Friday, August 13, 2010

Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

To download to the audio version, right click here and choose "save as..." or "save link as..."

To listen, press the play button on the player below

So after last week I decided to start with the Art House movies this week instead of the first run movies. Funny thing is that my first choice theater, the local Regal Cinema hasn't been running any art house movies for the past month. So I looked at the regular movies and this week there was enough to keep my interest in that category and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was victorious in my selection of the week.

Imagine if you would taking a video game, a graphic novel, an MTV video, the Batman TV show and a John Hughes teenager angst movie and mashing them together. The result would be Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Who better to play the man with angst but Michael Cera, currently Hollywood's leading angst man! As Scott Pilgrim, Cera gives the character that certain nerdiness, shy, and questioning qualities as a twenty two year old who is dating a high schooler, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). While sleeping he has visions of a women with fuchsia hair or was it magenta...I can never seem to get those two colors right....roller blade past him. The next day, WHAM, he sees his dream girl in the flesh. Can this be coincidence? Probably not!

Scott tracks her down with the help of one of his friends who knows everyone. Turns out her name is Ramoa Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). She's just moved to the area to get away from her past. Awkwardly he manages to ask her out to a battle of the bands. He's the bassist in Sex Bob-omb who will be battling for a record deal. Gotta love a band name like that! During their song they are interrupted by Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha), one of Ramona's exes who Scott is told he must defeat in order to date her. Turns out there are seven exes and Matthew's just the first. When he confronts Ramona about it she responds "We all have baggage" to which Scott retorts, "Yeah well, my baggage doesn't try and kill me every five minutes."

So far what I've described is the typical boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girls love story formula. Nothing super exciting there. I mentioned MTV and video games and other influences....where does that come in? This is the part of the movie that I found very exciting and exhilarating and refreshing. There were many quick cut edits and at times non linear spatial cuts such as they are talking at one second in Scott's apartment and then next shot on the same conversation is at the record store. Add on top of that the sensibilities of panel frames from a comic book and the corniness from the Batman sound effect cards like "Pow", "Ker Plop" and "Spla-at" resulting in an eye feast while viewing. Some of the back stories for the exes were done in pure cartoon fashion. The fight scenes were staged like arcade games with power meters, hit counts and replays. From the very opening with the Universal Logo you know that the look and feel to this love story will be different.

With the stylized battles, drug references, language and sexual content the movie is rated PG-13 and runs for a very quick 112 minutes. Will everyone find this something to cheer about? Probably not. The visual language presented will probably turn some people off, but I don't think you'd be able to say you've seen anything like this before. It kept my eyes glued to the screen from the production company title cards all the way to the easter egg at the end of the movie.

The Movie Monkey

To subscribe to the audio podcast of the reviews via iTunes click here. Audio versions are released the following Wednesday.

To listen to the audio version, click here