I used to watch movies in the theaters quite a bit when I was in high school and college. I loved sitting on the red velvet seats in a dark room that always smelled of popcorn—even when no one in the theater appeared to be eating it. There, with the lights dimmed and the sound blasting, I would be transported to new worlds, experiences other peoples’ stories, or watch things explode (I wasn’t picky about my movie choices,then, either). It was an experience—not just a movie—that I would share with a room full of strangers. We would laugh together, sometimes cry together, and hurl together (or was that the tag line for Wayne’s World? Schwing!). When the film was over, everyone would file out to the real world and step casually away from the few hours where they were captivated by a long strip of celluloid. Once the credits rolled, and the lights slowly faded up, we seemed all too ready to leave behind that shared sense of community we had for that brief time. These experiences—these almost magical moments—were what lead me to study film in college. And, ultimately, this is what led me to writing this blog.
Yes, those people with the knack for finding fault in any argument may note that I often don’t write about movies that are still in the theater; therefore making the previous paragraph almost obsolete. However, I still feel excited every time I get a DVD in the mail, or find a treasure on my watch instantly queue. I love stumbling upon a great film, rediscovering an old favorite, or even making snide comments about a bad one. However, as much as I enjoy movies and the experience of watching them, I can’t say that a lot of films are truly unique. But that was before I saw Scott Pilgrim Versus the World.
Scott Pilgrim Versus the World stars Michael Cera as the title character, a slacker who is in a band with his friends. Scott runs into the girl of his dreams (literally), Ramona (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The two seem to be on the path for romance—but a few things stand in their way. Not only does Michael still have a girlfriend (who he doesn’t have enough courage to break up with), but Ramona has a few evil exes—seven to be exact. In order to win her heart, Scott has to defeat the exes in hand-to-hand combat (a la arcade video games). It sounds a little bizarre, but it works.
Michael Cera is a unique actor. I get the feeling that he usually plays the same role—himself. However, this character type really works in Scott Pilgrim. Scott is a little frustrating sometimes, but I feel his “normalcy” is a necessary balance for the odd situations he finds himself in. Although both of the main actors were good in their roles, I felt the supporting cast stole the show. Most notably, I thought Kieran Culkin was awesome as Scott’s wise-cracking roommate. Many of the exes were funny caricatures. Yes, they are exaggerations, but I think that is the point.
As a kid, we had a Nintendo NES and I played it quite often. Much of the style in this film is based on “classic” video games (like the Nintendo). The graphics are deliberately old school, which add another layer of humor (and meaning) to the film. The over-the-top fight scenes could have been choreographed by a video game designer. Although totally unrealistic (and let’s be honest, the premise is a little far-fetched as well), it really works for the movie. It is unique, refreshing, and fun. That being said, I wonder how well this film translates to people who did not grow up with these video games (either because they didn’t like them, chose not to play, or grew up with the flashier 3D games of today). Do I like Scott Pilgrim Versus the World because it evokes this feeling of nostalgia or a sense of getting an inside joke? Maybe, but I am OK with that (it’s about time I get and am not the butt of an inside joke).
I have wanted to see this film ever since I saw the first trailer for it—and almost saw it in the theaters. I didn’t get around to it, so I placed it in my queue and had to listen to everyone else rave about how Scott Pilgrim Versus the World was the best movie ever made. Hey, those are some mighty big shoes to fill (I wonder where the Twilight saga or Land of the Lost ranks on that list?). While I wouldn’t say that Scott Pilgrim was the most enjoyable film I saw this year, I do think it was one of the more original movies released. I love that the director, writer, and cast took chances and really overdid evoking the sense of classic arcade games. Will everybody love this film? Probably not, as it caters to a specific audience. However, this movie has heart and spunk—and these are two of the best qualities for a film to have.
Have a fantastic day!
Netflix Queue: 485