Friday, April 1, 2011

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin
Run time 113 minutes
Rating: PG-13

Plot Summary: Scott Pilgrim is your average twenty something: he plays bass in a band, he's unmotivated, he has a job he doesn't care about. Then, Scott meets a mysterious young woman named Ramona Flowers who seems to have the power to travel through time or dimensions. Scott becomes interested in Ramona. Then, he finds out that if he wants Ramona's affection he must battle her seven evil ex-boyfriends in a very video game-esque fashion. After Scott battles the ex-boyfriends including a bass player with vegan superpowers and Ramona's unexptected ex-girlfriend, Scott goes through a transformation. He's grown out of his selfish neglectful self into a responsible young man who has the POWER OF LOVE!

Critical Analysis: This was a dangerous film for Wright to direct, as it is based off of Brian O'Malley's beloved comic series. In one scene, a character in the background even says, "the comic is always better than the movie." Having read both the book and the comic, I think it is a tough call. The film certainly leaves out nuances and details that the comic has, but being able to hear Scott's band on-screen and a few other visual intricacies made up for it. Michael Cera was not a great choice for the lead, as Scott in the comics was kind of a nobody who becomes a somebody. A no-name actor for Scott seems like it should have been an obvious choice.

The visual style of the film matches the comic exactly. It's colorful, there are BOOMs and POWs all over the screen during the fight scenes. A very important element from the comics was that it felt like a video game, and Wright kept that theme in the film. The casting was also spot on, Kieran Culkin (brother of Macaulay Culkin and star of The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) was a great choice for Scott's gay roommate.

Reader's Annotation: To win Ramona Flowers' affection, Scott Pilgrim must battle her seven evil ex-boyfriends.

Author Information: Brian Lee O'Malley, the author of the comic this film is based on, is a Canadian cartoonist. He published the Scott Pilgrim series from 2004-2010 on Oni Press. He makes music under the alias Kupak. According to annotations in his comics, he is known to make special music playlists for each comic he put out to match the mood.


Genre: Action/adventure/comic adaptation

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Booktalking Ideas: What videogame references did you catch in the film? What do you think are some of O'Malley's influences and inspirations?

What did you think of Scott's choice at the end of the film? How did it differ from the ending of the comic?

Reading level/interest age: Ages 13-18

Why I included this title: Many of the teens at my library are huge Scott Pilgrim fans and I can see why. Both the book and the comic are very clever and are chock full of not only humor but relationship issues too. Of all of the films released this last year, (perhaps barring the Twilight films) this struck me as the quintessential teen film.

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