Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Cinema Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

While summer '10 may have lacked in certain aspects, the silver-lining came in multiple stages. One of those bright stages of the deliriously enjoyable, without a single doubt, has been brought to us by the genre-smashing Edgar Wright; Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is an aimless 22 year old who lives his days training with his band Sex Bob-Bombs and dating a high schooler (Wong). That is until magenta haired Ramona Flowers rolls her way into Scott's life, literally, and captivates him into an obsession. Unbeknownst to him, if Scott wishes to date Ramona, he must defeat her seven evil exes, all of which are equipped with special powers.

Wright miraciously and downright successfully transfers Bryan O'Malley's series of Scott Pilgrim's adventures onto screen, truly re-defining what can be portrayed as fantasy and fusing videogame intellect with extreme care, and pulls off spinning an unusually, but profoundly, enjoyable and fantastically original twist on a story that has been thrown on-screen countless times before. With source material as unique and extravagantly charming as this, Wright, and the rest of the Pilgrim team, were off to an auspicious start.

Opening the film with electrifying, neon titles is the perfect example of the flick ahead, with the remaining 117 minute running time maintaining enough zeal to keep your eyes permanently glued to the screen. Profusely zany and exuding enthusiasm and ambitiousness, Scott Pilgrim is visually mindblowing, with the many "BAMF", "WHACK" and "THUD" comic-like words illuminating the screen after the quickfire-paced, well choreographed martial arts sequences are displayed in a hypnotic manner - proving first handedly that Cera can handle a physical role.

With the many failed game-to-film adaptations, it shows with Scott Pilgrim that the answer may lay in the source. With Pilgrim never becoming a fully functional game (that is until the film is properly released), it's unarguably easier to transfer - all the more with a willing cast as brilliantly pieced together as this. Cera carries the film throughout, as cute and innocent as ever but a character that forcefully demands physical capabilites, as well as a certain vulnerability to become likable enough. Co-stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (sporting multiple, hilariously dodgy wigs), Kieran Culkin, Johnny Simmons, Alison Pill and the adorkable Ellen Wong all shine vigorously with their quirky, potentially laugh-out-loud one liners, as do the seven evil exes (Chris Evans, Jason Schwartzman, Brandon Routh and Mae Whitman to name a few). Despite brief moments on-screen, each seem fleshed out enough to never come across as repetitive.

I'm not under any false pretenses, Scott Pilgrim won't be for everybody. While many will find Pilgrim's slacker lifestyle interpreted fantastically through comic, game, music and bold, clever scriptwriting, some may miss the point entirely. But, the finished product has the potential to become your favourite film, ever. Slick, dazzling and truly spellbinding, Edgar Wright's latest packs a heavy punch, lightening up summer with something that will hold firm as one of the year's most exciting, displaying that originality is not lost in mainstream cinema. Revel in Pilgrim's sheer awesomeness!


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