Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

Rated: PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references.
Length: 112 minutes
Grade: B+CCB+=B
Budget: $85 million ($60 after tax rebates)
Box Office: $52 million (31 U.S., 16 Intl., 5 DVD)

Written by: Michael Bacall (First major movie), based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Directed by: Edgar Wright (First major movie)
Starring: Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
With: Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, and Jason Schwartzman

Scott Pilgrim, a graduate dating a high school girl and playing bass in a Toronto band, falls in love with an exotic new girl but discovers that he must defeat her seven evil exes in mortal combat to earn the right to date her.

Entertainment Value: B+
This was far more fun than I anticipated, almost an A in terms of comedy, unexpected plot, and just plain oddness. Based on a series of graphic novels, you know that the minds making such a movie will be inventive and unorthodox, and this shows heavily in the end result, which feels remarkably fresh, almost like something from the early Wachowski brothers (or Speed Racer, perhaps).

Superficial Content: C-
Drugs/Alcohol B-, Sex/Nudity C, Violence C, Language C
This is a perfect straddler of the PG-13/R category, with all the minor swear words and even the major ones bleeped out for humorous effect, lots of stylized violence such as you might seen in martial arts video games, and more than enough sexuality (but no nudity) including a highly promiscuous gay character. It’s a great example of R-15, if only it existed.

Significant Content: C
On the one hand, the entire movie is justifying vulgarity by its very nature, including (older) teenage sex and homosexuality. But there are some fairly sophisticated themes here as well, including the idea that when we sleep with someone and the relationship ends, we turn them into “evil exes” who will be plagued by us and plague us for the rest of our lives. The other themes come in the final sequence when a profession of true love gains Scott his “Heart Sword” and a painful confession and subsequent resolution earns him the “Self-Respect Sword.” This isn’t a big message movie. It’s mostly campy fun.

Artistic/Thought Value: B+
Not for thought value, but for being highly innovative and for successfully distilling massive amounts of current teen culture into a single movie. Also, this is a weird hybrid: big budget made to look like an indie movie.

Discussion Questions:
~Why do the evil exes want to stop Scott from dating Ramona? How do you feel about your exes dating others? How do they feel about you doing so? What point is being made about sexual relationships other than marriage?
~What is Ramona trying to say by changing her hair color so often? What is the movie trying to say, if anything?

Poignant or memorable scenes:
~Vegan police.
~The end fight.
Overall Grade: B+
If you enjoy campy though vulgar fun targeted to modern teens and post-teens, you’ll enjoy this. Think Zombieland with more Mario Brothers and less undead people.

1 comment:

Naum said...

I enjoyed this, though Mrs. Naum did not so much.

Don't know that it was directed at teens and pre-teens so much as anyone growing up who cut their teeth and honed their arcade and old school gaming console skills. It seemed a paean to 80's / early 90's style video gaming.