Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Review
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Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) isn’t exactly a mainstream kind of guy. He doesn’t direct the billion-dollar popcorn flicks that people discuss in coffee shops and around water coolers. No, Edgar Wright is a movie geek’s little secret—the kind of director who makes movies that baffle (and perhaps even mortify) the usual popcorn-munching movie-goer, while positively delighting the geeky, Comic-Con crowd.

In his latest action-comedy, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Wright cranks the Geek Meter all the way up to 11, combining graphic novels with video games—and giving it an indie music hipster twist.

Michael Cera stars as Scott Pilgrim, a 22-year-old slacker from Toronto. Scott doesn’t have a job, but he does have a nosy gay roommate (Kieran Culkin), a meddling sister (Anna Kendrick), and a new girlfriend, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong)—who just happens to be in high school.

  
 
Just as Scott’s band, Sex Bob-Omb, is gearing up to compete in the big Battle of the Bands that could finally blast them into superstardom, things start to get messy. Scott meets the mystery woman of his dreams: Amazon delivery girl Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). He’s having a hard enough time trying to figure out how to break it to Knives—but then he discovers that, before he can have a future with Ramona, he’ll have to defeat her seven evil exes.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is the ultimate action comedy for geeky gamers with acute ADD. It’s fast-paced and spastic, jumping from one scene to the next without warning. There are illustrated flashbacks and comic book graphics and frantic video game action sequences (in which defeated rivals turn into piles of coins). It’s often so fast and so frantic, in fact, that you might even wonder whether the projectionist accidentally hit the fast-forward button. But while some viewers might see it as a big, raging mess, those who were raised on video games and indie bands will simply revel in Wright’s creative genius.

Stylistically, Scott Pilgrim is a wacky work of pop art—bright, vibrant, and full of energy. The simple (but wildly imaginative) story acts as the foundation for clever fight sequences—each of which has its own quirky style (my personal favorite: the Bollywood musical battle). And it’s all presented by a variety of lovably colorful characters.

Of course, Michael Cera’s role as the awkward slacker musician is certainly no shock—but at least it still suits him well. The rest of the cast, however, is filled with pleasant surprises—like Kieran Culkin as Scott’s wise and wily roommate and the various members of the League of Evil Exes, from Chris Evans as superstar Lucas Lee to Brandon Routh as vegan rock star Todd.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a brilliant blur of geeky sensory overload. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you love comic books, video games, and edgy alternative chicks, don’t miss it. It’s the coolest comic adaptation since Kick-Ass.


Blu-ray Review:
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is definitely a great movie for fanboys. And if you happen to be one of those fanboys who totally geek out over commentaries, storyboards, and other behind-the-scenes stuff, you’ll be in fanboy heaven when you pick up your very own copy of the film’s action-packed and feature-filled Level Up! Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release.

There are so many extras included in this two-disc set that I don’t even know where to begin. I could talk about the four commentaries (yep…four), the trivia track, the trailers, the galleries, or the collection of blog entries. Or I could discuss the 21 deleted scenes—with Edgar Wright’s optional commentary, which gives a little more insight into the process, the goofs, and the stuff that just had to go.

The set also includes a surprisingly lengthy blooper reel (featuring all 33 takes of Michael Cera attempting to toss a package into a trash can), a number of alternative edits of various scenes, and featurettes on both the film’s sound and its music (which includes songs by Metric and Beck). There are music videos, some cool remixes, three visual effects featurettes, a short animated story (featuring Scott and Kim at 16), and a hilarious track dubbed with quirky TV-safe dialogue.

For more behind-the-scenes footage, there’s an hour and a half of pre-production stuff, including storyboards, casting tapes, hair and makeup tests, and rehearsals (including one scene with everyone speaking with British accents—except for Michael Cera, who only occasionally remembers to speak with an awkward accent).

Really, though, it’s tough to separate the great features from the fluff here. For instance, much of the pre-production stuff is unnecessary, but if you watch all 90 minutes, you’ll find a few hidden gems. If you’re into music, though, you’ll definitely want to check out the remixes and the music featurette. And if you’re more interested in effects, the three VFX features will break them down for you. For quirkier features, try Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation and Scott Pilgrim vs. the Censors. Or, for a not-so-brief overview of the whole shebang, watch the two-part, 50-minute making-of feature, which (while much longer than necessary) offers an entertaining look at everything from O’Malley’s graphic novels to stunts and fight training.

If you want to explore absolutely everything that this jam-packed Blu-ray release has to offer, I figure you’d have to block off almost an entire day. But while I can’t say that I recommend embarking on a day-long Scott Pilgrim feature-athon, I do recommend taking the time to check out at least a few of them.

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