Reviews

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

4

Michael Cera powers up… Result? Instant KO!

scott pilgrim vs the world review

Scott Pilgrim is a weakling, doesn’t drink, rarely gets a haircut, only wears his favourite T-shirts. If you just read your own bio, this is your new favourite movie.

Adapted from Brian O’Malley’s comic-book saga with breakneck stylistic verve by Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is the ultimate geek wish-fulfilment flick.

There are no size-zero superhotties here, just girls who are freckled and fleshy. The good-looking guys are evil, the good guys are limp and loveable.

It’s a place where chicks who don’t want to know you suddenly invite you into bed. A place where you’re the invincible kick-ass hero.

Final Fantasy? Hell yeah.

Cue the plot scroll: having met the girl of his dreams – literally, as dorked-up Mary Elizabeth Winstead rollerblades through a desert dreamscape – 22-year-old bass guitarist Scott must defeat her seven evil exes to win her heart.

Why? Because it’s a cool idea.

Proving himself a modern culture-mulcher to match Tarantino, Wright delivers a mash-up of manga, videogames and comic-book style that you’ve never quite seen before on the big screen.

Stat boxes intro new characters (Name, Relationship, Age, Rating). Manga word-sounds go "WHOOSH" and “THONK”. A pee bar depletes when Scott visits the toilet. Why? Because it’s just a cool idea.

Which is all very cute, but Wright’s movie only starts punching above its weight when Scott does. Ready... Fight! Before you can say, ‘Aaaaaarrrrjuuuken!’, Scott Pilgrim explodes with a rock-club smackdown that crackles with dazzling speed, style and choreography.

Scott knows kung fu. Edgar Wright knows how to shoot action. Since Hot Fuzz, this guy’s levelled up.

Opponents shatter into a spray of coins, a Donkey Kong hammer appears out of nowhere, Final Fantasy summons monsters battle it out in a guitar hero duel.

Often slashing the frame into jagged split-screens, Wright’s cine-style throbs with a hardcore obsession with Japan (the Mecca of animation and videogames).

It’s sizzle-reel cinema, a movie for the Generation ADD that attempts to tell a story using only the cool bits. But this is what stops the movie snatching a higher score. Scott Pilgrim is the Scott Pilgrim trailer for two hours.

Next: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World verdict[page-break]

Unfortunately, this brilliant coin-op arcade referencing extends to the lack of story. The first time ‘DING DONG’ appears when the doorbell goes, it’s pretty cool. But the effect wears off.

A little too repetitive, a little too long, Scott Pilgrim often feels like a jumble of nudges and winks, from the Mortal Kombat-style final opponent to the green ray that defeats an actor who once played Superman.

At times it feels more exhausting than breathless. Witty and buzzy and clever for sure, but needing more emotional whallop. Scott’s health-bar never really flashes red – even when he dies, you know he can always try again.

It’s a game where it’s occasionally hard to see what’s really at stake. Then again, pick up and play: that’s why it’s such a blast.

Beefed up by a terrific cast, lit up by Chris Evans (Johnny Storm as an ego-actor who calls action on his own set), Brandon Routh (Superman as a vegan rock-god with Dr Manhattan-esque powers) and Kieran Culkin’s aces turn as Pilgrim’s gay housemate.

As for Hollywood’s geek-chic king Cera, his shrugging slacker isn’t exactly a magnetic screen presence but you couldn’t customise a better on-screen avatar for the nerd-herd.

But this could be the movie that persuade major studios to trust Wright with a lot more pocket money. He’s proved he has the ability to tap the pulse of a major pop-subculture.

And if each one of the world’s Pilgrims buys a movie ticket, he’ll be a Hollywood player who’s hard to beat.
 

Verdict:

w00t! Edgar Wright levels up with a fun, fizzy beat-‘em-up that’s part action, part comedy and all geek.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • red157

      Aug 13th 2010, 16:49

      I'm not particularly looking forward to this. I've always found Wright's direction to be the weakest link of his collaborations with Pegg and Frost and the trailers make this look almost unbearable.

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    • Spikemonkey3000

      Aug 13th 2010, 18:45

      Could have done without the spoilers in the review :( It's a good review, but maybe warn about spoilers like you did with Salt?

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    • Spikemonkey3000

      Aug 13th 2010, 18:45

      Could have done without the spoilers in the review :( It's a good review, but maybe warn about spoilers like you did with Salt?

