Bryan Lee O’Malley’s oddball graphic novel series became a film last year, one of those cool little pictures destined to do far better at home than in the theatre.
It’s about this, like, 23-year old slacker who finds the girl of his dreams—and must battle her seven evil exes.
Title: Scott Pilgrim Conquers the World
Available at Amazon.
Cast, Crew, and Other Info:
Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers
Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells
Ellen Wong as Knives Chau
Jason Schwartzman as Gideon Graves
Alison Pill as Kim Pine
Mark Webber as Stephen Stills
Johnny Simmons as Young Neil
Anna Kendrick as Stacey Pilgrim
Aubrey Plaza as Julie Powers
Chris Evans as Lucas Lee
Brie Larson as Envy Adams
Mae Whitman as Roxy Richter
Satya Bhabha as Matthew Patel
Ben Lewis as Other Scott
Full Cast and Crew information is here.
All relationships come with baggage. Ramona Flowers comes with seven evil exes, all intent on killing her new beau, Scott Pilgrim, an aimless but likeable doofus with sweet fighting skillz. He also comes with some relationship complications of his own.
The film establishes a slightly off-kilter tone from the start, translating some of the graphic novel’s gags directly, while adding elements of its own, to let the audience know the film’s understanding of reality differs from ours.
We careen completely into that difference when we meet Matthew Patel—and at that point, you’re either with this film, or you’re not likely going to enjoy the rest.
Once you get past the silliness that drives most of Scott Pilgrim, you realize the film actually comments with some intelligence on relationships, and on the computerized world that the current generation inhabits. It’s glitzy, fun, and filled with pushbutton convenience—but it hasn’t made better people, it doesn’t give useful direction, and it often blunts our understanding of others.
The graphic novel does aspects of this story better. Maybe that’s not a fair comparison, but it has to be said. Where the film fails is in aspects of character. I understand Scott’s problematic success with women in the graphic novels; here, I don’t quite get it. Cera and Winstead have chemistry, but I don’t see what makes her fall for him after initially dismissing him. Ellen Wong as Knives Chau takes us on a great journey from running joke to credible character, but she never becomes the realized human being of the books. Scott Pilgrim has enough substance under its style that I wish the human element had been a little clearer.
Originality: 5/6 We have a strange film, adapted from another source, influenced and informed by a thousand other things, but unlike anything previously on the big or small screen.
Story: 4/6 Pilgrim takes us on a videogame quest. We’re carried by performances, objectives, and style, not plot-logic.
Acting: 5/6 I think this film had to star either Michael Cera or Jesse Eisenberg. We have a skilled cast that understands the material, and convinced me to enjoy the film no matter how ridiculous its twists and turns.
Production: 5/6 Rarely has Toronto looked like so much fun.
Emotional Response: 5/6 The film is uneven, but well worth watching as basic entertainment.
In total, Scott Pilgrim Conquers the World receives 34/42.
My review of the original graphic novels finishes next week.