Film Review: Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)

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This ultra-gitchy flick is probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and that’s normally cause for celebration. But if you’re not into playing video games (like me), the film’s rapid pacing and excessively kinetic style may just leave you plain bewildered. On the other hand, the narrative is so simple that without the quick rhythm and psychedelic interludes, the film wouldn’t be very interesting.

Director Edgar Wright is consistently clever and inventive in his execution, and does a spectacular job keeping you interested throughout a plot line that could easily have been a snooze. Scott Pilgrim (always darling Michael Cera) has to fight his girlfriend’s seven evil ex-boyfriends. After the first couple, you start to worry about how interesting it could possibly be to watch him fight five more. Remarkably, each fight is fresh and you never quite get bored. It helps that the ex-lovers are played by fun actors that get to cut loose with the wacky — look for Brandon Routh, Chris Evans, and Jason Schwartzman among Pilgrim’s sparring partners.

For all the originality and cleverness, the movie is still an unfortunate case of style over substance. Pilgrim sorta-maybe-kinda experiences a transformation, and the movie sorta-maybe-kinda aims for an emotional resolution, but it doesn’t ring true. I didn’t feel that Scott really learned anything, or that he was even a real person. More than anything, Scott Pilgrim made me feel really, really old — like an outsider looking in at a whole new generation of popular culture that, to a great degree, I just don’t get. Who knows. Maybe the kids love it.

Rating: 2.75/5 ★★¾☆☆ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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