August 19, 2010 -- Well this is a breath of fresh air, as well as being an awesome movie. Not only is “Scott Pilgrim Versus the World” not a sequel, it is actually an original spin on the traditional romantic comedy format. It doesn't celebrate stupidity and it doesn't have a lot of vulgar humor, either. What it does have is a very smart script and a tremendous amount of visual flair.
This movie is essentially a teen romantic comedy in a video game format with martial arts film elements as well. The film features many video game elements, including a low grade video introduction with MIDI music. Video game-style on-screen graphics are used extensively during the film, along with a lot of on-screen written jokes and commentary. Some of this is like the old “Batman” TV series. There are also a lot of over-the-top special effects used during the fight sequences, glowing eyes, flashes of light, people turning into showers of glitter and coins, swords magically appearing, rays of power coming out of people's hands, doors appearing in the middle of streets, dreams and reality merging into each other, all for comic effect.
This is a very funny film. I haven't laughed this much at a movie in a long time. The vegan jokes are priceless. At its heart, however, is something serious: The pain caused by rejection, betrayal and broken hearts. Most of the film's main characters carry around a lot of emotional baggage and pain. This is played for laughs, of course, but the emotional pain is always lurking in the background. The most obvious embodiment of this pain comes from the angry league of ex-boyfriends of Ramona Flowers (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead of “Live Free or Die Hard”). Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera of “Juno”) falls in love with Ramona quickly. She is literally the girl of his dreams. Dreams and reality merge when he dreams that Ramona has come to his door seconds before she actually arrives.
There are three problems with Scott dating Ramona. First, he hasn't gotten over his previous girlfriend, second, he's dating another girl and is cheating on her while dating Ramona, third, he has to battle a bunch of Ramona's angry ex-boyfriends. These battles, supposedly to the death, are fought like video games crossed with kung fu movie-style combat. One fight is like a battle of the bands with visuals reminiscent of a similar deadly musical scene in the great comedic kung fu movie “Kung Fu Hustle.” There is a kind of moral to the story. Scott finally has to own up to his own mistakes and make peace between himself and his own ex-girlfriends.
This is a very fanciful film, but its humor is grounded in reality. It is about the joy of love and the pain of breaking up, but the message is delivered in a very entertaining and funny way. My only problem with the film is that it finally wore me out and seemed to go on a bit too long. All the hyper action and whiz bang graphics got a little old after a while, but maybe I was just a little bit tired when I went to see this film. I won't hold that against the film. It is so nice to see something original after so much recycled material this year. The acting is also very good. This film rates a B+.
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