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    • Giles83

      Aug 16th 2010, 6:12

      Sounds worse than it looks, Michael "Same character in everything' Cera is the most annoying actor of a generation. Jessie Eissenberg is similar but much more likable, would have preferred him as Scott. Ah well Im sure I'll watch it any way, I might be surprised.

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    • ilovebritney55

      Aug 18th 2010, 17:42

      4

      Saw this last night - it was great! It wasn't something we've really seen before and was very, very cool.

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    • alexr

      Aug 18th 2010, 18:03

      4

      Thank you for the free tickets for the screening last night - took my wife to see it! Having not known anything about SPvTW prior to the screening, I really didn't know what to expect. I can now say with certainty, that this is one of the most original films of the year so far, and a surefire cult classic! However, some people may find it a little too surreal and others may have trouble keeping up with the strangeness of Scott Pilgrim's world. Like INCEPTION, if you think about it too much, it'll pass you by, and leave you wondering what all the fuss is about. Personally, this is right up my ally. Edgar Wright has done us proud. Kudos to Universal for allowing the adaptation to their company logo - inspired!!!

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    • octobergirl

      Aug 18th 2010, 18:15

      terrible film, walked out so silly

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    • horrendous1

      Aug 18th 2010, 18:27

      5

      Didn't really know what to expect, but given Edgar Wright's track record was willing to giving it a go. After having a really rubbish day, this was just what the doctor ordered - geeky in jokes, rocking tunes and a few laughs. In short, 7 levels of awesomeness - thanks TF !

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    • eddzigs

      Aug 18th 2010, 18:59

      4

      Saw this last night (thanks to TF!), and it was pretty great! Edgar Wright is a phenomenal director, and he really did the source material justice, cramming the entire film with so many references and little touches. Minor flaws here and there (Cera's fight scenes in particular were quite lacklustre), but a really great cast, amazing effects and such a wonderfully well-crafted movie. It's appealing to a very specific demographic. This won't be a film that everyone loves, and chances are, if you don't like video games, you'll hate the film. But if you, like me, are a product of us younger generations, you'll no doubt enjoy it. Most of all though, I completely love that we gamers are now, finally, a real demographic. It's been a long time coming, but I really hope this is a sign of things to come in terms of the younger directors in Hollywood actually understanding the medium and the cultural force that it now is. Massive kudos to both Wright and Bryan Lee O'Malley.

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    • kelly85

      Aug 18th 2010, 19:18

      4

      I didn't really know what to expect with this film. But I thought as the tickets were free (thank you Total Film)then what the hell. I thought the film was very original and funny. The randomness of it was great and it meant you didn't have to think to much as you just went with whatever was happening on screen. Would recommend it to friends.

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    • shellbuns

      Aug 18th 2010, 19:39

      3

      Saw it last night.bit dissapointed, perhaps i shouldn't watch trailers! I took my son who thought it was awsome.

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    • gaz1185

      Aug 18th 2010, 19:42

      5

      I managed to get a sneak peak at this last night, many thanks to TF! Having not read the "Scott Pilgrim" comics I wasn't sure what to expect from this. But being a big fan of Wright's previous work and judging from the trailer I was expecting it to be a blast, yet I still felt there was a possibility of disappointment... Well I was glad that was proven wrong! Straight from the go you can tell this comic book adaptation is how adaptations should be, you can't help but feel each page of the SP comic is being played out on screen. Mimicking the video game style was also a great feat by Wright, the visuals of the movie are not only very original but just excellent to watch on screen. As mentioned above, this movie could only be reaching out for a very specific target audience, the MTV / Gaming age, although I wouldn't rule this film out to everyone. If people enter the film with a open mind, sit back, embrace a visual treat and have some good laughs along the way. But Scott Pilgrim is possibly one of those movies that will most likely end up a cult hit, I'm hoping it can still reach the good box office success it deserves - 5*

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    • macateb

      Aug 18th 2010, 19:50

      3

      Thanks for the free tickets. To be honest, the story outweighed Edgar Wright's execution. While the style he used works for short bits in say Shaun of the Dead, having a whole film chop, chop, chopping all over the place starts to get a little tedious after a while. Actually the fight sequences are accurate to how the film plays - the best fights are the first couple - then there's a long drag of hurry up and get past the next few and the final fights good - if a little long too. There are a few funny bits in there and the on screen graphics greatly add to the whole thing.

