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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (12A) ★★★★★
Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart.

You thought Edgar Wright was good right? Spaced, Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, All top quality. Well you don't know just how good he is until you've seen Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. 

Adapted from the comic series of the same name Scott Pilgrim is a tale of boy meets girl, boy finds different girl, boy has to fight seven evil exes. We've all been there right? The plot sounds like fun as a stand alone concept but added to mix are classic video game references along with characters that come straight out of ... well erm a comic book. Allow me to explain.
Scott Pilgrim plays bass in a band, he has a young girlfriend and shares a flat with his gay friend after being dumped by his ex-girfriend (who is now in a popular band). Scott still holds a candle for his ex until he meets Ramona Flowers who he instantly becomes besotted with, to the point of ordering the 'coolest' thing from Amazon so she can deliver it to him. Things play out rather nicely until the first evil ex turns up, that's when the film kicks into high gear. literally.

The idea to pitch the fights with over-the-top style video game violence is just a master stroke of genius, right down to people exploding into a pile of coins when defeated. Endurance points are gained (and lost) and with each new evil ex a new set of powers are displayed. I love the fact that the outlandish fight scenes are never explained (how is it Scott can survive being beaten black and blue?) and the story continues on with a casual shrug to whatever went on before. Of course leading on from the video game mythos things come to a head with the 'big boss' and a final showdown which includes a flaming katana sword. A FLAMING KATANA SWORD!. I don't usually punch the air when watching a film (I leave that to our American cousins) but I came darn close with this one.

Of course the film wouldn't be much without the characters and each of them are faultless. Michael Cera as Scott is plying his trademark which isn't anything much removed from his previous roles but he's on top of his game. Mary Elizabeth Winstead fits into the role of Ramona perfectly bring a deadpan sense of mis-adventure to the character, your really not sure if you should be rooting for her which works well. All the evil exes are visibly relishing the chance to have fun with the role with Brandon Routh a vegan stand out (Tell it to the cleaning lady on Monday) but its Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells who owns this movie. Playing the counter balance to Cera's unstable Pilgrim he brings worldly knowledge and assurance to the table and also gets some of the films best lines, which in an Edgar Wright film is a massive privilege.

After all this though the one person who has now firmly cemented his place as one of Hollywood's big hitters is Edgar Wright himself. In someone else's hands this could have turned into a incoherent mess but Wright is too smart to let that happen. He's the king of pop culture and knows who the audience is for this film but more importantly knows they demand respect. Geek culture is a difficult gig to crack, mis-treat any of our beloved treasures and our wrath is legion, but Wright nails it with confidence and assurance.

Scott Pilgrim is a hugely enjoyable film filled with quotable lines and an essence of likeability running through it from opening to end credits. This is without doubt one of the best films of the year and one you should see as soon as possible, if you've not already done so.


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