Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Reviewgitation

A reviewgitation with Direcow Avatar Direcow,Kakita  Avatar Kakita and Korgath Avatar Korgath

So, today’s the day that this movie should have opened in Singapore. Before we begin, we just wanted to say thank you to all those who’ve signed our petition! We have just sent in an e-mail letter to Mr Nicholas Yong, Managing Director of UIP Singapore and Malaysia, and no doubt the petition will go a long way towards showing how much the fans want to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

We’ve been waiting to come together and watch Scott Pilgrim again to give our reviewgitation on Edgar Wright’s latest movie, but it’s been apparent that we might just not get the chance to do so. We never thought it’d come to this, but now we’re going to be sitting together and reminiscing about Scott Pilgrim vs The World – and whether it’s worth getting UIP to bring the movie in.

Kakita  AvatarIt’s definitely worth it! It may not have mass market appeal in Singapore but we most assuredly have our local comic book, computer game and console gaming fans, so I’m sure that it would have its ardent supporters here.

Direcow AvatarI thought it’d be hard to think back to almost 3 months ago when we first watched the movie, but it hasn’t actually been so. We’ve been all so hungry for Scott Pilgrim to arrive in Singapore on its expected date of Oct 28, that we’ve constantly reminded ourselves about those parts in the movie we remember. Playing the game (finally!) on Xbox Arcade didn’t help us forget, nor did the times when we played Rock Band and shouted “We are Sex Bob-Omb!” at the top of our voices.

Korgath AvatarSo let’s get down to the reviewgitation.

Kakita  AvatarScott Pilgrim could be likened to your traditional love story. Boy meets girl, boy undergoes trials and tribulations for girl, boy gets girl. But the spin in this tale is that it is a story that is eminently situated for our current generation.

Direcow AvatarI do like how it’s a very simple story, but told in a very unorthodox way. It not difficult to follow by any means (in fact, rather straightforward) but there is a lot of depth in how Scott Pilgrim’s world is portrayed.

Kakita  AvatarScott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) starts off as your everyday bumbling slacker. He lives in a tiny apartment, has to share a bed with his gay roommate (Kieran Culkin), plays bass in a not-particularly successful band called Sex Bob-Omb and more or less doesn’t have a life. It all changes when he meets the love of his life, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and realizes that he has to fight off all her evil exes to win her heart.

What takes place is a journey of self-discovery, except dressed-up in things just about every young adult would identify with. He doesn’t /just/ fight for his love, symbolically or against crises. He LITERALLY fights for his love. He fights off thugs that burst into coins when defeated. He takes part in an epic guitar fight that could have been pulled from Rock Band or Guitar Hero. He AIR JUGGLES and the fight scenes look like something out of a console game that we could have grown up in, with glorious 8-bit wonder, reversals and combos. We are reminded of Mario, Zelda, Sonic and just about every fighting game known to man.

Direcow AvatarAnd while all gamey, the fight scenes are also extremely well choreographed, and we have Jackie Chan’s fight school to thank for the choreography. If you never thought you’d see Micheal Cera kicking ass properly – think again!

And perhaps a lot of us have something in common with Scott Pilgrim, especially the target audience of Gen Y. If not for the basic bits about loving computer games, at the very least wanting to slack at home all day long, be in a band or really just being plain awesome in whatever you set your mind to do – especially if it involves beating up the evil exes of the girl you love. Who hasn’t imagined doing this – I know I have, at some point or other, seen things as a fight of who’s better, and now someone’s gone and shown us how these fights should be done.

Korgath AvatarThat being said, what must be made clear is that this movie is a tribute to and an improvement on the seminal comic series by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Kakita  AvatarImprovement?

Korgath AvatarHeh… I thought it was an improvement in terms of pace and plot. It began almost exactly like Book 1, and then took off on its own steam. And that’s definitely not a bad thing.

Kakita  AvatarHaha, well it’s true that everything is a lot neater and a lot tighter than the comics, but we do lose some of the character development in the process. But I guess that’s to do with the difference in medium between 6 books and one 2-hour movie.

Direcow AvatarPersonally I found that meant we lose a lot of the love for the smaller characters – which are the ones who really help flesh out the Scott Pilgrim universe. But somehow, while that might have been a fatal flaw of the movie, it ends up as thematic finesse – the focus is totally on Scott Pilgrim, in his world, against The World. And how often have we ourselves imagined we were in a huge computer game as the main player-character? The true genius lies in this.

