Scott Pilgrim vs The World is based on the epic graphic novels by Bryan O’Malley (@radiomaru). The graphic novels were set in 6 volumes, which yes, in my opinion qualifies it as an epic. Writing, drawing, inking and coloring them mostly by himself- that’s no small feat. (Plus, the movie is an epic of epic epicness)
Starring Michael Cera and directed by Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim has had a lot of hype in the comic community- and indeed, had a huge presence at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. The series was a fun hybrid of the hipster music scene, video game culture… it promised to be huge.
The only problem is that it hasn’t reached a major audience. So if you don’t count yourself as a gamer or comic lover… this review is for you.
Scott Pilgrim is a love story. It’s an action movie. It’s a video game come to live. It’s about music. It’s a comic book, visualized- with phones that say RING, head thumps that say THWACK, and split screens that flow like comic book panels.
A lot of people have said that it’s a movie only for geeks and those under 30. They’re wrong- elitists who see phrases like comic book and video game in press kits and immediately prepare themselves to find faults.
But at the core, it’s a movie about relationships. Friends that stick by you through everything, siblings that annoy, the ex who broke your heart, the person you date just to get through it all, and the love you find that changes everything. It’s about growing up. It’s about taking risks.
It’s a movie about Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), a 22 year old slacker and bass player for Sex Bob-Omb who lives with his gay best friend Wallace (Keiran Culkin). He meets the mysterious Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and instantly falls in love. Unfortunately, to win Ramona’s heart he has to fight her Seven Evil Exes and survive.
Sounds a little crazy, but it works. Why? The characters, despite their penchants for video game style fighting and fantastic dream sequences… well, they have soul. They seem real. Scott, despite being the hero and a pretty nice guy, is also a little bit of a jerk. Ramona, who is believable as the girl you’d fight seven exes to be with, isn’t so great herself. But it’s the flaws that sell it. So often, you read books or see movies with fantastic premises and characters that are lifted straight out of archetypes- wise old man, sweet ingenue, noble hero… Scott Pilgrim is filled with real people who happen to be able to do extraordinary things.
Admittedly, Scott Pilgrim didn’t do well at the box office. It might be because of all the advance showings they had for the movie, coupled with the fact that the trailers were designed to appeal to teens and gamers. It isn’t because it’s a bad movie- I would say that it’s definitely worth seeing, regardless of your age and history with game controllers. Show Hollywood that unique movies have their place at megaplexes. That movies like Scott Pilgrim are worth taking a chance on. Or that movies can build presence week after week, rather than simply vanishing.
Scott Pilgrim is out across the US at a theater near you. The soundtrack and score are available at stores and downloadable on iTunes and Amazon. The graphic novels (all six volumes) are available through Oni Press at bookstores.