Monday, August 30, 2010

Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World


Okay, have you ever had one of those experiences that is so unimaginably strange that you just can't find the words to describe it? Imagine for a moment that while walking through the park, you ran into this.

If this makes sense to you, you may need psychiatric help.

It's one of those things where all you can do is just stare at it with an expression of mild confusion with your head tilted about 30 degrees to the side. All that you can say is some variation of "What?" as this ridiculously bizarre thing dances in front of your face expecting you to do something. Afterwards, you can't think of how to describe the experience - everything contradicts. It was awesome/boring, good/bad, and funny/scary. It was just... weird.

All in all, I think that the last few paragraphs provide a perfect opening to the real subject of this post: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. This movie is, in many ways, like the picture provided above. It's confusing, vaguely charming, possibly makes you laugh, and is one of the weirdest things that I have ever... EVER... seen in my LIFE. However, being weird doesn't necessarily make it bad. It's just mind-bogglingly odd as it turns the real world into its own little virtual playground. The way that this movie plays with the universe can be really fun at times, in a strangely off-beat way that takes you completely off-guard. This theme starts before you're introduced to any of the characters, before the action starts... before the movie even begins.

This is how the movie begins.

And it all goes up/downhill from there. I'm going to try to describe this movie as best I can - be aware that if what I say does not make sense, it is legitimately the movie's fault. You have been warned.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a movie about a young man named Scott Pilgrim. He is 22, plays bass guitar in a small band, and has a 17 year old girlfriend. For those of you who cling to reality, hang on to this as hard as you can, because this is the last shred of normality you get in this film. Scott has a dream about a girl his age with bright pink hair who also happens to be hot. Now, this normally wouldn't cause too much of a problem between him and his girlfriend Knives (Yes, his girlfriend is named Knives), but in this case the dream-girl turns out to be real. Scott then hones in on her like... well, like a 22 year old male flooded with hormones.

That is to say, oblivious to everything else.

She does the whole "I'm in to you, but not into you" thing for about 5 minutes before she starts taking off her clothing. Meanwhile, Knives starts becoming more and more of an obsessed stalker... and seriously, the last name you want your obsessed stalker girlfriend to have is "Knives."

So not long after Scott and the dream-girl (whose name is Ramona, by the way) start seeing each other behind Knives' back, an Indian Emo-kid name flies through a wall and declares that he and Scott must have a duel to the death. Using the powers of flight and martial arts. Scott then takes the obvious course of action (that is to say he mysteriously learns kung-fu) and does battle against the intruder and his team of Bollywood demon hipster girls.

Oh, and when he is inevitably defeated, he explodes into money.

I needed to look at this picture now, as it makes enough sense in comparison to ground me back into reality.

Okay... random people showing up to partake in duels to the death, I can handle. Main character fighting back exceptionally well despite never showing any previous athletic prowess? I can manage that. But the fact that nobody really questions the whole... flying people with demon hipster chicks thing? THAT'S JUST TOO MUCH TO HANDLE.

The rest of the movie is essentially a long string of fight scenes, one after the other. See, it turns out that mister flying-explodes-into-gold-coins-man is actually an old flame of Ramona's. There's this plot device about how she has seven evil exes who are trying to control her love life, and Scott must defeat them all in order to date her. Not surprisingly, this blindsides our protagonist more than just a little.

"Hey, neat, I have a girlfri - OH MY GOD IT BURNS!"

So yeah. There's a lot of fighting in this movie, seeing as Scott has to battle his way through six more of these clowns in order for the plot device to be fulfilled. Each of these fights is fun and entertaining in their own way, but when you put them all together it honestly gets tedious pretty quickly. By the time Scott has beaten the guy with psychic Vegan powers (Because being Vegan just makes you better than other people), it's pretty much downhill.

I really don't know how much more I can legitimately say about this movie without giving too much away. Let's just say that if you thought what I've already described is weird... man, you don't even KNOW what strangeness even is. So lets get down to the bare bones of this movie.

Scott Pilgrim does indeed go up against the world - he defies just about every law of nature imaginable. As I saw this movie, I mused to myself that watching it must be what being on drugs feels like. It is such a completely unique and bizarre trip that there is literally nothing in the world like it. It's simple oddness makes it almost worth watching on its own merit. It's also visually stunning - the use of interesting imagery combined with rather excellent cinematography provides a really exciting product. However, while this movie is very pretty, the visuals do not make up for some of the very serious problems that run rampant.

Like with Paris Hilton

Like most really weird movies, it's also incredibly confusing. It expects viewers to take so much for granted that it never actually answers any of the questions that would have maybe helped it to make sense. In addition, while Scott Pilgrim is very visually engaging, it goes much too far, to the point that I was relieved when the credits started rolling because my eyes finally had a chance to rest. It's not a good thing when the visuals of a film send the audience into sensory overload.

When it comes down to it, Scott Pilgrim is a movie of relatively limited appeal. You have to be a pretty specific kind of person to really get and enjoy this movie - that kind of person being a hardcore geek. The constant references to video games and comic books are a very large part of the movie's appeal, and anyone who didn't get them would have a lot of difficulty understanding... well, anything about this film.

Having never read the comic books, I can't say for sure if you'd enjoy it more having done so, though I suspect you probably would. That said? If the comics are anything like the movie, I'd hazard a guess that if you don't like one, you wouldn't like the other and vice versa. The bottom line is that at its core, Scott Pilgrim is a cult film. A really strange, odd, bizarre, weird, and confusing cult film.

Final Grade: C+


  1. I liked it. :P

    I never read the comics but maybe I just played way to many video games when I was younger.

  2. as for the first picture it is Aliens version of a dog in a CoG dream LOL ..

    keep up the reviews Bren