Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review: Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Dir. Edgar Wright
Year: 2010
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 112mins

At a time when the thought of another comic book movie being released is akin to punching oneself in the face, along comes Scott Pilgrim Vs the World to redefine what a mere comic book adaptation can be. Fast paced and visually exciting at a time when being gritty and dark is the popular choice, Edgar Wright’s film will surely hold dedicated Scott Pilgrim fans in rapture, but those new to the series will have their work cut out for them.

Read the rest at Trespass Mag

For Scott Pilgrim vs The World we've done some a little different at Trespass Mag. As someone who has not read the comics that the film is based on I have my own little review and it sits alongside the review of Beth Wilson, who has read the comics. A little bit of a he said/she said thing.

I didn't get to go into the movie as much as I would have liked, but I also found it incredibly difficult to write about anyway so perhaps that's not such a bad thing. I haven't read the books so, as I say, there was some stuff that I just didn't "get".

I wrote on Twitter that it's "good in a when-I-watch-it-on-DVD-I'll-skip-the-first-half-an-hour-and-probably-some-of-the-rest kinda way" and I stand by that. The first half hour is horrible! Blegh! The stuff I liked I really liked, the stuff I didn't (that oh-so-desperate need to be make heroes out of nobodies whose only desire in life it would seem is to wear cool band t-shirts and do nothing - by all means, turn the only character who seems to have a regular job into a depressing mole, sure) I really didn't at all.

So there you go. I'm not completely sold on it, much like Inception actually, and if I'm going to watch a style-over-substance movie I'd rather the style be visual rather than character. Does that make sense? It deserves Oscar nominations for its visual effects, sound and perhaps even its art direction though, I will gladly admit that, and I adored the supporting cast to bits. One person I didn't mention in my review is Brie Larson - who should have Emmy fawning over her for The United States of Tara - who is a hoot here, and yet exemplifies the very problem with the movie. Trying to fit so much into the movie comes at the cost of the best characters and then when it came to writing about the movie I forgot all about her! Too busy remembering the annoying quirks and the animated sound effects, I guess. Grrr. B-.


Joe Reid said...

I'm glad somebody else made notice of Brie Larson. I love how she kind of hung out behind that pouty exterior before it was time to emerge.

I think disliked it even more than you did, starting from the phony nostalgia for 8-bit video games (these kids were how old when those games were popular? Oh right, they weren't born), and moving on to how altogether effortful the whole thing was.

As for the comics v. movie debate, I read the first book before seeing the movie and disliked it for pretty much the same reasons as the movie, save a Michael Cera gripe or two.

Glenn Dunks said...

Since I had to type my review up immediately after seeing the film I didn't really get enough chance to mull it over, but here are the three things I think ultimately fail the movie.

1. Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Really? THAT is your fantasy gf? She seems so miserable, like a wet sack.

2. The one character who seems to have a regular job is mocked and ridiculed endlessly. I wish some of the other characters had been given the chance to actually prove they are worthy of devotion by showing a single ounce of work ethic or commitment. Even the band members are weak in that regard, only achieving success because of someone else's failure.

3. The pacing was off towards the end, mostly in regards to the twins. Almost all the other exes had some sort of foreshadowing (not the first, but that's because he's actually supposed to be a surprise) and yet the twins kinda just show up and then suddenly they're defeated and on to the next guy.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Joe: As a 21-year-old, I don't think that's phony. They're still old enough for old arcade games, SNES, Gameboy...I think it's more 16-bit, sure, but gamers dig that shit the way we dig silent films.

Glenn: I'm with you on the pacing. Everything is so rushed at the beginning and at the end, to the point where you can't concentrate on who anyone is. As for the dream girl, we never spend enough time with Ramona & Scott as a couple. There's more fighting than romancing, and this movie needs both. So fair points there.

I'm not sure about the "only person with a job is a bore" though. I'm assuming you mean Julie and neither Scott's sister or Ramona, but her bitchiness had more to do with her being a bitch than her having a job. I know in the book everyone but Scott works, but they only had two hours here. And Sex Bob-Omb played all the right gigs, practiced constantly and tried to go to all the right parties, *and* they totally rocked harder than the twins. How are they not committed?

Obviously, I liked it better than you, but I agree with much of what you say. The movie is too dependent on the novel's fans to pull anyone else in, and I told my friends two weeks ago to expect it to reach #6.

Cde. said...

You say that people who read the comic will probably go wild over the film, but I was actually more annoyed at the things it gets wrong because I'm such a devotee of the comic. It actually addresses the three issues you listed above.
As for issue #1:The female characters (I'm thinking mostly of Ramona, Kim and Envy) are much more fleshed out and likable in the comics, so the narrative doesn't seem male-centric and vaguely sexist in the way the film does.
#2: Volume 4, Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together, dedicates a lot of time to Scott Pilgrim growing up and manning up, as its name implies. A big chunk of the book is about how Scott needs to become independent, stop scrounging off Wallace, and get a real, paying job and a real life. In fact, moving forward in life is a major theme of the comics that doesn't really come through in the film.
Probably because the film sets up Scott returning to Knives (which was the original ending, changed after reshoots), which is the definition of moving backwards and extending an arrested adolescence...
#3: The pacing was screwed up as a result of attempting to condense 6 comic books into an under-2-hours film. A lot of the character interactions and set-ups for the battles were cut out and the film instead feels like a chain of special effects action scenes towards the end.

In short, the books had a lot more intelligence and depth to them. While it had some nice directing and great ideas, the film was an unfortunate botch.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree with all your negative comments and hope your review does not directly dissuade anybody from seeing the movie. I thought the movie was a deliberate refined adaption of the books and loved both versions.

Volvagia said...

This should have been like LOTR. 3 films, 2 volumes a film. Edgar Wright's a great director (I'd even say right now he's positioning himself to be the new Michael Powell), and he clearly had a vision for this film, but I'm sad he didn't think about the other side of it. Vision is 60% of great cinema. The other 40 is crafting characters that we care about. We may be creeped out by Scottie Ferguson's obsession in Vertigo, but that's because, on some level, we care about him.