Every teen romance film needs to have some sort of obstacle that one of the lovers needs to overcome before they can finally fulfil their destiny and be together forever. Although “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” does feature that in a way, it certainly has it with a twist. Try adding in action, comedy and a comic-book and video game style. As the Universal Pictures logo and theme begins the film, pixelated and retro in pure 80s gaming style, you know this film is going to be unique.
Juno star, Michael Cera leads as the titular character who meets Romana Flowers (Mary Winstead), the girl who he dreamt about the night before and who he is sure is the girl for him. However, as that would be too simple, Romana is not your average girl. Whilst playing for his band “Sex Bob-Omb” (one of the many videogame references in the film), the first of Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends challenges Scott to a duel.
This first fight scene, coming a fair way into the film, is the start of a spectacle for any videogame fan as retro graphics, beat-em-up style battles and comedic one-liners join in with the action. From the changing aspect ratios to the scores for each move, the authentic sounds to the Super Mario Bros explosion into coins, the battles are a joy to watch.
The film is based on Canadian Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic book series, “Scott Pilgrim”, and the comic’s style is portrayed beautifully. Reminiscent of “Sin City” and “Kick-Ass”, Scott Pilgrim transforms into a live-action comic book brilliantly as typography flies across the screen out of toilets and telephones and music styles are echoed by the graphic style, including two anime Japanese dragons representing a couple of electro DJs.
The comic book style flourishes thanks to the quick-paced and quick-witted signature style of director Edgar Wright, of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” fame. Some of the cinematography is beautiful, the comedy is hilarious and Wright manages to create a fully surreal yet realistic world that transforms from videogame to naturalistic style seamlessly.
One slight disappointment is the performance of Cera. He is in trouble of being typecast as a geeky, unconfident, weedy teenage boy (even as he turns 22) and this performance matches that description. Not forgetting that he plays this character very well, it’s not what was needed for such a heart-breaking, rock music playing super hero.
The hype over comic book conventions, in film circles and over Twitter unfortunately came to very little at the American box office. But for comic book, videogame and cinema fans in general, this really is a great experience. “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” is energetic, funny and absolutely gorgeous to watch. Although it hasn’t been able to match The Expendables’ all-star cast, you should really go and see it – and expect a shower of coins to follow…