MIFF2010: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

 
SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD
 
Scott Pilgrim VS The World is the best Hollywood film of the year. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) is 3 from 3 and with his new film is immediately elevated to one of the most kinetic and creative film-makers working today. This film almost feels like a giant mash-up that serves us an abundance of meta-references from television, film, video games, music and pop culture. If you get every joke in this film then you are a well informed culture vulture indeed.
 
Based on a cult graphic novel of the same name the story follows Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera in his best performance to date), a shy, awkward 22 year-old bass player in a band called The Sex Bob-ombs (one of the many Super Mario Bros references in the film). Scott eyes Ramona Flowers at a party one night and immediately falls in love but little does he know that Ramona has a history of seven evil ex's that Scott must overcome to win Ramona's heart.
 
The evil ex's are all cast perfectly (Chris Evans was my favorite as skate-boarding action hero Lucas Lee) but Kieran Culkin steals every moment he is in, giving a truly revelatory performance as Scott's gay room-mate offering a caustic commentary on events as they unfold.
 
Wright has created an absolutely unique and hyper-active film. This is the best film I have seen that has tried to emulate the spirit of video games, on-screen text abounds (power up and extra life titles feature prominently) while  characters explode into coins when they are defeated, this is truly unlike anything I have ever witnessed, simultaneously being incredibly referential while also wholly original and innovative. It is a powerfully fast-paced film that will alienate some viewers but when there is such a high amount of creativity thrown at you, one can't help but be left with a giant grin on one's face!
 
The fight scenes are also stunning, refreshing in their clarity and escalating as the film progresses while slipping in sly jokes at the expense of hipsters and vegans. It doesn't need to be explained why characters have super-powers and how Scott can fly through the air. This is classic hyper-kinetic cartoon stuff and the film doesn't stop to take a breath at any point.
 
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is an immediate classic. A film that sums up a generation (I really want to use the word zeitgeist but I'm biting my tongue), it rewards repeat viewings and is also the most hilarious comedy I have seen in years. The Seinfeld joke is worth the price of admission alone. A must see!
 
 

Comments

I liked the Seinfeld joke, but I found the fight scenes really dull towards the end. It was clear that Scott was going to win, what was the flipping point... To me, the use of text images (kapow etc) seemed unoriginal - like I'd seen them before.

Do you think this film references Funny Games with its rewinding of time sequence?!??!?!

I'd be interested to know if your opinion of the film changes on a re-re-re-watch. You posted this in August which might have been before the 'hype machine' got its fingers on it! Watching it post-hype felt like a bit of a disappointment.

And what does this film think about women, in any case? It felt like there was a missed opportunity to say something amusing about how useless Ramona's character was, apart from her one fight scene. Was it a Mario reference where she was meant to be like Princess Peach, constantly getting rescued?

I found the vegan joke a little overdone for my tastes... a bit too obvious.