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    • feevee

      Aug 18th 2010, 19:52

      2

      Thanks for the tickets, but although I was looking forward to this, it unfortunately didn't live up to my expectations and I nodded off half way through the film. Definitely not in my top 10 films of the year :o(

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    • sanman

      Aug 18th 2010, 20:59

      3

      There were plenty of chuckles coming from the audience but for someone now in their sixties (who feels so grateful to have been Scott Pilgim's age in the 1960's when so much was really new in the world) I wondered what I had let myself in for. A simple story line seemed to be muddled up with a dream. Some of the songs were 1960's like and I started to hum a Kinks hit to myself after hearing one number. It seemed like a childish cartoon at times yet other parts were entertaining and engaging. Maybe it's a film that should go in a category of its own? Some films need to be different from the rest even if only to keep cinema as an art-form alive and vibrant. I believe tonight is the official UK launch with Canadian actors coming over to London specially for it. On breakfast TV I saw the director try to give a flavour of the film but alas his word power failed to convey a clear message. Maybe nothing is supposed to be clear in the case of this film?

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    • kas42

      Aug 18th 2010, 22:30

      I saw a preview of this film at the Cornerhouse last night. It felt like a combination of "Street fighter", "Kill Bill" and "Juno". Would make most sense to the late teen to mid 20's audiance. But some of the jokes would only be understood by those in there 30's.

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    • carneybuzz

      Aug 19th 2010, 7:26

      5

      Scott Pilgrim is an experience. In these times of vanilla-pod movies, when everything is a tired rehash of a rehash, this feels fresh, fizzy and fun. Catch it now before the inevitable wave of Scott Pilgrim rip-offs make the sparkling style shifts feel ubearable (as per the Matrix).

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    • MrJellyBrains

      Aug 19th 2010, 7:30

      5

      I loved it. Wright's editing/effects ADHD were perfectly suited to the character and story. A brilliant performance from Cera - a**e to those who say he's always the same. And nice to see Thomas Jane & Clifton Collins Jr in a teeny-weeny cameo.

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    • castaway666

      Aug 19th 2010, 9:00

      4

      From the opening 8-bit Universal logo and sound effects, you know how this film is going to go. From the beginning, with the cut flashbacks and onscreen comic-book style effects, this is definately aiming to be the playstation-era's film for youth culture. Though at 32 I'd still like to put myself in the higher end of this... maybe I'm more last generation!! However the simple story, boy meets girls etc.. works at every level. For me the film takes it's best turn at the arrival of the 1st of the 7 ex's and then it's a fast passed cut scene throughout the movie. Well acted and very much tongue in cheek in my opinion but a very enjoyable film by Ed Wright, with enough references and cheeky tip of the hat to fanboys everywhere. There was plenty of laugh out loud moments provided and everyone at the screening seemed to enjoy the movie, with the exception of the middle aged couple who walked after 30 minutes. For me the highlight of the movie was Keiren Culkin, who pretty much stole every scene he was in. A great love/comic-book/video-game/action/comedy film for all! (I'm not sure even Ed Wright could have shoe-horned another genre in there..... actually he probably could have.) ps. I would have loved to seen Stan Lee in there just as a random extra.

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    • Keegan11

      Aug 19th 2010, 9:13

      4

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    • ALISONMJ123

      Aug 19th 2010, 11:40

      I took my boyfriend to see this film and the look on his face throughout was a picture, from the moment he took in the audience he said he had never seen so many young Geeks in one place together. He just did not get it at all. I was expecting a kick a*s sort of thing but I can honestly say I have not seen anything like it before. I can't say it was c**p but it made you feel a bit mental watchining it. This one is definately one for the Geeks and the Normals will struggle with it. My daughters will love it especially the music battles. I had my usual shameful laugh out loud moments (when nobady else did) but a couple of the liners cracked me up. It was after the shock of the first punch up and Mr. Patel introduced himself. the way he said it made me HAH loudly. And how the hell was Mr. Pilgrim able to kick thier butts just like that as if it was a given he was superheroed himself. Scott Pilgrim,bizarre geekfest film, go see it and define your catagory as a Geek or a Norm. It'll do ya head in.

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    • AMcCutcheon

      Aug 19th 2010, 12:00

      2

      My husband did not like this film, he thought it went on too long. I tend to agree with him, five exs would have been more than enough. I also did not like the female lead character, nothing special about her to encourage all that fighting!

