July 30th, 2010

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Kirilaw's Precious Little Scott Pilgrim Movie Review

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to be able to go to a preview screening of the new Scott Pilgrim movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This is my review.

I have long held that the Scott Pilgrim books were written for pretty much exactly my demographic. If you are around my age, a reader of graphic novels, Canadian (especially with a familiarity with Toronto), into Canadian indie rock, and possessed of fond memories of and ongoing affection for video games, you are likely to enjoy these books. Or at least get a kick out of them. It doesn't hurt that they also manage to carry an emotional weight, and that the characters exhibit Actual Growth over the course of the series.

I love that Scott's kind of an asshole, and that Ramona's got all kinds of issues of her own. I love that defeating the evil exes doesn't guarantee a perfect happy shiny relationship. I love that one of the climactic battles takes place inside Honest Ed's.

Anyway. Apart from Honest Ed's, the movie manages to channel all of the stuff I love about the books. This was a movie made by people who had a real affection for the source material, and who wanted to keep the books' spirit. And in that, they succeeded.

The plot was compressed and pared-down -- but it had to be. As a result, some of the character growth feels, well, rushed and unlikely, and many of the secondary characters get short shrift. Kim Pine has some of the best lines of the movie (and an awesome deadpan), but we don't really get as much of her story as I'd have liked. And Knives' emotional trajectory makes rather less sense over the course of a couple of days (weeks, maybe) than it does over the course of a year. That said, movie Wallace totally steals the show in a way book Wallace couldn't manage. Kieran Culkin can do comedy. Who knew?

The movie has a lot of fun with visual effects and composite shots, and pulls off the comic-book feel very well indeed. Remember what Ang Lee's Hulk was trying to do? This one pulls it off.

I went with a friend who had never read any of the books, and didn't know anything about the story other than the "must defeat evil exes" bit, and she really enjoyed the movie. She found it funny and entertaining.

Final verdict: If you are me, you will enjoy this movie. I have a harder time evaluating it for people who are not me, but if you have a sense of humour and can get behind the idea of a band named "Sex Bob-omb" (and if you get the reference in that name), you will probably also enjoy this movie.

Or you could just play "spot the Toronto landmarks". That's fun, too.
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