August 14, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (08/14/2010)

Lettergrade: A

I enjoy the hell out of Edgar Wright's movies, but with rider comment that they sure are exhausting to watch. Wright's previous two movies, Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz both had an infectious electricity that's hard to describe. There's simply a sheer joy in filmmaking, as if a child with an overactive imagination was given the chance and resources to make just one movie, and he decided to pack it with as much cool / fun stuff as he possible could.

This new one, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, is based on a popular comic book series about a 20 something slacker who must defeat the fetching Ramona's "Seven Evil Exes" if he hopes to date her. The action plays out via a series of chop-socky fight scenes that take a strong influence from old martial arts movies, and, like much of the rest of the movie does, old 8-bit Nintendo video games. Being a huge fan of both, I Ioved that the movie took these elements and mixed them into a hyper charged pop-culture power-shake.

The way I feel about Wright is similar to how I feel about Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies. I don't always like it when movies are so clearly influenced by other movies, but both Taratino and Wright take it such extremes and do it with so much love and reverence that it's hard not to be entertained. Wright's style is much more hyperactive and kinetic than Taratino's, but that too I somewhat look past because it's Wright's voice, and it works.

Michael Cera is brilliant as Jessie Eisenberg, who plays the title character. Although the supporting cast is all around stellar, it is the Evil Exes who really steal the show. Among others, they're played by Fantastic Four's Chris Evans as a cocky actor, Superman Returns's Brandon Routh as an arrogant Vegan, Cera's old Arrested Development flame Mae Whitman, and a perfectly douchy Jason Schwartzman as the guy behind it all. I think you'll agree that there's no better choice.

One falling down point is that Ramona herself, played by the lovely Mary Elizabeth Winstead, comes off as fairly cold and bitchy on screen. Still gorgeous, mind you, but on a personality level you have trouble really understanding why Eisenberg would really want her once he gets to know her better in the first place.

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