Friday, September 3, 2010

FILM REVIEW: Scott Pilgrim vs The World

"We all have baggage"

When you come across a film with a villain whose superpowers derive from his veganism, and they actually EXPLAIN why (apparently it's the hindering effect of dairy products to the brain) you know it's going to be quite original.

Scott Pilgrim is the kind of movie that is tailor-made for what I would call the 'Facebook generation'. People whose attention span are as big as this *holds up a single tic tac*

I would say I'm part of that generation but goodness me, the film went by so fast, there are some scenes I can't properly recall because it blurred by so quickly.

I'm not saying I didn't like this film; in fact I'm just a tad bit in love with it.

Notice how my paragraphs are getting smaller and smaller? Yeah, I felt like I had ADD after walking out of the theatre - quickly checks twitter - which by the way was so cool because I saw it in Vmax, which is less like the look-at-me-I’m-huge version of Imax. Did I tell you how they took everyone's mobile phones because it was a preview screening and they didn't want the film pirated. *oh a Facebook notification*. Which was awesome because I felt like such a film critic. Now what was I saying before?

Oh God I need to read a book.

So our lovable protagonist (of course he would be, he's played by Michael Cera) has to defeat seven evil exes in order to claim Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as his girlfriend.

This all plays out like a video game. Which is both the film's strength and flaw. A flaw because it suffers from the very same reason why I do not play video games anymore: redundancy. You know, defeat one bad guy, and move on to the next. Press the X button, then the O button then the X button again. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

When Scott Pilgrim *spoiler alert* defeats the third ex. I was starting to get a bit bored with all the fight sequences, simply because they all felt the same to me. There was no added tension surrounding those fights, because we all know, no one loses in a video game. If you lose a life, voila, here’s another one.

But the video game aspect of the film gives it (how I hate to use this term) an edge. Yes, the fight sequences weren’t particularly exciting, but they were resplendent, just enough so that you can’t seem to look away, similar to the allure of video game arcades, the way those bright, colourful lights and loud bangs manage to wake up your inner child seeking for play. These are fight sequences I’ve never seen on screen before.

Don’t get me wrong though, the whole film isn’t centred on the idea of Pilgrim fighting all the exes – it’s more of a modern relationship story. The characters, including the evil exes, felt so familiar to me, as if the writers themselves have taken them straight out of my Facebook news feed. Everyone I know can relate to some way or another to any of these kids, or have similar relationships to those depicted in the film.

Scott Pilgrim (the character) is drawn particularly interestingly here (can I use two adverbs after another? – quick Google search – yes I can). He’s a strange mix of maverick and conformism, akin to the weird, quirky kid in school we secretly look up to. He’s the hero of the film but he’s not perfect. He’s sweet, funny and charming but he’s also whiny, obsessive and self-conscious. Actually they all are. Which makes them all the more interesting and all the more fun to watch. The dialogue between these characters is by far the film’s biggest strength. I can already imagine people quoting them as their Facebook status or in their tweets.

The film also plays around with the all too familiar dilemmas teenage kids go through – breaking up with someone for another, that obsessive crush you cannot shake off, or that difficult decision of becoming a vegan, a vegetarian or a lowly, unethical carnivore.

I’ve never quite experienced a film that says so much about MY generation with such integrity and without the belittling mockery most representations of contemporary teens seem to always invite.

I’m quite disappointed to hear the news that Scott Pilgrim didn’t do as well as expected in the box office, and I’m left wondering why. This is one of the freshest films I’ve seen all year, one that truly deserves an audience. So, I’m telling you please go see it.

You do that while I go browse in Amazon to buy – what was it again? – oh yes, that book. 

Image Credits: Poster, Red Sword, Group Photo


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