Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Probably helps if you’ve been playing Zelda all your life, but either way, this is without a doubt one of the best damn things that’s happened to 2010 so far. That federal bailout stuff doesn’t even come close.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is about a 23-year-old bass player in a garage band who starts going out with a 17-year-old after being dumped my his long-time girlfriend who ended up being a stone cold bitch. Then one day he has a dream about a girl with pink hair and rollerblades, then he actually sees her in the library, then he puts the moves on her with the old “Do you know the history of Pac-Man?” line, somehow it kind of works, then they start going steady and all is right in the world. So, things are going swell, but then everyone’s favorite Canadian bassist finds out the hard way that in order to date the girl of his dreams, he first has to destroy her seven evil exes who are hell-bent on controlling her love life by any means necessary.

Quite the bummer, but he man’s up to the challenge nonetheless like the love fool he is.

Now, I’ve never read the graphic novels this movie is based off of, but with my birthday coming up in October, they just made the cut in a big way along with The Ultimate Clint Eastwood Collection (one of the many perks of having your parents read your reviews). With that being said, I didn’t really know what to expect going into this, but the second I heard that Edgar Wright was attached to direct, I was on board, I was excited, I’m pretty sure I shit my pants and didn’t even care.

Folks, this is the guy behind Shaun of the Dead, the movie that reinvented the wheel and more or less deemed all horror comedies made from that point on to suck royally in comparison to its greatness. This is also the guy behind Hot Fuzz, the movie that also reinvented the wheel, that finally brought something new to buddy cop genre and helped us to hate the prospect of Rush Hour 4 that much more than we already did. Point is, Wright’s a natural born Earth-shaker, a guy who knows how to work a camera like it’s was fused into his umbilical cord and I don’t care if he never gets around to making a drama ’cause he’s one of the few great directors out there who refuses to settle for all the crap that’s already been done. We should be kissing his Keds for providing us with this much-needed service.

Not surprisingly, everything he’s always done better than everyone else is more or less brought to a point of near-perfection with Scott Pilgrim. In terms of pacing, this baby MOVES. I was highly doubtful that Wright would manage to fit seven boss battles into the span of a reasonable time constraint without leaving room for a sequel, but he does it like a boss and it’ll make you wonder why the rest of these directors have been taking so much damn time going from one scene to the next all these years. And the action scenes are freakin’ unreal, some of the coolest and fresh throwdowns I’ve seen in ages that flat-out pimp slaps anything that King Hack Michael Bay has ever had to offer.

But the wonderful thing about this movie that literally had me smiling and laughing for two hours straight is that it’s not exactly grounded in reality and it takes so much pleasure in breaking down that fourth wall like it was never even there. It’s like watching a live-action comic book where finishing blows are accompanied by a giant on-screen “K.O.” and the sound of someone reaching an epiphany is the same ditty Link finds when he opens a treasure chest, and it’s like discovering raw awesome in its purest, most undiscovered form. Yet so much of why it all works is because the writing is so endlessly sharp, witty, and original. The dialogue, the characters, the scenarios, the story – absolutely amazing, just wild stuff that’s non-stop fun.

And Michael Cera has earned himself a big ol’ shout-out for his turn as Scott Pilgrim because he has finally shed George-Michael and blossomed into a total badass who looks more natural wielding a flaming sword than anyone could have possibly imagined. He’s still the nice guy we all know, he still has a couple moments that made me think back to Superbad, but this is a huge step in the right direction for the kid and I’m happy to report that my typecasting worries have been put to rest. Absolutely perfect casting choice to convey the rampant dry humor of the script.

But everyone else is great, too.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is awesome as Romana Flowers, the girl with absolute worst dating record I’ve ever seen. Kieran Culkin of all people is a rip as Scott’s gay roommate, Wallace. Newcomer Ellen Wong is a peach as Scott’s obsessive High School squeeze, Knives Chau. Crawling out from the rock he’s been hiding under since taking on the mantle of Clark Kent, Brandon Routh is great as one of Ramona’s evil exes with the absolute best powers of the mighty seven, and the same goes for Jason Schwartzman as Gideon, the M. Bison of the evil exes. Also features two kickass Arrested Development cameos from Ann (her?) and Homeless Dad (who still just wants his kids back) in roles that I’d rather keep secret for the time being.

And those are just the ones that are coming to mind, think I left out a good half-dozen others who all rock as hard. Just perfect casting all around. A thing of beauty, I tell ya’.

All the same, I admit it, I don’t expect everyone to walk out of this and have the same uber-ecstatic reaction that I did, but have you ever seen a movie that feels like it was made just for you? It’s as though Edgar Wright and co-writer Michael Bacall read through the graphic novels, agreed that they were most excellent, sat down at a table with pens in hand and said (in unison, of course), “Let’s come up with as many references, gags and general nerd-power tributes that Aiden is going to flip his God damn lid over.” From obscure Akira references to knowing exactly what hell a Bob-omb is without even having to think about it, from the way all the evil exes turn into coins after being defeated to the way the whole damn experience is hands-down the best thing that’s happened to video games and movies since Tron, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is simply a movie after my own heart.

But lucky for everyone who has no idea what the hell I’m talking about, it’s not an experience reserved for all of us who still consider that Sega Genesis the best Christmas present we ever got. Point in case, I happened to see this with my good buddy Fred who’s favorite Christmas present of all-time was an American Girl Doll and who didn’t pick up on any of these anime/Nintendo/Street Fighter cues – although he is a pretty mean Mario Karter and can shred on Guitar Hero like you wouldn’t believe – and he ended up being crazy about it, too. So everybody wins! YAY!

Man, I’m just in love with this movie. If Pee-Wee Herman told me to marry it, I probably would and then we’d have ten freak children that we’d love to pieces. So get excited, gang, this is the movie of the Summer, maybe of the year.

Gotta get this soundtrack, too. Epic tunes.

10/10 Geekouts

To read more from Aiden Redmond, also be sure to check out Cut The Crap Movie Reviews.