Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010) Dir. Edgar Wright

The fanboys strike back

Spaced in Canada?

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) has a problem. He’s a twenty-something slacker who plays in a not-quite-crap band and lives in Toronto, and he’s surrounded by sarcastic friends and family who all appear just as confused as he is.  He’s also started dating a seventeen year old schoolgirl called Knives (Ellen Wong), and while she’s besotted with him and his band, Sex Bob-omb, he’s less than enthusiastic about, well, anything.

Then he gets a vision of a roller-skating girl with bright pink hair, and when he actually meets her for real, his life takes a turn for the stranger. For a start, there’s a ‘League’ of evil-exes between him and her, including former Superman Brandon Routh, and former Human Torch, Chris Evans. Only one thing left to do. Fight!

Apart from the fact that the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (former Miss Mclaine Mary Elizabeth Winstead) at first only seem to date him out of pity, there’s quite a lot to like about their fledgling relationship. I still preferred to hang out with his friends, to be honest, but I think that was the point. The others get to be mean to our poor Scott, and he gets to be appropriately baffled whilst performing a role that feels written for a twelve-years-younger Simon Pegg. This is appropriate given the film’s pedigree, spawned from the over-caffeinated mind of one Edgar Wright, who brought us the fabulous Spaced on UK’s Channel 4, the rom-zom-com Shaun of the Dead (2004), and that Hot Fuzz thing from 2007.

While those films featured most of the cast of Spaced and a few very familiar British TV faces, Scott Pilgrim contains a forthright blend of huge Hollywood actors, mildly familiar faces and complete unknowns. Many of these people are also Canadians, but don’t let that scare you. The cameos from the big names was occasionally distracting, but I could see the point of the evil exes being larger than life when pitched against tiny little indie-boy Michael Cera.

He half-heartedly battles his way through each evil ex, gradually getting better ts his trial, while his friends continue to make sarcastic quips. Bryan O’Mally’s comic provides the basis for these mash-ups, and the film really is nothing like I imagined it would be. I’d thought I’d avoided a lot of the hype, except for the film’s panel appearence at the San Diego Comic Con! After seeing most of the stars talk about Scott Pilgrim, I wanted to love this. There’s plenty about it I should love. But it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The hype led me to hope for a ton of non-stop anime-speed, suger-rush fuelled action and adrenaline fuelled fighting. You know, like Crank.

I have high standards!

Scott Pilgrim was, in fact, a great deal slower and weirder with its dreamy, romantic pace offset by a burning bass vibe as Scott Pilgrim’s heart is forced to beat harder. Events unfold in an off-kilter sort of way, making this more of a slow burner that occasionally blasts you with surreal, deep rock fuelled delights that rock the fabric of Scott’s world. So that much is true. Much of it is very, very funny as well. But  I wanted to like it far more – and I reckon that loving it will take a lot more watches on DVD/Blu Ray to truly appreciate just how cute, witty and far out Scott Pilgrim is actually meant to be.

I know there’s a good movie in there and I intend to extract it on its eventual release. Until then, you can always watched Spaced again and see how it all began.

Evil exes are almost as dangerous as too-high expectations. Let’s try again.


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