Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Directed by: Edgar Wright
Produced by: Edgar Wright; Marc Platt; Eric Gitter; Nira Park
Screenplay by Edgar Wright; Michael Bacall; Based on Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Narrated by: Bill Hader
Starring: Michael Cera; Mary Elizabeth Winstead; Kieran Culkin; Ellen Wong; Alison Pill; Mark Webber; Johnny Simmons; Anna Kendrick; Jason Schwartzman
Music by: Nigel Godrich
Cinematography by: Bill Pope
Release date: August 13, 2010 (US)
Running time 112 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English

Scott Pilgrim vs the World is fun. Pure fun, from start to finish. It took me to the days when I was in school, or just joined college. Those were the days. No care for the grown-up world, yet doing a lot of stuff, which today I may find useless, but those days they were matters of life and death. Not that my adolescence was anything like Scott Pilgrim — casing music and girls. But the high adrenaline rush of constant action about nothing was almost the same.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World is a odd film, and it catches you unawares. It has a regular plot, teen-age love story. Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22-year-old Toronto brass guitarist with a band called Sex Bob-omb, who is dating a highschooler, till he sees a Burgundy-haired American, Romona Flowers. He pursues Romona, and finds that to date her, he will have to defeat her seven evil exes who control her love life. Okay.

But the tone of the film, and how it is presented, with a sense of breathlessness and with a visual flair borrowed from the aesthetics of comic books and video games, sets it apart from the run-of-the-mill stuff, and whatever. The film is neither real, or a pure fantasy; it creates a world where both the worlds collides. The setting indeed looks Toronto, but how Scott has showdowns with the exes, it’s purely a video game world where after he defeats each ex, he earns points, and coins start falling from the start. But, how a nerd like Scott could master all those Kung-Fu like moves? No answers.

Based on the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley, the film retains its graphic novel feel, not in a way Sin City, or 300 did, but in a more ‘pop’ way, by heightening the feel, but not at all trying to make it real, and at the same time not make it exaggerated.

But director Edgar Wright fills the screen with so much action that you have no time to bother about such silly questions. One thing that the film gets right to the tee is the language the characters speak, with lots of duh, cool, whatever and so on.

After Superbad, Juno, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Michael Cera has carved a niche for himself in nerdy comedies. He is not the traditional hero material, but he is smart and has a certain charm. Yet, it’s difficult to imagine him as action hero. But, in Scott Pilgrim, the actions are presented in such video game variety that you are too baffled and too engrossed to ask questions. It’s never real, ever after Scott is beaten to pulp, it’s not visible on his face, forget blood and bruises, even his clothes are intact.

This is a film for those who dreams in comic book, video game aesthetics, whatever that means.

When it comes to action-comedy, director Wright knows his job; examples Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. One good thing about his is that he does not take himself or his material seriously, and have a blast in whatever he is doing. That’s the endearing quality of Scott Pilgrim. The film shines of technical brilliance, especially in action — the background is constantly on the move, the characters are constantly on the move, they start a sentence at one place and end it somewhere else, and there’s all those dialogue balloons appearing on the screen, the onomatopoeic noises like boom, bang. For example, when his when his Chinese girlfriend utters the word love, a big ‘LOVE’ in pink foam hit Scott and he has to wave his hand to get rid of it. Then there are those video game tricks, like earning points after each win, and there is also a voice-over to offer a different perspective to the plot point.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World is a joyride.

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