Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Frank Review of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" (2010)

The Short Version? Mario & Luigi's Infinite Playlist.
What Is It? ADD Romantic Comedy.
Who Is In It? Paulie Bleeker, Royal Pain, Igby, Six Chick, Captain America, Superman, The Punisher, Max Fischer, Major Suzy Chao, Jessica from Twilight
Should I See It? Yes.

Once I started watching Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, I couldn't stop. It isn't so much passively viewed as streamed directly into your brain at such a rapid pace that it isn't a collection of scenes, but a single unit of compressed subjective time flooding your synapses. It's an entertainment explosion contained by your cranium; a benign blipvert.

For once with a comic book based movie, I've never read the original graphic novels, and suspect that I wouldn't even like them. After all, the hero of those volumes is Scott Pilgrim, a douchebag simpleton who unwittingly embarks on a hero's journey of expanded consciousness by way of having a total hard-on for the seemingly unattainable cool new girl. After a bit of resistance, Ramona Flowers turns out to be surprisingly reliable and gettable, with the unspoken caveat that any suitor will have to face and defeat her seven evil exes in mortal combat. This necessitates constant segues into surreal video game flavored battles, as well as cartoon graphics throughout even the "normal" portions. The extravagance of the battles and the rapid fire dialogue strongly suggest manga, which I've never developed a taste for, but compressing so much story into one feature seems to have alleviated potential hang-ups from the source material.

Director Edgar Wright (with co-screenwriter Michael Bacall) seems to have trimmed Bryan Lee O'Malley's novels into an all-killer, no-filler slacker epic. Puns and cameos come fast an furious (sometimes distractingly so,) and the film seems to play with every cinematic trick from the dawn of the silent era to the latest, greatest CGI. There's a bit of lag in the final act thanks to a repetition device, and some of the more famous faces turn in performances that might have been better served by unknowns, but the film is so addictive and inventive that it demands thoroughly enjoyable repeat viewings.

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