Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

 

The first time I saw this was at a speech meet and I had a lot of waiting time before I needed to perform. A friend brought a portable DVD player and he put this movie on. It went from two people sitting around a table to about ten people laughing our heads off and making the best of our situation. Over the weekend, I rewatched this movie for the first time since then and it still holds up for me because of the graphic style and humor.

Based on the graphic novel series, Scott Pilgrim, in order to date this one girl, must defeat her seven evil exes.

This movie is eye candy in terms of compositing. From the onomatopoeia to the semi-interaction with the text (like when Scott moves closer to Ramona at the party) and the use of actor stats in the beginning of the film, the movie evokes the style of the graphic novel. The movie even starts with an 8-bit version of the Universal logo. As soon as that came on in my first viewing, people laughed in the way where they felt comfortable and were excited as to what was in store just from this particular version of the logo. I even have my computer play the theme when I start it up because, well, I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to those things.

The title sequence, which you can see here through Art of the Title, is a colorful mixture of Stan Brakhage (Dog Star Man) and Len Lye elements along with a distorted rock track that says “Hey, buckle up ‘cuz this will be crazy fun.” The tactile expression of the scratch film and the bright colors hearkens back to childhood arts and crafts where it wasn’t about making something meaningful but more about having fun making it, something I find gets lost in the creative process from time to time.

The humor is also a high point in this film. From the video game references (“What are you doing?” “I’m getting a life.”), to having Michael Sera jump through the window, to the exes’ backstories, it’s a ride. Also, a nice touch for the introduction of Evil Ex #2 by syncing his actions to the actual Universal theme. It’s this kind of humor that I find entertaining.

With the visual effects, you would think it would’ve been nominated for the Academy Awards. Alas, it made the shortlist and the winner that year was Inception. Understandable but it would’ve been nice to see it as a nominee. Also, it didn’t make it’s money in the theater but rather in the home media market and has a cult following. I can see why.

For two hours, it’s a fun trip where it’s about the style and not so much on story (though only by a small margin). It’s a nice Saturday night movie to watch with a few friends.

7.5/10

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