Let’s start this off with a “Yes, I have read the books” and a “Yes, I am a fanboy who actually accepts others’ interpretations rather than being a dick about staying true to the original”.
In that case, I’m pretty damn pleased with Scott Pilgrim. It, like the comics, will more than likely become an underground hit in the same vein of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou or even Wright’s other film Shaun of the Dead. It will more than likely grow on people over time and the people who loved it the first time will gobble it up for repeat viewings. Hell, there are so many easter eggs and pop culture references (I found myself chuckling when the audience was silent), that would take days to dissect.
What I found most interesting was Edgar Wright’s use of eyeline and fake-out crosscuts to set a pace primarily in the beginning of the film. Eyelines are something generally unnoticed by viewing audiences and it works on a subconscious level. An eyeline is when a character looks left and the following cut shows us what they are looking at to the left of them. Wright sutures eyelines into the film to cross between completely different scenes making the scenes fluid and transitory between each other rather than definitive. It takes a lot of ingenuity to pull this technique off effectively in a new and fresh way, and I really respect him for it.
On that note, it must also be said about the obvious technique of blending images and text. Obviously, seeing a “WOOMPH” or “Click!” on screen is a complete throwback to the comics. (Speaking of which, was the meta-textual “the comics are totally better than the movie” quote made by Brian Lee O’Malley (the creator of Scott Pilgrim) making a cameo?). This technique, I can honestly say, has almost never been used before in film. And, it is a damn awesome technique. Mind you, it was soured a little by an audience member above my sister and I trying to be clever and read every goddamn thing that was on screen wittily aloud to his girlfriend. Nevertheless, the text worked incredibly well mixed in with the screen, and I found it not distracting at all. Sure, sometimes they blinked a little too fast off the screen, but that just means you’ll catch something new next time… and, really, it matched the pace of the film.
I found the acting to be pretty spot on and witty. You could tell that everyone had fun with their characters. It was overacted, naturally, but that worked well. This is a movie that seriously took itself not so seriously. With such a large cast, it’s a surprise that so many of the characters stood out from each other without being complete stereotypes. The film bathed itself in its comic book and videogame roots to burst into an oozing, gooey flower of sensory overload.
I suppose one issue that I had was that Scott is adorable, annoying, and you don’t always root for him. SO, they got Scott spot on. But, Ramona’s super mysteriousness never really erases itself and it seems like she has ulterior motives the whole time. Therefore, Ramona isn’t very likeable. If a director’s cut of the film comes out, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was slightly modified, but still. I heard some groans from the audience with the decision at the end. So, that sort of tacked the film back a bit.
The last battle confused me a bit until I realized “oh yeah, that’s what happens in videogames… which I should have known considering all of the times that has happened to me”.
Overall, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a movie worth seeing, if only for the vibrancy and freshness on the screen (without ascribing itself to the terror that is 3D). Sure, it missed things from the comics which are worth a read within themselves. But, I’m okay with that because it crafted itself into a pleasurable, fun film which is hard to ask from most films today.
Because I couldn’t believe that I liked the movie so much, I went and saw it again. Check out the Review Round Two.