Friday, August 13, 2010

Think Super Mario on Caffeine Only Better: A Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Review

Who needs a lightsaber when you can have the Power of Love?
And yes, the Power of Love is a sword. In case you were wondering.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World acts quite similar to the video games which it constantly references. A nonstop thrill ride shot at a downright frenetic pace, director Edgar Wright’s latest delivers the most sheer entertainment to hit theaters in a long time.

Michael Cera is the leader of said ride as a hero taking on the world (or perhaps more accurately, defeating his new girlfriend Ramona Flowers’ seven evil exes). Cera here does nothing anyone hasn't seen before: playing the endearing dorky and borderline girly wimp with a heart of gold and strange sense of humor, which he has repeated in nearly all of his roles. While this may throw off some, I was never particularly bothered by it. Cera does what he does best and has never done it better than in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Besides, the world Cera inhabits remains the true appeal.
Seriously, if Vegan Police don't actually exist,
they totally should.
Everything within the world of Scott Pilgrim performs interactively; life as it would be on a Nintendo played by a teenage boy. Set in Toronto, the look, feel, and sound of the whole place blows minds. Little things placed throughout just keep adding to the appeal. When a bass guitar thrums one can see little D's coming out of it, when someone swears a censored black square and noise pop up, and Seinfeld-esque applause or laugh tracks sound in the background. Small details can make a big difference and the team behind this world seems to understand this quite well. Additionally, the team has an understanding of modern pop culture. Almost every frame contains some sort of homage to indie rock, comic books, movies or of course video games, whether it be via dialogue or a visual. Fight scenes, of which there are plenty, each have their own vibe to be viewed. But every time, whether Scott Pilgrim has destroyed a pair of Asian twins with a monster created by the power of music or conquered a vegan by feeding him half and half, it begins with a Mortal Kombat-esque “fight!” sign and ends with an opponent shattering into a pile of shiny arcade coins.

Not forgotten are Scott Pilgrim’s various friends and relations who pop up all over, bound to give their take on or contribute to the protagonist’s crazy existence. Juggling supporting characters is difficult already, much less a younger, girl-expert sister named Stacy, gay roommate Wallace Wells, an annoying lady who is everywhere (Julie Powers), every member of the band Sex Bob-Ombs, and many, many more. Oh, and on top of all that, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is just plain hilarious. Few comedies maintain the sort of energy needed to continue rolling out consistent laughs. Michael Cera and company, on the other hand, pack more energy than a twelve year old following the consumption of a six pack of Monster energy drink.
Hooray for Product Placement!
Cynics will have a few issues to quibble over. Stylistically, some are bound to hate what they see. Adjectives such as “juvenile,” “oversexed,” and “exhausting” can and have been used to describe the piece and to a certain extent these stick. Speaking of style, there is far more of that than substance to be found. Each character maintains a set of basic traits and characteristics but beyond that there is not much there. Take Ramona Flowers, for instance. She, although interesting to see, in the end becomes just a prize for Scott Pilgrim to attain on his quest. When the moment comes for the hero to learn a big lesson about love and self confidence, it’s treated irreverently and inconsequentially, as a sort of unimportant side note that, by definition, must be employed. Cynical attitudes aside, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World KO’s the competition with a punch that make the cynical explode into thousands of shiny tokens.

Official YAMB Grade: Like
Yes. Aesthetically, it gives even
Chris Nolan's Inception
a run for its money.

Nate S Grade:
Aesthetics: A
Plot: B
Characters: B+
Acting: B+
Overall Grade: B+

“You Sack of Wine!”
-Nate S

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