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    • AMcCutcheon

      Aug 19th 2010, 12:03

      My husband did not like this film, he thought it went on too long. I tend to agree with him, five exs would have been more than enough. I also thought that the female lead character was nothing special to have all that fighting over her!.

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    • pervertor

      Aug 19th 2010, 23:04

      5

      We both loved it and we laughed all the way through. Great cast, excellent editing and special effects, and inventive direction overall. If you look beyond the flashy surface there is a decent story about the cruel world of dating, and a good message regarding self-respect, going after the girl of your dreams and believing in yourself... You don't have to be a computer geek to enjoy this film!

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    • Barney1

      Aug 23rd 2010, 11:20

      1

      What a hyped-up turkey of a pudding plus an annoying dribble of a lead....you want leads with d***s....see EXPENDABLES....I dread to think what Captain America will be like after seeing Chris Evans in this turd of a bleached a*s movie!

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    • Barney1

      Aug 23rd 2010, 13:30

      1

      Can't believe you gave the EXPENDABLES 2 stars and this 4.... talk about c**p staff with no critical skills for films in general...Scott Pilgrim isn't gonna change your life...but the EXPENDABLES will get the boys pumping some heavy duty iron....feel the bbbbuuurrrn!

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    • Noza619

      Aug 24th 2010, 1:37

      5

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    • davidpenfold96

      Aug 25th 2010, 8:59

      5

      Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Turning Blood into Coins Watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is like watching something from the future. It’s so energetic and enthralling you would think the only way something like this could possibly get made was if the creator was actually send back from the future. Luckily from us, the creator has been sent back from the future. Where he comes from, people look young forever and everyone has really cool hair. To read the rest of our review http://bit.ly/cS510h at www.tinnedgoods.com thanks.

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    • endaoconnor

      Aug 26th 2010, 1:30

      5

      Just all kinds of awesome!!!

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    • umafan1

      Aug 26th 2010, 7:13

      1

      A pile of rubbish. Just another lazy excuse for another Michael cera vechile! Cera was wooden, he really is a one trick pony. Superbad was good, I liked Juno a lot but he hasn't done anything brilliant since. I found the humour in this film to be awful, i didn't laugh really at all. I liked the visual style of the film and it looked great but the content was awful. I like Edgar Wright's previous work like Shaun of the dead and Hot fuzz but this was just horrible. Terrible story, bland acting from cera and quite a few cast members. I like some of the acting, the girl who played Knives and Ramona were very good, I liked Anna Kendrick and Jason Schwartzman was the only good actor out of the 7 evil ex's. Bottom line, a waste of time, hated it! 1/10

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    • helenbubble

      Aug 27th 2010, 14:03

      4

      I loved this film.

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    • matty2392

      Aug 27th 2010, 22:59

      5

      fantastic its so funny the visuals are brilliant the fights are amazing everything is brilliant. everyone who is saying its rubbish knows nothing and are probably over 30 guys who loved the expendables

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    • HardcoreNinja

      Aug 29th 2010, 17:31

      I do disagree with your comment criticising the repetitiveness 'ding dong' and 'rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiingggggggggggggggggggggggg' in the middle of the film. That aspect was used at the start, it may seem repetitive but its a staple part of the style. If it had been removed it would have been criticised for dropping it out.

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    • scottryan

      Aug 30th 2010, 18:18

      If the rating had a minus 10 i would give it that.. never been so bored.. so angry that i actually paid to watch this pile of junk!! Go and see it and you will have the same anger as me!!

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    • jiimbo88

      Sep 8th 2010, 19:11

      5

      I thought this film was excellent. Admittedly I am probably part of the target audience meaning the references didn't fall on deaf ears. If you don't like Cera in anything he's done before then your not likely to love him in this although, for me, he delivers a different type of performance. This is one of the most original movies I've seen and the direction and production make it hilarious and immensely enjoyable from the start.

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    • Jrdnsans1792

      Sep 13th 2010, 9:23

      1

      The worst film ever made!

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    • Jkaltz11

      Sep 14th 2010, 20:56

      5

      Near perfect.

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    • DonisFun

      Nov 11th 2010, 21:56

      2

      I'll give it two stars for visual effects, but I should give it nothing for it's story, boring, over stretched, very erratic pace throughout. It's a shame after hearing so many good things about it, but would not ever entertain watching this film again.

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      Feb 2nd 2011, 14:39

      4

      needs a bit more Due Diligence i think!

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