Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

by Reverend Jon

Each generation loves nothing more than to revel in the nostalgia of their collective childhood experiences. As time passes, the negative aspects fade and what remains is a mythologized patchwork of rosy memories and optimistic historical events. For the baby-boomers, this translates into the narrative of perfect, happy, family-centric post-war America where the men were men and the women were ornamental that fuels so much of the Andy-Rooney-ish kvetching about the current state of affairs.


For my generation, born into culturally-relativist-post-post-war TV Land, this nostalgia translates into the current trend of pro-unicorn, 8-bit-loving, three-wolves-howling, super-hero-horny, i-love-the-80s, pop-up-video memedom. And it is this fuel that propels the pitch-perfect Scott Pilgrim vs. the World through its hour and fifty-two minutes of awesomeness.

Remember, when we were kids, and everthing was so cool!?!

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is, per the posters, “an epic of epic epicness” from the minds of Bryan Lee O’Malley, Canadian indie-comic artist, and Edgar Wright, British director of many a Simon Pegg vehicle.  I am not trained in journalistic ethics, but in the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that my boyfriend, who is also in the indie-comic world, is an acquaintance of “Mal” as he is known, and someone I used to be friends with used to date Edgar Wright. Silly, I know, but it’s also another way of saying that I’ve been hearing about this movie since Michael Cera was still playing George Michael!

Now, I have read many comics in my day. Also, I have seen many movies. Furthermore, I have seen too many movies that were adapted from comic books. Often, they get it totally wrong. Occasionally, they get it kind of right, but this is the first time that I saw a movie that tried–and succeeded–to transcend both media and create a wonderful product that is at the same time of and above movies and comics using a secret ingredient: video games.

The plot of the Scott Pilgrim comic books (seven volumes, widely available) is structured like a video game, with our protagonist, Scott, having to proceed through the seven levels by defeating the seven evil exes of his love interest, Ramona Flowers. Edgar Wright and his co-writer Michael Bacall springboard from this conceit to a movie layered with textual and visual references to the video games we loved as children (Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy, etc.).

The result is a movie that has substantial and legitimate elements of the romantic comedy, the action movie, the teen flick, the music movie, and the dorkfest, making it the perfect date movie. Also, the graphics are crisp and original. I categorize this as a “must see in theaters” movie because the quality of the visuals is such that significant enjoyment would be lost between the big and the little screen. Unless you are like Marla and have a badass home entertainment system. I, on the other hand, am currently typing on my home entertainment system.

Also, the casting in this movie is fun. Michael Cera is, as usual, very talented, and his physical delivery is enough to make this long-sexless teen wimp seem actually a little hot for once! The rest of the cast, with a couple of notable exceptions, comprises all of the cute under-25 actors that I have enjoyed in their secondary or tertiary roles in movies over the past few years but have no idea of their names. An example is Johnny Simmons, for whom I was very sad when his character died in Jennifer’s Body as he was far cuter than nasty, nutso Megan Fox.

The limited star power (don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing!) comes from Brandon Routh, who plays a hilarious vegan ex of Ramona, and Jason Schwartzman, who plays the leader of the League of Evil Exes. When are they going to cast Schwartzman in an Elvis Costello biopic? I think that is just too good of a resemblance to pass up. Other notables are Kieran Culkin and the always-funny Aubrey Plaza.

Lastly, a note on the rating. This is one of the few PG-13 movies that does not seem like it is either an over-edited R-rated movie or an adult-erated kids’ movie. The ways in which they stay within the bounds of the rating are creative and even, at times, tongue-in-cheek. So go, see this movie!

4 Responses to “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”

  1. Bravo, Jon! Not only for reporting back to me exactly what I wanted to hear – that SPvTW is awesomesauce – but also for using the SCARIEST IMAGE TO EVER GRACE THIS FINE WEBSITE. And that is the horrid, devilish visage of Andy Rooney, crocheting it up about kids today.

  2. Wonderful review! Oh, you’ve gotten me even more exited for a movie that I just KNEW was going to be absolutely fantastic! Superb write-up, and I totally agree that Johnny Simmons is pretty much the cutest thing to ever grace a screen.

    Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: PREPARE FOR ME TO SEE YOU IN THEATERS. Even though my home entertainment center is indeed bad-ass.

    Thanks so much for volunteering to write such a concise and funny post!


    i was worried that my hopes were too high, but NAY!!! scott pilgrim delivered on every front, from the cast to the special effects to the clever one-liners, and i only wish the rest of america realized this.

    special pants to knives, who truly surprised me with her awesomeness, and kieran, who may now be my favorite culkin (WHAT!).

  4. I’m really excited to see this movie yet somehow haven’t made it. Thanks for writing such an awesome review that makes me realize it is now at the top of my list.

    I definitely have to catch it in the theater.

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