Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Posted in Reviews by - May 27, 2013
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Hyper-kinetic big budget American debut for Edgar Wright – without longtime collaborator Simon Pegg – who somehow scrambles an ambitious, eclectic and surreal masterpiece with indie sensibilities past the gaze of a major American studio.

Famed for his satirical Brit-coms Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, this epileptic delight feels more like his quick-fire sitcom Spaced in its deadpan delivery and chaotic knack of mixing the sublime with the ridiculous. Few contemporary comic book adaptations revel so richly in cult appeal that you can’t help but applaud the film’s brash, unapologetic vigour.

There is simply no let up in both sassy comedy and cartoon japery as the movie follows dweebish uni grad’ Scott Pilgrim (the excellently understated Cera), a bass playing romantic who dumps the obsessive Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) in favour of kooky bright haired bombshell Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), but only on one condition. In order for them to date, Pilgrim must defeat all of her evil ex’s in bouts of Streetfighter-esque combat, which won’t be easy, considering one of them – as a romantic gesture – punched a hole in the moon. “Why does everything have to be so complicated?” complains Scott as another fantastical ex-amore reveals themselves to have supernatural powers of telekinesis, or spontaneous acts of kung fu prowess.

Wright creates a crazy hybrid of indie teen comedy and fantasy action, contemporising his favourite video game tropes for a modern audience, much like he did with zombie cliches for Shaun of the Dead. If there can be any criticism it is that he maybe plays it too personally with eclectic references which may not sit comfortably with all viewers. That’s certainly not a criticism one could label at the mass appeal of this film’s contemporary, Kick-Ass, which looks like Driving Miss Daisy in comparison.

Here, a fuzzy garage rock soundtrack sits beside Nintendo 8-bit audio, characters are given scorecards and health bars like arcade characters, and words continually appear on screen like old episodes of Batman. During combat scenes, fighters deliver video game combos and explode into pools of coins. One fight scene is entirely replaced by a bass battle like the bonus level on Guitar Hero.

The film is far too wild to ever be deemed irksome. It is such a surprising enigma that you should quite rightly criticise every other film for being utterly boring in comparison.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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