Movie of the Week: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

I thought Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was really fun and would recommend it to anyone looking for something different or anyone in my generation whose lives revolved around 8-bit and 16-bit videogames when they were growing up.  However, as a huge fan of the Scott Pilgrim series, I did have some problems with the movie (spoilers abound):

What I Liked:

  • Michael Cera was better than I thought he’d be as Scott Pilgrim.  He definitely pulled off the scenes where Scott was indecisive, nervous or scared (which is kinda in Cera’s small bag of tricks) but I never really bought his growing confidence.  However, I went in expecting to hate his performance so this is a plus.
  • Almost everyone else was cast perfectly, particularly Ellen Wong as Knives Chau (who stole the movie for better or worse) and Kieran Culkin as Scott’s roommate, Wallace.
  • The general style of the film.  Edgar Wright definitely captured the world of Scott Pilgrim, with the little video game flourishes – sound effects, background music – and the energy throughout the band and fight scenes
  • Some of the fight scenes ran too long – especially Scott’s fight with Lucas Lee (Chris Evans) – but the fight with Evil Ex #3, Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh) was great.  That was the closest to the book any of the fights got.
  • It was awesome that Metric was the voice for Clash at Demonhead since Envy Adams was kinda modeled after Metric/Broken Social Singer singer, Emily Haines.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Because they summed up six books in 108 minutes, a lot got lost, most notably, the relationship between Scott and Ramona.  Considering all the trouble Scott goes through in the movie, you’d think they’d had been on more than two dates.  But that’s all they had: their first date and that time she came over to the apartment which led to the fight with Evil Ex #2. Aside from the fact that Ramona was in his dream, we are given no reason to believe that Scott is in love with Ramona and we definitely don’t see Ramona’s motivation in being with Scott.  He never really wins her over as he did in the books.
  • Another Ramona problem: her character doesn’t grow in the process of the movie.  She’s essentially the same character at the end of the movie, sans Gideon.  In the book, Ramona has as much of a character arc as Scott – how she overcomes her own baggage and failings.  The end battle with Gideon should have been as much her fight as Scott’s
  • Too much Knives.  This may have been a result of how amazing Ellen Wong was but she was pretty much the second biggest character in the movie.  She even got a character growth that Ramona was denied.  At the end of the movie, given how everything played out, it made no sense that Scott would want Ramona over Knives (aside from the fact that Knives was 17 making it a little gross).  Ramona and her evil exes actually brought Scott and Knives closer together. I was annoyed that it was Scott and Knives who ultimately defeated Gideon while a helpless Ramona looked on.
  • Not enough Kim. It’s a combination of Kim Pine being my favorite character from the books and being a huge fan of Alison Pill but I felt we didn’t get enough of Ms. Pine.  Considering she was the only other character who had a past with Scott, I thought she’d get more screen time but it was not to be. She was spoken about but didn’t say much. Regardless, Pill made great use of her few lines.
  • I didn’t care for Aubrey Plaza’s Julie Powers.  She was more annoying than bitchy.

I really want to love this movie and I did, but not as much as I wanted to. I’m glad Scott Pilgrim was made into a film and I’m glad Edgar Wright was the man who made it.  I just wish Bryan Lee O’Malley wrote it.

Images by Paul Robertson

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One thought on “Movie of the Week: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

  1. couldn’t have written it better myself. if my introduction to SP was the film, i totally would not be motivated to read the books. i’m not one for 6 fight scenes in a row. that part definitely dragged and by the end i was sleepy.

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