Posted: 07/26/2010


Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

by Nathan Baker-Lutz

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Based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley

I stood alone in line for nearly 2 hours to see a screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World tonight. Fanboys abound as I read the latest issue of Wired. I ate before I left to save the hour’s wage the theater would suck from my wallet. I thought I’d come prepared.

I hadn’t. Scott Pilgrim is a hilariously spectacular overload of everything 20-something and living in your parent’s basement. Full of tasteful oddities and perfectly random quotes from action and anime, Scott Pilgrim manages to be full of nerd without having to include them in the movie. Scott, played by Michael Cera, is FINALLY not a sputtering, pathetic coward, and neither is his gay roommate, William, played by a forgotten but respectable Caulkin. Kieran, I think.

The trailer left me perplexed. The same shaggy-haired Cera wielding a beaten bass and fighting off evil ex-boyfriends, mixed with the purple Batman “Thud” and “Wham!” comic book action. What do you know, you are bombarded with just that from start to finish, but Edgar Wright (director, Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead) brings a perfect sense of hilarious violence. He has turned violence and style and humor into a perfect bit. A slapstick lesbian battle and a vegan mind reader wire fight are witty and clean but then gone with perfect timing.

Most surprisingly, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has a depth of story-telling rivaling films that don’t include bad guys producing coins upon destruction. Cera plays a strong hero whose fault is ignorant love. He battles, very literally, the past of Romona Flowers, played effortlessly by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and his own relational mistakes towards an understanding of what love is. I know it sounds cheesy and cliché but so much of this movie isn’t and it works.

In the end, this is a story of what will test a heart. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World subtly and absurdly preaches that everyone is required to deal with their past of love before they can keep it. It’s funny how a movie using comic-like information graphics and is only about battling ex-boyfriends can be subtle. It is so easy to get lost, however, in the rolling jokes and the fun that it must have been to make this movie that nothing is too obvious. Not even that his name is Pilgrim.

*Note: I am unfamiliar with the graphic novels but the movie includes multiple animations in the same style, along with exact scenes and dialogue.

Nathan Baker-Lutz Nathan is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Film and Video, including a concentration in Screenwriting. He has been writing for Film Monthly for 2 years.

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