The opening sequences of a film are some of the most important in framing the audience’s general opinion. If your film leads with a clunky start, then it is very difficult to win the audience back. Fortunately for Edgar Wright’s latest film, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, the opening is nearly perfect. From the 8-Bit version of the Universal logo to our first encounter with Scott Pilgrim and his friends, the audience is won over and the film just gets better from there.
Edgar Wright’s previous films, Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz both take place in the same universe, and they are in certain ways connected. Scott Pilgrim, is Wright’s first film outside of this universe and he demonstrates that he can shift from his stylistic comfort zone’s quite drastically and still make a great film.
The most important part of the film, is likely its look. In this critical area, the film takes its cues from video games, comics, martial arts and romantic films. As diverse as they are, all these visual inspirations do mesh quite perfectly–proof that Wright is a legitimate talent.
When Michael Cera was announced you could almost hear the universal sigh across the internet (something I didn’t share, as I think with the right material he is quite an enjoyable screen presence). While in this film he doesn’t quite move past people’s expectations, this material is perfect for him and he really shines. .
Across the board, the cast is quite good, with the exception of Anna Kendrick, who plays Scott’s sister. Kendrick is quite unconvincing as a young bitchy teenage girl.
The stand outs are quite obviously the evil exes, especially the future Captain America, Chris Evans and the former Superman Brandon Routh, who are both hilarious and steal the show from Cera.
The film features also easily one of the coolest soundtracks in years, with original songs by Beck and Metric, with the score by Radiohead’s producer Nigel Godrich. Godrich’s score features many references to video game music as well as other films, however it doesn’t just seem to be there for the sake of reference, as it taps your nostalgia to make you feel different emotions for the respective scenes.
Part of the charm of the film comes from all the surprises hidden within. However, with all Wright films, there is so much layering and attention to detail, I am sure I have only uncovered the surface.
To fully appreciate this will require repeat viewings, which in the case of this film, will not be a chore..
Audience expectations for this film couldn’t be higher, but it seems that the gamble of extensive previewing of the film has paid off as hyperbolic praise was splashed out all over the Internet.
This praise, while mostly deserved, does ignore the films flaws, which while slight, do need to be mentioned. The film is fast paced, incredibly so and that is, unfortunately to its detriment. The main problem I had with the film is that it lacks an emotional connection, partially due to its hyper-paced action.
The film needed slightly more weight to it, more time to develop Scott and Ramona’s relationship. After Scott’s initial obsession becomes a mutual relationship, we don’t see it develop and that is a large problem as we try to understand why he is kung fu fighting all her exes.
Having said this, I also share much of the universal enthusiasm for the film as it is a purely original creation It, like Avatar, has a quality very rare in film these days: wonder. Wonder, imagination and, not to mention, a love for filmmaking, which often transcends any flaws the film may have.
It is extremely rare for a film to be flawless—this film is not. However it is so easy to look past these and enjoy quite completely everything Wright puts on screen, yes, even Michael Cera.