Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
By Josh Spiegel
August 18, 2010
In reading up on the film version of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, I noticed a little tidbit in one article by The Guardian that I haven’t read anywhere else: that, in the process of writing the script for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World with Michael Bacall, the film’s director, Edgar Wright, was working in the guest house of one Quentin Tarantino. What’s more, while Wright was writing Scott Pilgrim in the guest house, Tarantino was hard at work at his most recent film, Inglourious Basterds; Tarantino would run lines by Wright to make sure that the English characters sounded appropriate to their land. Aside from how strange, surreal, or awesome (depending on your opinion of Tarantino) it must have been to write anything, let alone the script to a studio picture, in the presence of an inconsistent genius, it made perfect sense to me that Wright was so friendly with Tarantino.
Leaving aside the obvious connection (Wright directed one of the fake trailers in Grindhouse), what doesn’t strike me as odd about the combination is that both men are fiercely in love with popular culture. Most people don’t know Edgar Wright’s name, but those who do are probably not just aware of his witty skewers of zombie and cop movies in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, respectively. Before either of those was Spaced, a charming, fast-paced, hilarious show about a couple of twentysomethings who hung out in their apartment and were consumed with pop culture, day in, day out. Of course, unlike Tarantino, Wright is able to create completely new pieces of work instead of make movies that are meant solely to remind me about past films, songs, or TV shows.
I haven’t said it explicitly yet, but I write for Box Office Prophets, this movie is called Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and you’ll notice that there are no tarring and feathering sessions planned for me from my colleagues. So, yes, I loved Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Like most of the folks at BOP, I’ve read the series and I liked it. I was happy to read the final volume and see that it stuck the landing, but I was not really sure what to expect from the film version. What I got was one of the most joyous, exuberant, exciting films I’ve seen in a long time. The casting (yeah, including apparent Hollywood whipping boy Michael Cera) is uniformly excellent, the script surprisingly funnier than I’d have expected, the music catchy and just right, and the technical aspects of Scott Pilgrim are far more dazzling than I could have dreamed.
By now, of course, you have probably read the post-mortem for the past weekend. We all know that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is many things, but a big moneymaker is not one of them. The whys can be debated until the end of time, but I wanted to address a generalization I’ve been seeing among those who’ve seen and talked about the movie. If you’re under a certain age, you will love this movie. If you’re over a certain age, you will hate or not understand this movie. If you don’t like video games or comic books, don’t come any closer to the movie. If you love video games and comic books, well, then, Mr. or Ms. Nerd, why haven’t you bought your tickets yet?