Today was an impromptu movie day. I had a little bit of time, and I was able to squeeze a trip to the multiplex in. The movie I went to check out was Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The movie is directed by Edgar Wright and it stars Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Brandon Routh, and Jason Schwartzman. The film is rated PG-13, and it’s mostly for language and pseudo-cartoon violence. I didn’t really know what to expect when I walked in; I mean, I enjoyed the trailers immensely, and it seemed like it would be an entertaining experience.
Needless to say, I got my money’s worth.
I normally wouldn’t start a review off like this, but it’s so cool, I can’t help but mention it: the movie starts off with an 8-bit version of the Universal logo with the Universal theme in MIDI format. The video game theme continues with the theme from The Legend of Zelda serving as a backdrop to the beginning of the movie. We are almost immediately introduced to Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) and the members of his band Sex Bob-omb; Kim Pine (Alison Pill) the drummer and an ex-girlfriend of Scott, Stephen Stills (Mark Webber) the lead singer and guitarist, and Young Neil (Johnny Simmons) a “fan” and follower of the group. We are also introduced to Scott’s “cool gay” roommate Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin), who is responsible for all of the furnishings in their sparse apartment. Scott is dating a seventeen year old girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), and is a perpetual slacker. He eventually meets a girl named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and falls head over heels for her, going as far as to invite her to a battle of the bands his band is performing at. The concert is interrupted by Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha), and he is revealed to be the first of Ramona’s evil exes. The movie pretty much explains itself from there.
I just want to go on record as saying I’m not a Michael Cera fan. He just seems so nasally and whiny that – to paraphrase a line from the film – if his life had a face, I’d punch it. That being said, I really enjoyed his nasally and whiny attitude in the film. There were parts that showed him as a ladies man, but I couldn’t buy it. However, he was convincing enough.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead was very good as the American import Ramona Flowers. She had a wonderfully deadpan delivery and she managed to make the multiple hair colors (I counted three) look natural…or, natural enough. Her chemistry with Michael Cera was also pretty good in and of itself, although I felt that one of her scenes was a bit harsh. That being said, it needed to be harsh, so I guess it wasn’t too bad after all.
Kieran Culkin stole the show as Wallace Wells. He was wonderfully potent as the inner voice of reason, the starter of gossip, and the wonderful yin to Scott’s yang. He also wreaked havoc on the love life of Scott’s sister Stacey. Speaking of which, Anna Kendrick played the little big sister like a sort of mother figure, and she did good with the limited screen time she had.
The band Sex Bob-omb were interesting enough. Alison Pill was perfectly snarky, Mark Webber was nervously humorous, and Johnny Simmons was funny enough as the hanger on who got promoted. I was definitely impressed with Ellen Wong. She went from cute and innocent to obsessed to hot badass at the flick of a wrist. It was no problem for her to go from pining over Scott to threatening to kick some major ass.
As far as the League of Evil Exes goes, I’ll just say numbers one (Matthew Patel), five, and six (Kyle and Ken Katayanagi) were completely forgettable. Chris Evans was almost invisible as Lucas Lee, and that’s a good thing. I almost didn’t recognize the future Captain America. Todd Ingram was hilariously played by Brandon Routh, and he played him as a bit of a scatterbrained vegan superhero. Ingram also has a part that makes you really hate him and root for his demise. Mae Whitman plays Roxy Richter, and she is hilariously wicked. She has two pretty good scenes, one with Ramona and one with Ramona and Scott. Jason Schwartzman is Gideon Graves, and he’s the main baddy in the League, and he is awesome. His scenes put me in the mindset of an evil mogul.
Edgar Wright’s directing was seamless. His edits were hectic, and it forced you to pay attention; failure to do so would mean you’d be left out of at least two scenes. His scene cutting was a beauty to behold. The effects were wonderful, and there were quite a few onomatopoeias scattered throughout for more humor (*thonk* *thonk* *thonk*). The score was done by Nigel Godrich, and it was pretty trippy, to say the least. It had the whole Nintendo sound to it, and it was very frenetic and fun to listen to.
In case you didn’t realize it by this point, I really enjoyed this movie. It didn’t feel forced or sketchy at all, and it was like a love sonnet to the video game era. If you grew up playing video games, this movie is for you. If you grew up reading comic books of any variety, this movie is for you. If you grew up with both, then you’ll be in heaven. I give this four out of five dragon heads, and I recommend catching it while it’s still in theaters.
You won’t be disappointed.