Posted by: greercn | September 6, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

This delightful and very funny film exceeded all my expectations. When I watched the trailer, I saw cuteness and a little Canadian scenery and content. That will be a light and easy evening, I thought. Really, this is huge fun and punches way above its weight, creating many laughs and featuring many original ideas and scenes.

Its 112 minutes entertain you so very well that I think anyone would enjoy it. Quirky, stylish and with loads of charming touches from the worlds of comics and video games, you might argue that the plot is a little anti-feminist and traditional.

Yet the glorious female characters pretty much steal the movie from the guys.  If you are expecting an exact replica of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s distinctive and Canadian Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, you will be disappointed. Otherwise, you will thoroughly enjoy this tale. The comic stories are compressed, but the spirit is true.

Geeky looking Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) plays bass in a band and falls in love with the distinctive Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

There are obstacles. Scott is 22 but is dating Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) who is a 17-year-old schoolgirl. He is teased about this by his band-mates and by his gay flat-mate, the outrageously funny Wallace, ably played by Kieran Culkin.  The  other big snag is that Scott has to defeat Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends to be able to date her.

What a hoot! Each of the exes brings a new level of cheerful silliness to the story. The acting is good, the script crackles and the effects are utterly wonderful.  Scott finds out about his problem on the road to love via email – and he deletes the message.

The scene featuring the “vegan police” – what a lovely invention – and the sequences set at my favourite building in the world, the Casa Loma are just two parts of a very satisfying whole. Sounds and captions are used to great creative effect. I nearly stayed to watch it again, immediately.

The American actor Chris Evans plays Lucas, an actor and an evil ex. Two characters discuss the merits of movies versus comics. Just for once Toronto isn’t pretending to be New York and there can be few romantic scenes as pretty as one here set on swings in the snow.

Satya Bhabha as Matthew Patel has a scene that had the Stratford Picture House audience laughing a lot. Mae Whitman, Alison Pill, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza and Brie Larson all play distinctive women. Jason Schwartzman, Brandon Routh, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons and Nelson Franklin bring great characters to life with fantastic energy.

Just go see it. You won’t regret it. The energy of the directing by Edgar Wright and the script he wrote with Michael Bacall fizz with wit and pace. For real obsessives, there’s a cameo by Bryan Lee O’Malley as a bar patron at Lee’s Palace and a very gorgeous manga graphic at the end of the credits.

A great and comic tale was exactly what I needed because my dear friend Ken d’Albenas died suddenly and unexpectedly last Wednesday. Ken and I watched many movies together between 1972 and 2010, starting with “The Candidate” and ending with the new “Sherlock Holmes”. Ken got me to start this blog and showed me how to do it, patiently writing instructions on different things. I shall miss him. My thoughts tonight are with his mother, brother, family and his many other friends. K. E. d’Albenas, 1952-2010. Rest in peace as you brought that and more to so many lives.

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Responses

  1. I enjoyed it too overall. Is Toronto really that eerie a place to live though? I thought the setup at the beginning tried to make the story seem as if it was meant to be believable, and some of those situations were fairly cringeworthy, but when the action and duals kicked off it was way better dynamically. And more funny. I saw it with my bro who is a english equivalent of the character scott pilgrim so that was a bit odd. He even eats bacon as a meal like scott pilgrim did! Sigh

    • Toronto is a great city but the Casa Loma is a bizarre castle thing and they use that building – my favourite – really well. Have you read the graphic novels? They are wonderful.


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