Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The Box Office

Every now and then a film comes along that challenges your perceptions of the world around you; A film so powerful, so profound, so unique even - that it alters the way you look at reality. The Jazz Singer was such a film, opening peoples ears up to the brave new world of spoken dialogue in cinema. Citizen Kane was such a film, pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved with narrative in cinema.

It’s rare that the stars align more than once per generation to gift us with such a film. Sadly, Scott Pilgrim versus the World is not that movie – This generations honour goes to Big Mommas House 2, for pushing the boundaries of credulity with regards to what shite film producers will make these days.

Scott Pilgrim versus the World is stupid. Hipster Slackers probably have a special word to define exactly how stupid it is, but I’m not going to give them the time of day by carrying out any actual research – there’s your slacker ethos RIGHT THERE.

Scott Pilgrim is plot-less, oddly-paced nonsense. Characters are introduced with no back story, and the film expects us to care about them – It’s almost as though the 6 Graphic Novels that the film is based on are required reading. There are ridiculous over-the-top fight scenes with more defiance of science than a 100 A-Team Movies – the laws of physics aren’t simply broken, but destroyed to such an extent that the shrapnel actually hits the ground before the law is even broken. The basic romance-led plotline expects us to follow the love story of the bland Scott Pilgrim and the frankly unlikeable object of his affections, Ramona Flowers, a character whose sole interesting character trait is that she changes the colour of her hair every week and a half. Who never really seems that into Scott for the entire duration of the film. Blimey. This is the stuff that classic romances are made of.

But the worst thing of all? Despite all this, Scott Pilgrim versus the World is bloody great. Edgar Wright proves himself more than capable of the not-inconsiderable task of squashing six graphic novels into a single film. It’s fast-moving, beautifully shot, laugh-out-loud funny and for a videogame geek like myself happily soaks up a lot of cultural references I’m not ashamed to admit that I get.

From the opening, a low resolution pixel rendition of the Universal Logo accompanied by a Sega Era MIDI rendition of the Universal theme, it never lets up. It wears its computer game geekery proudly on its sleeve, not unsurprisingly for a film which is effectively a series of ever more ridiculous boss fights. It has an awesome soundtrack (mostly provided by Beck, a perfect choice for the material if ever there was one) and I for one loved it.

However (and that’s a big however. Imagine it in 72 point Impact) it’s not going to be a film for everybody. Even during our showing a couple of people walked out – quite what they expected, I’m not sure. Did you enjoy the Scott Pilgrim trailer? Good, because the film is a two hour version of that. Didn’t enjoy the trailer? You get the message.

Sadly, the fact that it’s a marmite film has given it excellent critical reception but poor Box Office (The opening weekend was very weak by Hollywood standards). I have no doubt that it’ll end up as a cult film that gets watched for ever – I personally think it deserves more than that though. Fingers crossed word of mouth will spread and it’ll get the audience it deserves.

It’s different than any film you’ve seen before, and for that alone deserves your pennies. You’ll be confused, you’ll be overwhelmed, but I guarantee that you won’t be bored.  Sometimes style does win over substance.

Scott Pilgrim gets a deserved nineteen out of 22 coins salvaged from an exploding boss.

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