, Alison Pill, Jason Schwartzman, Ellen Wong, Mark Webber. Distributor: Universal Picture, with a run time of 112 min.

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One Response to “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Indie Music Everyman in Hero Form”

  1. Read Manga Online August 7, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    They share a brief love of ninja ninja revolution, and Sex Bomb-omb. LMAO!

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