R&A by JL: Scott Pilgrim Versus The World

At first I have to admit that I like Edgar Wright’s earlier output. However, Scott Pilgrim Versus The World is a shameful attempt at being interesting. I guess it was originality that makes the difference. Pilgrim is based on a Canadian comic book masquerading as manga while Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead were also written by Wright. Essentially the film is about a young bassist named Scott Pilgrim who is struggling between two love interests: a quirky Asian high school student and Ramona Flowers, a girl with 7 evil ex boyfriends who try to kill Pilgrim.

In the video message shown prior to the screening, Edgar Wright said he wanted to make a film so visually and auditively awesome it would blow our minds and senses. He has certainly invested a lot of time into making the film look unique and “stunning”. The special effects might be impressive, but other than that the film lacks coherency and poignancy. The super fast pacing combined with hyperkinetic cinematography and editing does not work. We are never allowed to absorb anything since a new joke or dramatic point is already coming up. You don’t even have time to laugh at the jokes.

The random and gimmicky form is a major obstacle for me. It tries so hard to be visually “hip” that it stops being a tool for cinematic storytelling. What is even worse is the film’s sound design. It’s just a loud and chaotic mess for most of the time. You can barely recognise any sounds or songs from the noise. My ears hurt for hours after seeing the film – and this sort of lousy design doesn’t add anything to the film. Only afterwards when I read what the soundtrack actually included I keep thinking what a missed opportunity the film was. Just how badly must one screw up in order to misuse a song by Pixies? Come on, that’s just terrible.

The screenplay isn’t even decent either. The characters seem to be only defined by being “edgy” and stuck in needlessly complicated and dumb love triangles. It does not help much that the entire cast is quite wooden. Jason Schwartzman’s performance as the Big Bad, Gideon, is refreshing but far from brilliant. Most of the attention is given to the immature geek humor that managed to get a chuckle or two from at best.

Scott Pilgrim is a “fine” example of what has gone wrong with modern blockbusters. In its attempt to cash in with “innovative visuals” and geek-friendly writing the film seems to have forgotten that it is supposed to be a coherent and solid film.

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About Oz
A Finnish film buff who has taken a huge interest in language and Japanese cinema. Can be contacted via email (johlauri@hotmail.com), Twitter (@OzymandiasJL) and a Private Message on EvaGeeks (Oz).

4 Responses to R&A by JL: Scott Pilgrim Versus The World

  1. Pingback: The 23rd Helsinki International Film Festival – Rakkautta & Anarkiaa « Forced Perspective

  2. Adam E. says:

    Scott Pilgrim is a Canadian comic book, dude. Get your facts straight.

  3. BrikHaus says:

    Scott Pilgrim was a mess. What a piece of shit. I agree with your review 100%.

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