Sunday, 20 January 2013

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

I've found recently that a few films I've been meaning to watch for a while have the same thing in common; being, they all contain Michael Cera to a greater or lesser extent. Therefore, I have decided to begin a mission of sorts, to see these films as soon as the opportunity arises, and without thought for any consequences. This mission will be called Que Sera Sera Cera (Whatever will be, will be Michael Cera). One of the most important films on the hitlist was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which was, handily, on the laptop of none other than Swedish Charlotta. Completely legally, I might add. I condone it, and I appreciate it.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World sees two of my favourite Forces For Good combine together: Canada and Edgar Wright. The Munro family summer holiday in 2012 was taken to the very area the film's set, and it's a very lovely place with very lovely people. I've never known a Canadian I didn't like, and the landscape and cities are prettier and more pleasant than your average country. Wright, meanwhile, is responsible for two of the greatest British films of the 2000s, Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, and is very soon to release his third film with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, The World's End. He was also part of the dream team that concieved and gave birth to 2011's brilliant The Adventures of Tintin, along with Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Adam and Joe's Joe Cornish and Doctor Who and Sherlock's Stephen Moffat. In short, Wright has, thus far, created nothing that I haven't loved.

And Scott Pilgrim does not disappoint. Far from it, in fact. From the moment the 8-bit Universal logo comes up, it's clear this is going to be done properly. The visuals are great fun, with information about the characters popping up beside them as they are introduced, Scott's pee-bar appearing above him as he goes to the toilet, and lots of subtle inserts to hint at the video game IRL idea that hovers over the entire film. Edgar Wright is well known for inserting references to his favourite genres and films into his work, and this one shows off his love handsomely. There is a brilliantly random homage to Seinfeld in the middle, and some similarities between Pilgrim's dream sequences and those of The Dude in the Coen Brothers' Big Lebowski. The comedy is appealing and charming, the characters relatable and interesting and hilarious, and not a single line is wasted.

The story goes as follows: Scott Pilgrim is a bass player in a band called the Sex Bob-Ombs, Canadian and in his early twenties. When we meet him, he has just found a new girlfriend (his third), but is teased by his bandmates as she still goes to high school. Soon, though, he meets a girl (literally of his dreams) named Ramona at a party, and immediately becomes infactuated with her. They go on a few dates and Scott dumps his earlier girlfriend. As the relationship intensifies, however, it becomes clear that there are a few obstacles to overcome before they are able to settle down in peace. Namely, these are Ramona's Seven Evil Exes, previous relationships she has had that have gone sour and left the other half smitten. Scott must defeat the evil exes, who grow in power as the film continues, before he can have Ramona to himself. The story, the cast and the image of the film all smell strongly of cult viewing, and cult viewing it became.

The self-referential plot and idiosyncratic characters are vastly engaging, and contibutes to the film just being fantastic fun to watch and enjoy. If anything, it just seems rather rushed. The seven evil exes come and come with each only having a mere few minutes to work the screen and battle. I believe it would have worked better as two films. But maybe that's just because I want to see more of Scott Pilgrim as a character, and more of what he gets up to. It's clever in an entertaining way, rather than a patronising way. It doesn't have any important points to make, but that just allows you to relax and enjoy it more. Put this on the repeat viewing list.

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