“An epic of epic epicness.” That tagline pretty much sums up the geeky action film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Based on the Bryan Lee O’Malley comic book series, the story centers on 23-year-old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) who, in order to win the heart of Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends and one ex-girlfriend (from her “sexy phase”).
From the moment the Universal Studios logo appears in 8-bit to an 8-bit Pilgrim beating up “The End” (gotta stay for the credits for that one), the movie uses old school references to the 1980s Nintendo console with today’s movie magic to really make it pop. Additional effects like floating text biographies to introduce each character and a “pee bar” that’s just like a health bar but monitors Pilgrim’s bladder that makes it more than just a movie adaptation. This is a live action comic book/video game.
Every battle sequence between Pilgrim and the exes become more and more epic as Pilgrim leveled up after each round, inching closer to Flowers. The over-the-top fights were animated with vibrant words such as “Thud!” and “Bam!” just like in the original 1960s Batman series but not as cheesy to be visually stimulating without causing a headache. But with everything jumping on the 3D bandwagon, why wasn’t this movie thrown into the mix? That would have made Scott Pilgrim vs. the World even more awesome, so awesome that geeks’ heads would explode.
As for the acting, people were skeptical with Cera’s ability to play more than just the clever whiny dude he seems to be in all his movies. But Cera pulls it off as Pilgrim. Maybe it’s the shaggy hair in desperate need of a haircut, but Cera is able to break away from playing himself to become Scott Pilgrim.
Aubrey Plaza, who plays bitchy, always-has-to-ruin-everyone’s-good-time Julie Powers, shines during her brief but impactful scenes whenever she seems to pop out of nowhere to put Pilgrim back in his place when necessary. Not bad for a girl who’s still relatively new to the acting game. It won’t be a surprise if this new face is in more comedies.
However, trying to fit six books of material into a two-hour movie inevitably meant that some minors characters and story lines were either written out or rearranged to get it all in. It also made the plot seemed a bit rushed. But with director Edgar Wright, who also directed Hot Fuzz and Shawn of the Dead, fans of the series will appreciate how spot-on the scenes and hilarious jokes transform on screen.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is seriously a huge geek-fest for those that can appreciate wit and sarcasm all wrapped up in a lot of video games and comic book references, but is still enjoyable for those too cool for school non-geeks out there who haven’t read the series.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opens in U.S. theaters on August 13, 2010. To find a showtime near you, visit www.scottpilgrimthemovie.com.