Scott Pilgrim!!?!?!!!

10 Aug

Eliza Mulcahy is freshly graduated from Emerson College and is currently thriving in Boston’s theatre district, what with her theatre love. She seriously knows her comics and has read the Scott Pilgrim series several times, so listen to her.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World is motherfucking magnificent. Edgar Wright took the series of six manga-inspired comic books and turned them into one of the most genuinely fun movies that I’ve seen in years. Some of the translations from page to screen are so perfectly executed, it’s as if author Bryan Lee O’Malley’s imagination was storyboarded.

Scott Pilgrim (played by Michael Cera) is 22, jobless, and sharing a bed with his gay roommate in a studio apartment lacking any substantial furniture. He has a terrible memory and is hapless when it comes to, well, most everything. All good things that happen to him happen out of luck or the fact that so many of his fellow Canadians seem to think Pilgrim’s specific brand of haplessness is endearing. His leading lady, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), is a recent Toronto resident, delivering for Amazon.ca via a complicated magic highway (of course).  He is in a band with his friends, Stephen Stills (Mark Webber), “the talent,” and Kim Pine (Allison Pill), a GIRL DRUMMER. Young Neil (Johnny Simmons), roommate of Stephen Stills, is their de facto number one fan (as there are no other fans). Other supporting characters include the aforementioned gay roommate, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin), Scott’s external conscience; Stacey (Anna Kendrick), his dismissive younger sister; Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), a high schooler Pilgrim strung along until finding Ramona; Julie Powers (Aubrey Plaza), Stephen Stills’ “bitchy and obnoxious” on-again off-again girlfriend; and Envy Adams (Brie Larson), the girl that broke Scott’s heart and the apparent root of his current problems and personality flaws.

Each of these characters gets a mention because each of the performances are so memorable. I have to congratulate Wright on his ability to keep the supporting characters three dimensional. With nine very distinct characters which O’Malley gradually and subtly developed, I did not believe more than five of them could survive the transition to film, but each performance was unforgettable, even the ones that were technically in only a few minutes of the movie. I’m not even considering the seven evil exes here, whose battles make up the majority of the film. The exes, like any classic villains, are relatively two-dimensional, allowing the development of the supporting cast.

Many reviews have called Scott Pilgrim a romantic comedy with a superhero twist, but I’m not sure that there is anything remotely romantic about the movie. Scott, our skittish hero, finally sets a goal: date Ramona Flowers. To achieve that goal, Scott must defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes. Unlike the books, Wright’s movie loses a bit of the poignancy to the grand battle scenes, but that is to be expected when whittling down a nearly 1200-page series into 112 minutes. Because of this loss of poignancy, the Pilgrim/Flowers relationship loses importance, and all I find myself caring about is if Scott “wins” or not. I’m rooting for a supposedly romantic hero while not feeling any actual interest in the relationship portrayed. Even an astounding lack of chemistry between Cera and Winstead doesn’t seem to faze my support. Dave Edelstein at New York Magazine called Pilgrim a “superhero for an indecisive generation.” Maybe that’s the root of my desperate and unquestioning support of Scott: I’m so pleased that he has a goal which he is so passionately pursuing, I support him to the very end.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World opens August 13th.

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