Unleashed imagination is a hell of a rare thing to find at the movies this play-it-safe summer. Inception, sure, but then what? Try Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a dazzling distillation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six-volume graphic novel. Many graybeard critics don’t understand what any sentient being past the age of reason could find of interest in Scott’s plight to win the love of dream girl Ramona Flowers by defeating her seven evil exes in mortal combat. Even with the stellar Michael Cera bringing Scott to vivid flesh-and-blood life, the drill is that comic-book movies are kid stuff. And the haters laugh at the pretension of calling a comic book a graphic novel, same thing as labeling porn adult entertainment…read more [RollingStone]
Could Michael Cera be getting more vaporous with each repeat of his epicene screen persona? His Scott Pilgrim is so pale, so enervated, so solipsistic, I’d swear I could see right through him. Add in the faux hip, self-congratulatory, dork-pandering assault of the first half-hour or so of Edgar Wright’s adaptation of the Bryan Lee O’Malley comic-book series — not to mention the non-stop Pavlovian laugh track provided by the audience at the screening I attended — and you have a candidate for most irritating performance of the year.
Fortunately, the “vs. the World” part — the series of unabashedly absurd mano-a-manos between Scott and the exes of his new love, Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) — kicks in not a moment too soon. Another plus is the music composed by Beck and Nigel Godrich to be performed by Scott’s band, Sex Bob-Omb. (The allusion to Super Mario Bros. is just the start of the suffocating homage to retro video games.) Indeed, anything that stifles the Juno-esque dialogue, the cutesy spelled-out sound effects à la the old Batman TV show, the music cue from Seinfeld, and all the other pop detritus is welcome. Whatever gives Wright a fighting chance to engage in a more kinetic and comedic mode, one worthy of the director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz…read more [The Boston Phoenix]
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Poster (mondotees.com)
Scott Pilgrim is a film where people will take the DVD and then match it up with the panels from author Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six-volume comic series. Fans of the books will recognize plenty of shots, but don’t mistake this for a slavishly-loyal comic-book movie. Wright finds a way to honor O’Malley’s artwork and style, but then imbue it with elements unique to cinema. It’s why the edit so important and Scott Pilgrim highlights how that technical aspect distinguishes movies from other artforms. It’s not simply a matter of copying O’Malley’s composition. It’s about how long to hold the shot, the music to apply, the performance required, and every other aspect that was carefully chosen. In every interview I’ve seen with the actors, there’s one thing they all say, “Edgar knew exactly what he wanted.” When you see the breathtaking level of skill in required to create the final product, you can only wonder, “How could he not?”…read more [Collider]
Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a mash up of pop culture from the past 40 years that’s wound up in a tight package and set to detonate. It’s structured like any video game in the classic hero’s journey model of fighting mini-bosses before the ultimate baddie. That ultimate baddie is Gideon Graves – a record executive and Ramona’s most recent, most psychologically abusive ex.
Director Edgar Wright makes Attention Deficit Disorder into a thing of beauty here – tossing out convention while playing around with it. The visuals are stunning and range from the simplest of blacks on whites to the electric kool-aid acid of your favorite video game from 1993. That same technical proficiency bleeds throughout every aspect of the film whether it be the bass-thumping soundtrack or the mimicry of comic book panels that create what can only be described as a smooth freneticness between the film’s scenes…read more [FilmSchoolRejects]
A t first the crazy-quilt inventiveness of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World can put you over the moon: Yes, this is how you bring a graphic novel to life onscreen! The British director Edgar Wright made Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and he understands the healthy connection between ordinary dreamers and their huge, melodramatic, movie-infused dreams. He takes Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Canadian mangas (in which the mundane meets the superheroic) and concocts a syntax all his own: part comic panel, part arcade video game—from the era of Pac-Man and Galaxian and Space Invaders, before virtual reality killed so much of the fun. The anarchic Warner Bros. cartoonist turned feature director Frank Tashlin (Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?) would have been too happy watching Wright at play: Locations feature pop-up “fun facts,” sounds come with illustrative words (“ding dong!”), a smooch triggers pink hearts. And that’s before the 22-year-old slacker-guitarist Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) becomes a ker-powing superman above the stages of Toronto’s rock clubs…read more [New York Magazine]
