August 13, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - 2010

Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin

"If you want something, you have to fight for it. Step up your game, Scott. Break out the L-word." Scott Pilgrim (Cera), a jobless 22-year-old in Toronto currently dating 17-year old Knives Chau (Wong), meets literally the girl of his dreams Ramona Flowers (Winstead). Upon an abrupt breakup with Knives, Scott soon learns that to prove himself worthy of Ramona, he must defeat her seven evil exes in hand-to-hand combat.

What can I say about the glory that is Edgar Wright? After proving his worth on the small screen with the TV show Spaced, he took on the zombie genre with Shaun of the Dead and followed it up with the buddy cop homage that was Hot Fuzz a few years later. Now he's crossed the Atlantic and made his first big-budget Hollywood film (although it was shot entirely in Toronto, Canada), and I couldn't be more pleased with the result. The film's incidental music is inspired, the fight scenes are an art form unto themselves (almost as much as the plot-centric music provided by Beck and Broken Social Scene), and it's in the vein of films like Watchmen and Sin City that have seemingle filmed panels in motion and put them onscreen (certain bits of backstory are literally shown as bits of the graphic novel). Fans of the original work should also be pleased, as long as they aren't overly purist; while the movie's a bit action heavy, compressing a good portion of the less visually dynamic bits (especially in volumes three through five), it's a fairly loyal adaptation overall. Some big moments are missing (the chase through Honest Ed's with Todd Ingram and Knives's dad slicing through a streetcar with a katana, for instance), but even despite a slightly changed ending, it's got the action, humor, and heart that made Scott Pilgrim the graphic novel successful to begin with, and that's what matters at the end of the day. A+

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