Opening 21 Oct 2010
Go to the movies to get educated. A few hours ago, I had never heard of Scott Pilgrim, his comics, nor his video game. Now I am an expert, at least in reference to the movie. Scott (Michael Cera) is a twenty-year-old kid, who plays in a band called Sex Bob-omb and lives in a cellar with his gay roommate Wallace. Scott, in fact, is not gay, but has a gorgeous ex-girlfriend named Envy Adams; an Asian girl named Knives Chau has a crush on him. Scott probably also dated their red-haired drummer Kim. Now, he falls hard for Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). She is cute, dyes her hair a different color every scene and comes with a lot of baggage, namely seven ex-boyfriends. If Scott is to win the heart of Ramona, he must conquer these guys – kind of like facing off to the seven samurai, only they are called the League of Devilish Ex-Lovers. What a challenge for a nerdy guy who avoids conflicts by running to the toilet with a sudden, desperate urge to pee. The adversaries are: Lucas, an actor and skateboarder; Todd, a vegan guitarist; Matthew, a kung-fu expert; Japanese twin musicians Kyle and Ken; Roxie, a tough lesbian; and Gideon, a band manager. The film is well into three-fourths over when the first ex-lover is dead meat, which makes you look at your watch to see how long you’ll be sitting until the final curtain.
What starts out innocently, shyly, and slowly as boy-meets-girl-and-they-hold-hands, builds up to a frenzied session of kung-fu battles, flights through the air, ninjas, dreams, and cartoon comments like “varroom” and “pow.” This is accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack of rock music which reflects Scott’s band, as well as the rival band Clash and their competition in the battle of the bands. The plot also resembles a video game with a score clicked out going from 300 to 7000 and so on.
The whole thing is based on a series of six “graphic novels” (aka comics) written 2004-2010 by Canadian Bryan Lee O’Malley. Both the comics and the film, directed by Brit Edgar Wright who made Shaun of the Dead, take place in Toronto. My colleagues discussed which age group would like the film. It seems to be for teenagers, but they decided that no teenager had ever heard of Pac Man and maybe one must be thirty to appreciate the references. I didn’t fit into any of these categories, but I definitely recommend the film as a fresh and successful experiment to combine comic, film, and music. (Becky Tan)