Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (Contains Spoilers)

It just goes to show – sometimes, some things ARE worth getting excited about! Yes, I am a pretty big geek at heart, but I have been waiting for this film to come out for well over a year now and in all honesty it was totally and completely worth the wait!

I’ve been reading the Scott Pilgrim comic/anime books by Bryan Lee O’Malley for quite a while, after being convinced by a friend working in a local comic shop that I should check it out. I immediately loved what I was reading after the first few pages and was completely hooked after that. Since then, I’ve been recommending the Scott Pilgrim books to any of my friends who I think might like them, and they too have become hooked as well. Scott Pilgrim is the ultimate “non-hero”, and the books have this incredible sense of humour about them that hooks you in and keeps you reading just to see what the next funny bit is going to be. Admittedly, it does take a certain kind of sense of humour to get it straight away (“warped” would be an appropriate phrase…), but then that’s just part of what makes Scott Pilgrim so damn good.

As with pretty much anything, there were a couple of things I wasn’t sure I liked, but they were only small and I’ll get to them later. I’m not going to bitch on about how the film is never as good as the books, because people that compare the films to the books too much are looking for reasons to hate what they see. No, I’m not like that – there are very few films that are going to have everything from the book in them and be as good as, if not better than, the book itself, so grow up and move on.

Anyway, the second you start watching Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, you know that you’re watching something entirely different just from the digitised video-game version of the Universal logo. The first bit of the film is almost exactly like the start of the first book (Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life), and I don’t just mean as in the content – I mean like they’ve taken panels from the books and made them a reality! Shot for shot, some scenes are exactly how they appear in the pages, which is probably more of a testament to Edgar Wright’s capabilities as a director to make sure that the film reflected the look and style of the book, and the fact that he had Bryan Lee O’Malley on the set for filming as well goes to show just how closely everyone wanted to keep the film to the style of the books. And this was not unnoticed in the slightest – in fact, it made watching Scott Pilgrim Vs The World even better than it otherwise would have been because you really feel like you’re experiencing a real-life version of the books. But then, bearing in mind that Edgar Wright is mostly responsible for the existence of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead, I’m sure when people heard that he was at the helm of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World they weren’t too worried about how it would turn out and that it was in pretty safe hands!

All of the characters are brilliantly adapted from the books as well – Michael Cera has been proclaimed by Bryan Lee O’Malley as the person to be Scott Pilgrim, as no-one else could ever really capture him. Mary Elizabeth Winstead looks brilliant as Ramona Flowers, even though in the film she comes across as a bit more of a bitch than in the books, when we actually see a lot more of her kind and caring side and therefore we care a lot more about whether they end up together. But for obvious reasons, there is a limited amount of time in a film to do that without ruining the flow of the action, and they managed to get across everything that was needed from the relationship they share in the books. Mark Webber looks exactly like Stephen Stills, and Kieran Culkin does a fantastic job of portraying Wallace Wells’ character who nearly steals the show with the amazing lines he gets in the film. Even screaming fan-girl Knives Chau (17 Years Old) is brought to life by Ellen Wong in a fantastic way, because she gets the geeky side of Knives and how badly she wants to be noticed.

But of course, the best part of the film has got to be the visual effects. The way that Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is brought to life on the screen is done literally like a living comic book, and I honestly think that without all of the visual accompaniments to on-screen actions, the video-game effects taking place in real-world situations and the super colourful fight sequences that catch you off guard at some points, then Scott Pilgrim really would have been missing something important. And as if the comic book text wasn’t enough, the fight sequences are so huge and crazily bombastic you’re not sure if you’re watching a film or playing a really lifelike game of Street Fighter! Arguably the best example of this is the fight scene against super-powered psychic vegan Todd Ingram (played by Brandon Routh) with Scott getting pretty much plastered to the walls, whilst Routh gets all the great lines in the scene. Easily one of the best scenes of the film, along with the fight with Chris Evans’ Lucas Lee.

There were things in the film that had obviously been added, or elaborated on, from the books. One such scene is the spoof of Seinfeld where Scott enters his apartment and has a back and forth with Wallace to a laugh track. This happens for all of about 3 minutes and then stops, never to be heard from again. Why? Why not. That’s part of what made the books so interesting, so why shouldn’t it be the same in the film?

A couple of things I didn’t like, which were only small, we’re the following – the fact that Envy Adams (played by Brie Larson) isn’t heard from again after the fight with Todd Ingram even though she’s a big part of the storyline and Scott’s back-story, that evil mastermind Gideon Graves (played by Jason Schwartzman, who winked at me after I complimented his moustache. Yes, that’s true.) just doesn’t seem as evil in the film, and that Ramona’s bottomless bag isn’t really explained as it’s linked to how she gets about through all the dimensional doors and stuff. Still, that doesn’t stop it from being hilarious when she manages to pull the world’s hugest sledgehammer out of her bag during a fight scene, obviously poking fun at video game characters that walk around with huge great weapons that are unseen until you actually use them.

Essentially, everything that needed to be in the film was there – there was enough explanation behind each of the characters to not leave any holes in the plot; the humour, the visuals accompanying actions and even the best lines from the books were included; actual panels from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s books were used at certain points, and the whole of the film was generally enjoyable from start to finish without really slowing down too much. Each of the fight scenes with Ramona’s Seven Evil Exes was as crazy and ridiculous as you expect them to be. The ending of the film was slightly different from how I expected it to be from the book, but that itself was almost to be expected. The final fight with Gideon Graves is truly epic, but then everything gets shook up when the “Nega-Scott” turns up. But, the way that it ends with Scott arranging brunch with him next week is a veritable stroke of genius to ending the scene.

In short, I loved Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. It was pretty much everything I expected it to be, and it’s almost entirely incomparable to other films in its visuals and style. I would say to anyone seeing this film that you should definitely read the books, either before or after the film, as it will put the film into more perspective and make you enjoy the books even more. Like I said, there’s no point in comparing the film to the books too much, but it’s clear that the film captured a lot of what made the books so great to read. I even loved the way that the film got rounded off with Scott and Ramona heading off together in a similar way to the book, though the means as to how they got there was not what you expect. I’m giving Scott Pilgrim Vs The World a well-deserved 9 out of 10, even if it’s just for the fact that Bryan Lee O’Malley’s books are the best thing to happen to my eyes, ever! The film is awesome (easily in my Top 3 of the year!), and everyone should give it a go, even if it’s just to see what all the fuss is about!

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2 Comments

  1. I remember my first comment of this movie being “To much action at one time handle,” but in a good way. But the Seinfeid music stops because he turns off the radio that was playing it, remember? Still awesome though. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the fact that Scott winning his birthday was not in the film! And everybody loves brunch, and Scott Pilgrim!!

    • Yes, its definitely a lot to handle at first if you dont know what you’re going in for, but I think Edgar Wright did a great job of editing it together so that a lot of the cut-aways and looks that characters give are perfectly timed and done in just the right amount of beats and stuff. There were bits that reminded me of how he put Spaced together sometimes – just angles and the actions some characters did every so often. You can tell he was meant to do Scott Pilgrim!! YES, I would have loved to have seen Scott winning His Birthday (Book No. 5, for the people that haven’t read them…… you know who you are….), but I guess it just wasn’t too relevant to the rest of the film…. Perhaps a DVD deleted scene?? And yes, I did notice that he actually switches off a radio when the laughter track stops – its a very subtle motion, but you see it happen! It’s fantastic, and just makes that bit all the more funnier! Scott Pilgrim is generally just awesome, all round!


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