Korgath AvatarI agree. Director Edgar Wright does not set out to make mainstream movies – what he does goes far beyond parody, subliminally inverting and dissecting a familiar genre and bringing out depth and emotion. In Bryan Lee O’Malley, he’s found a like-minded individual who also chooses to delve into hyper-realism and not-so-subtle subtext. In Scott Pilgrim, he’s found his muse.

For example, the casting for this movie is nothing short of genius, considering the number of characters both major and minor that populated the Scott Pilgrim universe (of Toronto).

Aside from Cera, a most familiar face from the likes of Arrested Development and Superbad, and the slightly lesser known Winstead, who stole my heart 5 years ago in Sky High, the film also features the very talented Culkin (Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Igby Goes Down) and the wonderfully versatile Ellen Wong.

These four young thespians embody their characters with a passion that is nothing short of endearing, and you want to root for each of them, despite their clearly defined weakness and failings. Ellen Wong, in particular brings forth a palpable innocence and naivety that makes Knives Chau a much more delightful character than the comics could ever make her (which is saying a lot).


Korgath AvatarYeah! Lucky you got to meet her at the Book 6 launch in Canada! Grrrr. 

Direcow AvatarAnd given that the villains have some really short screen time – let’s not forget it’s 7 evil exes in a movie – they definitely are memorable. I’ve cosplayed as First Evil Ex, Matthew Patel before – who can forget his entrance in the trailer? Not to mention casting iconic geek heroes like Brandon Routh and Chris Evans as villains.

Kakita  AvatarA total role-reversal from what you’d expect from Superman, Captain America or the Human Torch!

Direcow AvatarYeah, watching them ham it up for their roles is just plain amazing.

And let’s not forget Stephen Stills (Mark Webber) and Kim Pine (Alison Pill), for without them, Sex Bob-omb would be nothing.

Korgath AvatarOh, and Seventh Evil Ex aka Final Boss, Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman)! As a fan of his HBO dark comedy Bored to Death, it’s such a treat to see him on the big screen.

Honestly, despite my already soaring expectations before seeing the movie – I had loved the trailers and devoured as much of the comics on the road to SDCC as I could (thanks to Kakita) – nothing could prepare me for the surprises that this silver screen gem had in store. Looking beyond the stylised gamer references and the indie rock tributes, the seemingly linear plot took several twists and turns that left me feeling extremely satisfied by the end of the 112 minutes.

Direcow AvatarWe were totally rushing through the comics just to make sure we could make it in time just so that we could catch all the references and the in-jokes, but honestly you don’t need to. While knowing how the plot might have changed, or how the characters have mutated might have deepened enjoyment of the movie, don’t let it detract you from the fact that the movie totally stands on its own legs and becomes a whole new beast. Edgar Wright has definitely taken the source material, loved it, and then made it his own – so don’t be afraid if you’ve not read the books – rest assured the movie’s amazing.

Korgath AvatarScott Pilgrim vs The World is the movie that encapsulates what defined our generation of gamers who grew up with fighting games and side-scroller beat-them-ups, a generation who rode the wave of burgeoning technology but never forgot what it meant to be human – to have emotions, dreams and desires. It will be a crying shame if this same generation refuses to acknowledge our shared heritage by ignoring the movie and all it represents.

Direcow AvatarI really wish I had the chance to watch it again on the big screen – not only was I spent after a whole day at SDCC, a lot of the jokes were lost on me because everyone was laughing at everything, and it’s hard to catch every line when everybody is just loving the movie that much. But perhaps that is the best recommendation – that people were having TOO MUCH fun. I think Scott Pilgrim doesn’t just have a lot to offer to the geek audience, but the general audience is going to be more than able to appreciate the sheer amount of love Edgar Wright and Bryan Lee O’Malley put into this movie.

Kakita  AvatarScott Pilgrim is an absolute rollercoaster. Not a minute went by without me clutching the seat in laughter or excitement. Its 8-bit soundtrack and visuals will delight both the young and young at heart, but the story at its core: of a man fighting for love and finding himself in the process, is something that everyone can identify with.

We’d rate it a strong 9/10! Now to hope that UIP is willing to screen it in Singapore, at least for the fans!

Peter Lin

His teenage years spent nursing a giant man-crush on Steve Rogers, the first Captain America, Peter naturally found himself drawn to many other heroes who depicted strong, manly qualities, including the honour-bound warrior Worf, first Klingon in Starfleet, and the muscular rock hard abs of The Thing.

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