Film #96: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Scott Pilgrim VS. The Worlddirector: Edgar Wright
language: English
length: 112 minutes
watched on: 16 October 2013

I rewatched this for the first time since I watched it three years ago. It’s about young people in Toronto, and the story follows the relationship between the main character Scott Pilgrim and his new girlfriend Ramona Flowers – but he has to defeat her seven evil exes in a video gamesque fight to the death.

I think the style of the movie is called Magical Realism. I’ve seen it quite a lot but only recently found out the name. Basically it means the relationships are fairly realistic, but then he pulls out a sword and defeats the enemies videogame style, complete with 8-bit dinging sounds and coins everywhere. Because the film is adapted from a comic (which I also read three years ago), there are many cartoonish conventions and words that appear on the screen. Edgar Wright’s direction is, as ever, energetic and cartoonish in itself, and fits the story very well.

Scott Pilgrim gets a lot of flak from people for basically being about hipsters. I guess I don’t really care about that. It’s fun, and they have a kind of life that I’d like to have myself, actually, especially considering the gay characters who dip in and out of the storyline. Ramona Flowers is definitely hipster, but she also follows the Magic Pixie Girl trope (she’s free-spirited, which helps Scott Pilgrim Find Himself or something) very closely, and the film’s attitude towards her isn’t very positive: she’s very much something that Scott Pilgrim has to fight for like a knight in shining armour (this is very different from the books if I remember correctly), and she’s not as fleshed out as a character as she should be.

It was also a bit ambitious to take on all seven exes in one film, since some of them barely get any screentime. The Japanese twins don’t even speak, which is disappointing because I’d like to learn more about them and some of the others too (I’ve forgotten what was in the books). Similarly, I’d like to see more of the gay characters on screen, like the roommate Wallace, who has half of the best lines in the film. There are six books in total, and it would have been very easy to split the film to include more of the material. A part of me would like them to make a sequel or another story set in the same world, but I don’t think this made much money, so that might not happen. Oh well.

It is good overall, but it’s the individual moments that make it, and often the parts of the story don’t gel particularly well together. I’d recommend it just for the obscure videogame references, but if you don’t know them there are enough that you might not get as much out of the film as I did.

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