Personally I have trouble with pacing and often find a lot of movies too long or too rushed. Edgar Wright sets the pace at just the right speed here – Scott runs into one ‘evil ex’ after the next in a matter of minutes without the movie feeling too rushed. That’s quite an achievement, considering there’s six graphic novels condensed into 112 minutes of screen time.
Now to some kick ass fight scenes (and I do love me some kick ass fighting)… Everything about these fight scenes made me want a control pad in my hands to assist loser Scott in kicking some serious ex-ass. As soon as that oh so familiar “VS” graphic flashes up, you know what’s coming. There’s some serious sh*t about to go DOWN!
The most prominent fight scene whilst reading the novels, to me, was the first. Mr Matthew Patel and his ‘demon hipster chicks’. The transition into film is spot on – and this is a regular occurrence throughout. If you are not familiar with O’Malley’s comic books but have seen the movie, chances are you would be able to easily identify each movie scene. The characters have jumped off the page and onto the movie screen.
The combination of the on-screen graphics, quick one-liners and camera techniques which draw on similarities to ‘Street Fighter’ / ‘Mortal Kombat’ / ‘Tekken’ during the fights result in an exciting, exhilarating display of Scott’s fighting technique. He even manages to weasel his way out of a few K.Os. The Battle of the Bands scene featuring the Katayanagi brothers is the most literal translation of ‘battle of the bands’ you can imagine.
Yet it was always going to be Gideon Graves; the Big Boss, the evilest of exes, the ‘G-man’ who deserved the most memorable fight and it’s delivered. Not just once, but twice! First we see Scott declaring his love for Ramona, thus gaining the ‘Power of Love’ sword. Unfortunately Gideon is declared victor and Scott loses a life, banished to a dream wasteland. Luckily, he picked up an “extra life” earlier and seizes the option to ‘continue’. During the rematch we see Scott finally learn a life lesson (something we have been waiting for throughout the entire film) and gain the ‘Power of Self Respect’ sword which, being more powerful (because self-respect is more powerful than love right readers?) gives Scott the edge over Gideon.
I was really impressed with the style in which these scenes came together - pixels galore! Combining 8-bit swords with a fight scene was a bold move, but it simply looked outstanding.
Thus I have deduced:
Pixels + OTT Graphics = Best. Swordfight. Ever.
Shifting focus slightly
I really enjoyed the little visual stimulants throughout “Scott Pilgrim vs the ”. It’s an old-school gamer’s wet dream. From the 8-bit Universal intro to the climactic sword fight and everything in between. Every gamer knows that the ultimate reward for defeating your enemies is coins (or XP)!
For me, this movie served as a sentimental masterpiece – calling on memories of video games before HD. Memories of playing 8-bit video games of my youth, before I even thought to care about graphic quality. Scott Pilgrim vs the World takes a step back in time and is made all the better for doing so.
David Edelstein, writing for New York Movies tends to disagree. To some extent, perhaps his article is an example of why ‘Pilgrim’ isn’t a movie for everyone. People outside of the ‘geek universe’ (consisting of video games, movie fandom and comic books) like David, might not rate this movie very highly. I might not be a particularly well-established fan either, but my affection for Scott, a pathetic little protagonist, has grown out of my love for the culture which he is a part of.
The cast were largely excellent at portraying their respective comic-counterparts. There’s been a lot of Cera-bashing recently and while I don’t relish him as a lead in other roles, he carries off the useless Scott very well.
Referring back to the aforementioned review:
Cera doesn’t come alive in the fight scenes the way Stephen Chow does in the best of all the surreal martial-arts comedies, Kung Fu Hustle.
He doesn’t need to David! Scott isn’t a comedic martial-art master. He’s your average 25 year old loser. Why would he have such enthusiasm for life to face these guys exes? Scott can just about get out of bed (in the afternoon) and his dead-pan fighting is a reflection of how lethargic a character he is. Up until the very last moment, Scott has no passion for anything. Knives is the perfect example of this and demonstrates his lethargy to a T.
Cera succeeded in making me want to slap some sense of purpose into the idiotic Scott, while at the same time wanting him to ultimately WIN THE GAME. Win the girl. Win the record contract. Win some self-respect dammit.
I particularly warmed to Wallace, Scott’s roommate, whilst reading the comics and was disappointed that we didn’t see the details of their friendship, along with Scott’s breakup with ‘Envy’.
Finally, I can’t end this article without mentioning the score. The music was really suited to the movie, every time a new fight commenced, or a band took to the stage the music really added that extra dimension.
Edgar Wright, I salute you sir. May your film reel of great comedy continue long into the future.