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Scott Pilgrim Vs The World - Review

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

EDGAR Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs The World was one of the summer blockbuster’s highest hopes and, ultimately, one of its biggest failures. Now that it’s released on DVD and Blu-ray, it’s easy to see why.

On paper, the film looked like a safe bet to become the new cool coming-of-age movie for the computer savvy teen generation. It boasted star power, great visuals, a hip soundtrack and a talented director overseeing everything.

And in truth, things begin brightly – even imaginatively – as Michael Cera’s nerdy bass player Scott Pilgrim suddenly becomes love-struck by the girl of his dreams – Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Ramona Flowers – and learns that he has to fight and defeat her seven evil exes to win her heart.

Far from being just another angst-ridden coming-of-age comedy-drama, the film – based on the cult graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley – displays a knowing sense of its own genre, some cracking one-liners and a visual sense that’s completely arresting.

Indeed, Wright throws so much at you in terms of neat effects, lively soundtrack bites and glib characters that it’s sometimes difficult to keep up.

But once the movie settles into its groove, things become repetitive and its failings more obvious.

Having displayed some nice selfish tendencies early on, Cera’s Scott Pilgrim falls back into the usual sweet Cera routine and the actor struggles to show too much range, while Winstead’s Ramona lacks the roundedness to make her a genuine object of anyone’s affection.

Ironically, it’s Ellen Wong’s dumped ex, Knives Chau, who offers the film’s most colourful character and you can’t help but suspect that Cera’s Pilgrim opted for the wrong chick.

The fight sequences, too, become repetitive and – by the midway point – start to leave you counting down to the end. Wright attempts to freshen up the format by inserting a cool actor in the roles of the exes, while the well choreographed fight sequences often dazzle.

But there’s no real sense of peril attached to them, even though they’re supposedly to the death, and none of the ‘guests’ really have much of an opportunity to create a memorably lasting character. In fact, for a movie with seven villains… no one really stands out as a potentially viable threat.

Still, Chris Evans has fun in a brief spot as an egotistical action star, Jason Schwartzman is all slimy smooth charm as a record producer with mystical powers, and Brandon Routh is fun as a vegetarian nemesis with Superman-like powers.

On this level, Wright’s movie shows a knowing sense of movie folklore and the in-jokes and references fly thick and fast (just as they did in his other two movies, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz).

Curiously, though, the end result with Scott Pilgrim is nowhere near as satisfying or complete as either of the director’s two previous efforts and, in some ways, slightly annoying. Come the drawn out finale, older viewers not brought up on computer game technology, may well be fighting to catch their breath.

Hence, for all its big budget promotion and trappings, Scott Pilgrim is essentially – at heart – a genre specific offering that actually looks destined for more cult appeal. World conquering it most certainly is not!

Watch the trailer

Certificate: 12
Running time: 107mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: December 27, 2010