Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Edgar Wright, I think I love you.

And Edgar Wright loves movies. It’s clear from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World that Wright pours love into his film by loading it with details that’ll take you several watches to truly absorb.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a young dude in a band. He’s dating a high school student 9d0uzolbut is ready to drop her the moment he meets his dream girl, Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The catch? Catches? Well, his ex-girlfriend is in town, giving him a serious drought of self-confidence, and Romona actually has 7 exes, er, 7 evil exes, whom Scott must fight in order to “win” her favour. The movie kind of asks: what would happen if a random guy suddenly had the ability to fight as if he were in a video game? And you know what? The results are pretty fantastic.

Edgar Wright soaks this movie in video game references. He got permission to use the 500fulltheme song from The Legend of Zelda by writing a flowery letter to Nintendo, calling it “the nursery rhyme of this generation.” The more you know video games, the more you’ll appreciate this, but even I can concede its greatness.

Moreover, Wright has a knack for casting that you can’t help but admire. He picked a whole bunch of young kids who would launch into stardom. Brie Larson went on to win an Oscar just a few years later, and Anna Kendrick a nomination.

Of course, my favourite part of the movie is how carefully Wright, an Englishman, preserves the Toronto locale. Toronto is a cheap place to make movies so it often stands in for other places, notably New York City. For once, Toronto gets to be Toronto, giphyunapologetically Toronto, with the TTC, Honest Ed’s, Casa Loma, and even dirty, dirty Pizza Pizza. This movie feels like home. In a meta moment, a fake New York City backdrop is literally ripped open to reveal the glorious Toronto skyline. When Scott Pilgrim earns points, the coins that rain down upon him are loonies and twonies, Canadian style.

And Wright, who is an excellent curator of music, finds some excellent Canadian bands to do the heavy lifting for him. Broken Social Scene wrote two of the 4-second songs played by Crash and the Boys (“We hate you, please die” and “Im so sad, so very, very sad”). Metric wrote the song performed by The Clash at Demonhead. And Chris Murphy vocalist and bassist for Sloan, served as the music performance supervisor, which I think means he made sure the actors held their guitars the right way and stuff. (Non-Canadian Beck wrote the music for Pilgrim’s band, Sex Bob-Omb).

Scott Pilgrim vs The World is ultra-stylized and brilliant to watch. It’s incredibly fast-paced and feels hyper real. It’s almost unbearably quotable, fresh, and inventive. The script can’t always keep up with the film’s flash and charm but darn if it doesn’t try. I’ve been in love with this movie for 7 years or so, and a recent re-watch confirmed that I’m still crushing hard.

 

What movies do you love to re-watch?

 

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36 thoughts on “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

  1. sati

    That one was just not for me at all. Much like Kick-Ass I didn’t find it funny and the style didn’t really appeal to me. It was just…missing any sort of grace and all felt really forced to me. Maybe it’s because I never played any video games 🙂

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  2. SpeedySailor

    Nothing less than my favourite movie of all time, great review! Edgar Wright really is one of the best directors of his generation, as this, Shaun and Hot Fuzz proves. Can’t wait to check out Baby Driver!
    Milo.

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  3. lynsey401

    I loved this film! Can’t say it appealed to me right away but the silliness makes it a really good watch. I love the game effects and of course the 7 exes… they’re awesome!

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  4. tarmac492

    Never saw this one and I have a “thing” for Winstead. Will need to check it out. Flicks I regularly rewatch are JAWS, Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Laws of Gravity and Hal Hartley’s Trust.

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  5. Chris Scott

    I generally enjoy Wright’s films and I love MEW but my passionate distaste for Cera didn’t leave me loving this film. He just kind of rubs me the wrong way.

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  6. reocochran

    The film is funny and quirky! I enjoyed the characters and plot. The music was fun and catchy. I didn’t really look at the scenery. I will next time!
    Here’s the films I liked enough to watch a few or more times, “Juno,” “Love Actually,” “Pride and Prejudice” (newer one with Keira Knightley and Donald Sutherland), long ago was crazy for “Butch Cassidy. . .,” “The Sting,” and “Bullitt.” When reminiscing and wanting an older movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Roman Holiday” and “An Affair to Remember.” I love comedies but cannot think of just a few “Caddyshack,” “Christmas Vacation,” and “Private Benjamin.” 😀

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  7. Phil Bradbury (@MrFilmFan)

    I’m a touch embarrassed to say that I watched this film and it left me somewhat cold. I kinda want to revisit it, to see if it was just that I was in the wrong sort of mood for it that day, but haven’t gotten around to this yet.

    My “go to ” films include Pulp Fiction, A Few Good Men, The Negotiator, Mr & Mrs Smith (Pitt and Jolie) and Shaun of the Dead. Also have a soft spot for The Lost Boys and The Rocky Horror Picture Show… yes, it’s rather an eclectic mix. 🙂

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  8. Christopher

    Every time this one crosses my radar I think, “Why have I not watched this yet?” I have no good answer, and thank you for the brilliant review which has reminded me it’s at the library waiting to be picked up. There’s part of my weekend set.
    And your emphasis on the visuals and the question, “What movies do you love to re-watch?” got me thinking how there are some films on YouTube that I’ll listen to at work. They become background noise that, oddly, helps me focus. But only certain movies. Contact is a good example: heavy on dialogue and not a particularly challenging plot, so I can zone in and out of it without really missing anything.

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  9. Jeff the Chef

    No vegan diet, no vegan powers! This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Creativc storytelling that is good as being what it is, without constantly drawing attention to itself.

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  10. J.

    I still haven’t seen this. Something I’ve been meaning to rectify for a while, but it’s just not happened.

    Favourites to rewatch? You know Pacific Rim is up there, right?

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  12. erichmichaels

    I like be this movie! It is probably the movie that my wife rolls her eyes at the most theatrically, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it, perhaps it adds a level of enjoyment.
    Comedy wise I will watch I love you man whenever I see it, I get drawn into Shawshank Redemption, the Matrix, Inception, and I love Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Was that too many? 🙂

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