Looking Back at ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’

(Originally written on October 28, 2017)

Back in 2010, a small film titled Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was released. Though it was just pure fun and extremely entertaining, the movie wasn’t a financial success. This is unfortunate because it felt like director Edgar Wright saturated the whole movie with his own flair and creativity. Granted, it may not be the type of movie that will win an Oscar, nor have the deepest of plots, it’s worth watching a second time (or first time if you’ve never seen it).

Based on the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley, the story of the film revolves around the character of Scott Pilgrim (played by Michael Cera). He is a fairly normal guy who lives in Toronto, plays in a rock band with his friends, and just goes about his daily life. That is, until he hears about a girl named Ramona Flowers (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) while at a party. Our main character is instantly attracted to her, despite already being in a relationship of sorts. Little does Scott know that to date Ramona, he has to go through her seven [evil] exes, which turns his everyday life upside down wherever he goes. He also learns about relationships (albeit in a comedic way) while going through all this and matures a bit in the end. At least I think he does.

There are three key things that stood out for me while enjoying this movie: the actors, the visual style, and the music (oh man, the music!). Let’s break it down, shall we?

This being a less-serious type of movie, it helped that all the actors involved fully committed to their roles. No matter how big or small the role, no matter how over-the-top, everyone is a joy to watch. And the cast list isn’t a joke either! Along with Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, we also have Kieran Culkin, Alison Pill, Ellen Wong, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza and Brie Larson. To me, this movie was like a gathering of actors and actresses who were either already well-known or working towards that. Amazing young talent! And we can’t forget those who played the seven [evil] exes: Satya Bhabha, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Mae Whitman, Shota & Keita Saito, and Jason Schwartzman. Overall, the cast is a great mix of characters who all bring their best to the table to produce something that just leaves you smiling.

As for the visual style that Edgar Wright brings, it is clearly inspired by nerdy things like video games and comics. To those who are a fan of said nerdy things (such as myself), all the effects and small touches are perfect, adding much to every scene that has them. No worries for people that aren’t as versed in things of a nerdy nature! You can still enjoy the movie for what it is!

Lastly, the music! Let me say first that the music is geared more towards the genre of rock. So if you are not a rock fan at all, this might not be the movie for you. Or perhaps you watch this film and find that you now enjoy rock music. Anything can happen, right? Let’s just move on. Since Scott plays bass in a band, it only makes sense the music in the movie is mainly rock music. There is even one scene where he has a bass battle with another character. As a casual bass player myself, I thoroughly enjoyed that part. Meanwhile, the music that fills the transitions are upbeat and keep the movie going. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but nice to listen to nonetheless.

So if you’re looking for a fun movie where there isn’t too much heavy drama with likable characters and silly over-the-top situations (it is based on a comic after all), why not give Scott Pilgrim vs. The World a watch if you haven’t seen it yet? And for those who have and liked it, then you know what I’m talking about! Also note there are few instances with profanity, and some violence.

- A. Shin

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