Recently, I watched Scott Pilgrim vs the World for the first time in a few years, it’s always been one of my favourite films but after seeing it so many times, I let it slide to the background for a while. Revisiting it, it came to mind how much it really has to offer, so here’s a quick round-up of what makes this adaptation a must watch for anyone who hasn’t seen it and a small window into why those who have, love it so much. Directed and written by Edgar Wright, co-written by Michael Bacall, based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley. So let’s get started shall we?
- We have to go first to something that is blatantly obvious, almost 7 years after the film was released: the absolutely, undeniably, unbelievably phenomenal cast. Edgar Wright must have a magical touch to bring together so many people whose careers sky-rocketed: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza and that’s just cherry picking amongst a generally brilliant, funny and sharp cast of wonderful actors.
- Then there’s how the cast are used in the film, each of them get their own moments to shine and get a laugh, smile or nod of sarcastic appreciation from the audience. Each have their own individual personalities and they get to showcase that, whether they get 2 or 20 minutes on screen and that’s an incredibly impressive feat. The film feels utterly like a team effort, despite the focus being clearly on Michael Cera as Scott and you can’t help but have huge respect for that expert balance.
- The next most obvious choice is the amazing soundtrack, from The Rolling Stones to Beck to T.Rex to Metric, it’s an eclectic yet perfect mix. Each song fits so succinctly into the moment its used that you would think each song was written specifically for the film, even though of course several of them were. It’s an album you can easily listen to over and over again, the ultimate film companion.
- Next, there’s how Wright and the whole cast and crew, fully embrace nerd culture, this film was created by nerds, for nerds and that’s a massive compliment. Taking from the original material and into an element all of its own, going head first into a great video-game edge. The whole thing emanates the culture so strongly and it’s a complete joy to watch for your inner nerd (and outer nerd for those of us who pledge allegiance to various film and television on our colourful, awesome t-shirts, much like Scott himself).
- Following closely on from that, all the points above and below connect to create one particular atmosphere, and that’s one of fun. The entire experience of watching the film is incredibly entertaining, there’s no moment that isn’t just perfect to make you sit back, relax and bask in the joy that is Scott Pilgrim vs the World.
- One of the main elements that creates that fun is the comedy, it’s written with such quick wit, sharp tongue and dead on timing that it’s overflowing with humour. Every single line comes in at the exact moment to make the strongest impact, it’s beyond hilarious, does not let up for a second and every single actor does a fantastic job of getting those laughs.
- This next one goes to both the comics and film but it’s extremely rare to see a character with the personality of Scott but represented without being weak or feeble. Scott may be insecure and geeky but he’s ready for the fight, he’s not your typical nerd as represented in the majority of films, he won’t back down.
- The second, of many, great things about his character is the inverting of stereotypes, Scott spends many a moment, worrying about his hair and what other people think or his weight, with the classic line “Bread makes you fat?!”. It’s awesome to see and makes for some hilarious moments of natural insecurity that resonates with audiences.
9. Then there’s the brilliant female characters in the film, whether it’s Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Kim (Alison Pill), Scott’s sister Stacey (Anna Kendrick), Julie (Aubrey Plaza), Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) or Envy (Brie Larson), each is unique and independent. It’s something you still don’t see often today, let alone in 2010 so it’s a pleasure to watch unfold.
10. Lastly there’s the inclusion and acceptance of sexuality, both Ramona’s past relationship with Roxy (Mae Whitman) or Scott’s room-mate Wallace (Keiran Culkin), it’s a part of the film without question or judgement or stigma. It is just a natural part of the story and though it may be comic material, like everything in the film, it’s a positive message, that may not be a definitive aim of the film but it’s achieved nonetheless and hugely respectable.
Okay so I know I said 10 reasons but I have to include a bonus reason:
10. (A) Brie Larson…Brie Larson…Brie Larson and Brie Larson, because her singing Black Sheep is a performance which would instantaneously improve any film and is such an entirely perfect moment in the film, you can (and should) watch repeatedly (which I have). I mean maybe the costume in that scene could benefit from aligning more with the strong female roles message but let’s politely ignore that, shall we?
And there you have it, 10 (okay 11) reasons to fall in love with Scott Pilgrim vs the World, to have your nerd mind blown and to laugh for 112 minutes.
So what better way to kick off the weekend, shake off the Monday blues, spend a couple hours on a day off or just any time at all, than to watch (or re-watch) this unbelievably wonderful, charming, hilarious and delightful film?