Movie Thoughts: “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”

I wanted to see Scott Pilgrim vs the World when it appeared in theaters last summer, but couldn’t.  It wasn’t lack of funding, time or interest but the fact that I hadn’t read the entire graphic novel series before the film left theaters.   That’s what I get for deciding to read an entire series of popular graphic novels from my library just as the film is coming out, I guess.

You can also blame my lack of seeing the film before now on my desire to read the graphic novels in order.  That makes things a bit trickier on the old library reserve list.

Earlier this year, I finally completed my quest to read the entire series and I, for the most part, enjoyed it.   The plot is essentially the same as the film, though like all good books there are some subplots and side stories that have to be left out.  For example, the book spends a lot of time with Scott trying to find a job so he can support his budding relationship with Ramona.

As for the movie, all I heard from friends and fans was that it was one of the best movies to hit theaters last year.  I heard a lot of despair that the film hadn’t been a bigger hit or found a larger audience, but there was a secret hope it’d become a cult favorite on home video.  Certainly, I’d not helped things by intended to see the film but never getting to the theater to do so.  So, I decided to help out by picking up the film on the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack and then….having it sit on the shelf for months on end, mocking me.

OK, maybe it wasn’t mocking me so much as I find it harder to watch movies during times when most of my favorite shows are in full swing.  I understand that Blu-Rays and DVDs have this magical stop button and you can come back later to finish the movie up, but sometimes I just don’t take advantage of it like I should.

All of this brings me to last Friday when I finally decided it was time to stop procrastinating and cross Scott Pilgrim vs the World off my list of “movies I should have seen before now.”

And so, I popped the Blu-Ray into the player and sat back to enjoy the film. I’d seen isolated bits flipping by on HBO in recent weeks (I only got HBO to see Game of Thrones.  Once that’s over, my subscription will go away until season two), so I had some idea of what to expect.  But those isolated moments didn’t prepare me for the next two hours and what I saw and experienced.

There’s no such thing as a perfect movie, but Scott Pilgrim is pretty close.  First of all, let me say that the casting is, for the most part, spot on.   The movie does a great job in having characters look like they do on the printed page.  With the exception of Michael Cera, that is.  I’m not sure who I think is a better casting choice for Scott, but something about Cera struck me as not quite as perfect as it could have been.  I get that he’s the new low-key, sarcastic slacker actor and I loved him on Arrested Development.  I just don’t think he was the ideal choice here.

Visually, the movie is a treat and one that demands repeat viewings.  I’ve liked Edgar Wright for a while now but this one took him up three notches in my estimation.  The movie takes elements from the graphic novel and realizes them on-screen and keeps the video game sensibility that made the graphic novel work here.  Seeing various foes burst into coins when Scott defeats them was nicely done as was the superimposed animations used at various points in the film.  The movie has a wonderful pace that never slows down and the editing is superb.  The way Wright moves from one scene to the next feels like a comic book and the colors chosen for this world are spot-on superb.  Ramona’s constantly changing hair color is a nice touch as is the scene in which Knives has her dye job knocked out off her hair.

I started the movie figuring I’d watch the first bit and then come back to the rest later.  Not so much.  I was pulled in and stayed with the movie the entire two hour running time.  And as the final credits rolled, I wanted to loop back and start again.  For me, that’s the sign of a good anything–be it movie, book or television show.

It’s a movie I definitely plan to watch again, probably sooner rather than later.  I have a feeling I missed a lot of fun things the first time around.  And this looks like a movie that will only continue to grow on me the more I see it.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you should.  And if you, isn’t it time to see it again?

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