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SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD is better than the sum of its pop culture references (review)

Rating: (Awesome)

Love is strange. It turns a life upside down; it shakes the morose out of the mundane of day-to-day life. When love enters, we feel anything is possible and the world is a kingdom we rule. For Scott Pilgrim, nothing is normal after Ramona Flowers skates past his Toronto lair. His world is a dream and his dream feels real. As it turns out, getting into the head of an Indie rocking, video game playing, movie quoting 22-year-old in love is more fun than you might think. You can cough it up to demographics if you'd like, but Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is one of the most honest films about relationships I've seen since 500 Days of Summer (one of my favorite films, ever) in the best and most ridiculous kind of way.

He'll fight, he'll fly, and then...he'll die

In Scott's (Michael Cera) world, he is the hero. He can fight; he can fly; he can crow. He's the kind of guy who'd know I just poorly referenced Hook. When Scott dreams of enchanted places, he hears the Great Fairy temple melody from The Legend of Zelda. When he describes his possessions, he imagines the opening scenes from Fight Club. To hit on a girl, he tells her the history of Pac-Man (who was originally named Puck-Man, wouldn't ya know). Scott is, well, not all that different from a few million teen-to-twenty-somethings who have grown up in the media-overloaded "Information" Age. He's not all that different from me or many of you reading this review.

Perhaps that's why I have a certain sympathy for his situation. Scott is immature, but he's sincere. He knows what it feels like to be dumped, but pursues hearts he will break anyway because it's easier to break a heart later than be alone now. Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) is only 17 (five years his junior) and most definitely one of those girls. She's never kissed a boy, and it turns out, neither has he. She is infatuated with Scott. He has an Indie band named Sex Bob-Omb, knows how to play DDR Ninja Ninja Revolution, and shops at the Goodwill. He is the coolest boy she's ever met. Did I mention he's 22?

When Ramona enters the picture, Scott says ciao to Knives without blinking and Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) becomes his everything. He infatuates himself with her much like Knives did with him and for some reason, she gives the geek a shot. As they get to know each other, Scott learns about Ramona's past, including all her old boyfriends. In the real world, we grapple with our partner's past relationships internally. In Scott Pilgrim's world, he literally must fight Ramona's baggage in duels to the death, ala Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Her past boyfriends have formed a League of Evil Exes, determined to destroy Scott and Ramona's relationship. Luckily, in his world, Scott is the master of his domain. Even the nastiest bully has a tough time taking Pilgrim down on his turf.

Have you seen a girl with hair like this?

Scott Pilgrim is a beautiful film. I've never seen live-action blend with overtly animated special effects so well. Granted, I haven't read the Scott Pilgrim comic book series, but I did skim its Wikipedia page a couple times. Edgar Wright brings entire frames to life, while adding a flurry of personal music and editing touches.

Like the sixties Batman series, sounds are visual in Pilgrim. When he punches someone, we see the word *Pow!* pop up. When an Evil Ex grinds on a skateboard, he defies gravity as if he's in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Many effects from video games, other movies, TV, anime, and manga all come to life as if they're completely normal parts of our everyday life. (No matter how hard I wish, no, there isn't really a Vegan Police Dept. headed by Actor Thomas Jane.) The movie is full of fun visual tricks, many of which I've never seen before.

Why so serious?

There's going to be a sect of people who don't get Wright's new movie. Some will have good reasons, and others will blame it on age gaps, "the ADD generation," immaturity, video games, Michael Cera fatigue, or something else. Really, they just need to relax. There is no movie everybody likes. Hell, someone even hates Toy Story 3. I'd argue that a great film is a great film regardless of the pop culture it taps into. Still, I suppose I am the "target audience" for Scott Pilgrim.

  • Age: 26
  • Sex: Yes, please Male
  • Hobbies: Video Games, Movies, Tech, TV
  • Status: Geek
  • Music: Rock
  • Mind: ADHD

The thing is, while I appreciate and have fun picking out the pop culture references, I like Scott Pilgrim because it tells a meaningful tale in a creative, fun way. Kick-Ass and Zombieland were equally well done in their own distinct ways. If Scott Pilgrim vs. The World were edible, it would be garlic bread, which is my favorite food. I could honestly eat it for every meal. Or just all the time without even stopping.

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