Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World- he said

     2010 has been a dreadful year for movies in general. Movie stars are not commanding the same box office power they once held; esteemed blockbuster producers are failing all around, and all the meanwhile, moviegoers keep getting charged more to see extra dark “3D” movies that look like a graphic design student’s first project. Even though I digress, there are still really great movies here and there. (Inception was obviously one of them). This is why it is exciting to see a movie like Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World that comes out to show people the fun times that can be had at a movie. On its surface, the movie is about a lazy and kind of dickish protagonist, Scott Pilgrim (Cera not playing Cera for once), trying to win the heart of the wonderfully alluring Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by fighting her seven evil exes. But it is so much more; with its fast paced sense of humor, its entertaining visuals that add to the hilarity and deceptively deep story, Scott Pilgrim is my most recommended movie of the year.

     To preface, I will say that I have been a fan of the books and have read the entire series, so walking into this I had a bit of an idea of what this would look and feel like. It goes to say, that this is a great adaptation of the source material, and even if it doesn’t maintain the exact same events of the comics, it does keep the spirit. Director Edgar Wright has made what I imagine could very well be our generation’s version of The Graduate (Oh snap! Did I just go there?) This mirrors my generation’s overall feelings of confusion and uncertainty all while trying to find our meaning in this fast-paced world. The set and costume design was like seeing the book on screen, in the best way possible. The music is a particularly high point for me because the movie highlights three of my favorite artists, Beck, Broken Social Scene, and Metric. They all contributed music which masqueraded as the in-universe bands. Coupled with Nigel Godrich scoring (psst he’s Radiohead’s main producer for those that don’t know), you have aural and visual treats keeping you so busy you need to see this movie again.

     But what about the actors? I know everyone has the same complaint about Michael Cera at this point, and I will say he finally doesn’t play himself! I never saw Youth In Revolt, but I almost feel that this is an evolution of that role, where they said he was breaking away from playing the same tired character. In the comic, Scott is clueless, cocky and all the while being childish and a bit insecure of himself (why else would he date a high school girl?), and I have to say that Cera channels him well. When he hits on Ramona, there’s shyness to him, but he’s no Paulie Bleeker (his character in Juno). Plus! he does pretty amazing fight moves; hell the final battle is worth the price of admission alone, but I will say I am not 100% how much of the stunts he did himself. Among the large and awesome cast, Kieran Culkin, who plays his awesome gay roommate Wallace Wells, steals the show constantly from Scott. Ellen Wong, who plays Knives Chau, Scott’s high school girlfriend, is not annoying like in the book, and this makes her character all the better. Out of the evil exes, my favorite had to be Chris Evans as Lucas Lee, an overtly cocky movie star/skater, because his one-liners are amazing. And since I hated him so much, Jason Schwartzman, as Gideon, does a good job of making Gideon a complete tool, though I will say he’s basically the same character that he played from Funny People, which is getting old.

     As far as the story goes, the fans of the books will be greatly pleased. There are many times during the first 30 minutes of the movie where scenes are recreated perfectly from the books, giving you that awesome feeling that some people might’ve gotten from Watchmen. After that, the movie goes off into its own unique but good direction. This makes sense since the first draft of the movie was already done when the third book was released. The only time that the change of the story really bothered me was the final battle and the ending. While it was great, compared to the battle and ending of the book it felt a bit lacking. But this feels like a little fan boy nitpick.

     Even though I might be forgiving in ending of the movie, the editing and transitioning between scenes was a little strange at times, and might be off putting for some people. It’s very stream-of-consciousness, but if people aren’t familiar with the style of the book or “get” the movie, they will not like it. And in a weird way, I have a bit of a problem in how Scott and Ramona’s relationship starts. In the book, the relationship feels more organic, whereas the movie was just her liking him for no real reason, and maybe she was a bit frisky, but who knows. All of these are just personal quirks against it; it feels nothing major when compared to how big the applause was after both of the screenings I went to.

     For anyone that grew up loving video games, pop culture, and copious amounts of Mountain Dew and wants a movie with great fight scenes, visuals, and even a smarter-than-the-average-bear romantic comedy, go see Scott Pilgrim. Edgar Wright has managed to make not only an entertaining and hilarious movie, but also one that I believe speaks to a lot of twenty-somethings right now. While I noticed that a lot of older people in my screening liked the movie, the potentially niche appeal this movie has might be killer at the box office. Out of all of the movies coming out this week, Scott Pilgrim is the only that manages to be either original or entertaining.

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