Edgar Wright is cinema’s most inspired mash-up artist, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World may be his finest hybridization to date, a romantic comedy recast as a mêlée-heavy video game that stands shoulder to shoulder with his zombie rom-com Shaun of the Dead and his Michael Bay-ified Ealing comedy-meets-Wicker Man actioner Hot Fuzz. In the sense that Wright’s films are steeped in pop culture, he stands as a kindred spirit to Quentin Tarantino, though his is a more jovial, heartfelt, rambunctious body of work, one in which all manner of camera tricks—whiplash edits, scene-connecting pans and wipes, outlandish CG—function as direct extensions of his parodies-cum-homages. Wright loves to flaunt his influences but isn’t afraid to acknowledge how silly his referentiality-overloaded stories can be, and that balance between earnest affection and self-conscious jokiness energizes his latest…read more [Slant Magazine]
For a certain demographic, the language spoken in “Scott Pilgrim” will serve as almost an entertainment Esperanto. For other viewers, a great majority of viewers, “Scott Pilgrim” may suffer from literal and thematic cacophony. It probably won’t take viewers long to know which camp they fit into. If you cheer at the Atari-inspired Universal logo, if you groove on the jarring panel-to-panel editing, if you’re ready to rock out to the Beck-penned Sex Bob-omb songs, if you accept the whimsical notion that the girl you love could literally rollerblade through your brain, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” will probably resonate on more than one level…read more [HitFix]
Put simply: Scott Pilgrim is a blast! The total package is a wildly comic journey into the head of a true original. If you are under 25 you will find all of it really, really funny. For those stick-in-the-mud oldies knocking on 30 and beyond it may be hit and miss, but it’s their loss because this graphic novel adaptation about a guy pursuing the unobtainable girl of his dreams in pure kung fu fashion is a dizzying, dazzling, loud ride with a cast of characters you won’t soon forget. If the choice for its targeted young demographic is Scott Pilgrim vs. anything else, go with Scott, dudes. It’s a good time and should prove to be star Michael Cera’s biggest hit in a while, eclipsing the sort of similar (if more pretentious) Nick And Nora’s Infinite Playlist, which traversed the same young, singles, romantic landscape but without the half a dozen kickass fight scenes thrown in…read more [BoxOfficeMagazine]
In “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” the inventive, free-floating ode to nerdville, the comic-book geek stays in the picture. Whether it’s Scott’s everyday loser life or his ninja-fighting, super-powered imaginary one, it’s all played with a sort of Michael Cera-styled sweet, nebbishy sensibility that works well since the real Michael Cera actually got the role. Go figure.
Actually, there was a lot of figuring to be done to convert Bryan Lee O’Malley’s distinctive artistic, and loosely autobiographical, musings about a 22-year-old Toronto native whose life is framed by his total lack of ambition until he’s in a fight to the death to woo the girl of his dreams. Whew. Which is why Edgar Wright of “Shaun of the Dead,” with all its slacker-zombie nonsense, seemed like such a good choice to direct. He was…read more [LA Times]
In some ways, we’ve seen Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World before. Director Edgar Wright adopts the same postmodern eschewing of pop culture used by Natural Born Killers, Sin City and every Quentin Tarantino film ever made. Comic-book sound effects crowd the frames with the actors, competing with clever time progression, snarky dialogue and an overall tone which screams “look at us commenting on society’s disposable nature!” It’s hugely funny and exhibits a visual spark which few films aspire to, but it doesn’t feel especially new or different. At least at first.
As time goes on, however, and we settle into Wright’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it universe, the true extent of his evil genius becomes known. He’s not mocking pop culture in a postmodern fashion; he’s mocking postmodernism itself. The hip, cynical, too-cool-for school barrier that Gen Xers throw up to shield themselves from constant media bombardment; the ADD blipstream of throwaway references masquerading as clever dialogue; the widespread attitude that relentless mockery is the only way to stay safe from the world… all of that serves as targets for the director’s wit. With that single act, he moves Scott Pilgrim into the ranks of near genius…read more [Mania.com]
U.S. Release Date: 2010-08-13
Running Length: 1:55
MPAA Classification: PG-13 (Violence, Profanity, Sexual Content)
Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh, Alison Pill, Jason Schwartzman, Ellen Wong
Director: Edgar Wright
Screenplay: Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright, based on the graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Music: Nigel Godrich
U.S. Distributor: Universal Pictures
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Video Review