“I kind of feel like I’m on drugs when I’m with you. Not that I do drugs. Unless you do drugs. Then I do drugs all the time, every drug.”
Edgar Wright is a vibrant, visual filmmaker and it’s very likely, if you consider yourself a novice film watcher, that you may never see a film like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World again. It’s chapters removed from many creative novella you’re bound to experience during your time on this planet. It’s excessively quirky and nerdy but it’s also like watching a strobe light for two hours. Some may get a headache watching this. That’s a shame because Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is truly splendid.
Wright certainly has a flair for the dramatic and does things aesthetically I’ve never seen in all the years I’ve watched cinema. He takes comic-like to another level. If you’ve ever read a comic book and wondered what that would be like in live-action, this would be it and it’s…pretty damn good.
The moments where a vehicle such as this usually stalls never come up. Wright, in addition to throwing all sorts of colors and angles on the screen, is also a detailed editor. I often talk about my appreciation for screenwriters and directors who let no tape go to waste and Wright, at least in this escapade, demonstrates that same belief. Some dialogue drags but is balanced by something happening aside of the focal point, reminding us of what we’re really here for.
The dialogue is witty and pokey, sometimes tiptoeing across the line into something of deeper meaning before jumping back and returning to its roots. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is unapologetically itself, no matter how much the crowd starts to throw glances. There are some moments that don’t quite hit but a lot of those seemed destined not to, as if we’re all in on this joke falling flat.
It’s optically gratifying, your eyes darting every which way, absorbing all the nutrients this film is feeding you while your ears do your best to catch up. This is a film in overdrive. It is loud and it is fast and it has no break time. It is the friend constantly pushing you through doors you know you should go through but never develop the backbone to do yourself. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is the attitude that gets you to the best points in life, to experience life’s greatest thrills and loves. It turns your weaknesses into a gag and mocks your inability to act. It is the push out the door we all need. It’s a push out the door for 112 minutes.
And despite being a coming of age comedy, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has some solid stunt choreography. It’s not of the blockbuster variety but it pays homage to the comic books of old and takes that style with it to set, the “pow whams” plastered over the background.
The cast features a deep lineup, all riding a conveyor belt of an assortment of candies and characters. Michael Cera is especially good here, nailing down the so so awkward.
As visually alluring as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is and as clever and inventive as it is, it does suffer at the character position. At times, it feels like people coming from stage left to say their lines before leaving stage right. The writing is great but a film structured this way is bound to suffer in this area.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Conjuring, Sinister, Olympus Has Fallen, The Cable Guy)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Death Race, Wind River, Tommy Boy, Death Note, True Memoirs of an International Assassin)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Power Rangers, Underworld: Evolution, Batman & Robin, Bloodsport)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-Rise, Most Likely to Die, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Crow: City of Angels, Centurion)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie Stoner, The Forbidden Dimensions, Cyborg, Outcast, Sabotage)
My score for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: 88.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is like living inside of a kaleidoscope inside of a comic book for two hours. You can’t help but be awed. It’s a shame this film did so poorly at the box office and wasn’t cherished for the creative wonder that it is.