Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World" (2010) - Movie Review

The outcome of the actor’s job is in the hands of several other people and the team lead of the film, the director. When they pack up to leave for their next job. When they see the film, it would be an experience of what they did became. Shock or happiness is upto them along with the audience. It is unveiling a machine and you are the one who designed the bolt. You do not know where it was about to go but you find it in the product. This most of them are aware but “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World” is the one where director Edgar Wright seriously makes you think of it. The transitions from a scene to the next one is so random but so in line fitting like a perfect jig saw puzzle. Too bad it did not survive throughout the film. It withers.

Edgar Wright is the young blood from the pool of cool blood. He took on “Shaun of the Dead” his first spoof/homage to the horror genre. He has a knack of mocking and tributing in an ambidextrous fashion. It fizzled personally where he took things literally for dipping his hands to the bone and flesh of the horror. It left a distasteful feeling but horror in its gory form is something I have stayed away from which did that. In “Hot Fuzz” wherein Wright returned with action comedy spoof/homage that played so beautifully and when he did similar indulgence as in his horror venture, I was amazed, self indulged and noted it as one of the best films of the year. After those, it is obvious for him to take on the comic book and then of course merge in the fantasy of gaming world. The idea as always takes off to a kicking start but the key ingredient of what Simon Pegg and Nick Frost brought into those material cannot spring up high in Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

As the title says it is Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) who has to take on the world of evil ex-es of Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizbeth Winstead). Cera tries a little bit out of himself by being the adult he has been shunned off in other films. Not every one in the film are a fan of comics or the game world but Wright definitely is. I remember talking to a film maker in India who mentioned the key element in Hollywood movies which is the fact that the mood is brought right from when the studio names are displayed. It makes an intense difference and so we enter “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World” with Universal theme played as gaming MIDI format. Sweet start.

Scott Pilgrim gives Michael Cera at least the liberty to cheat. He is desperate to feel good about himself and hence dates a high school Chinese girl Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). He is trying to get over that brutal break up with his ex, now a popular rock star. He is the bassist in his band with his high school ex Kim (Alison Pill) as the drummer. So as you think how many ex Pilgrim has, in comes Ramona, who has a funky hair style and a careless outlook to give one sign and one sign only, trouble, baggage and past that is going to haunt her and in this case try to kill Scott.

The film plays like a game played by Edgar Wright. It has action sequences which after a long time is refreshing and fast with bloodless joy. Then it has the right usage of interlacing the sequences. A door in the midst of nowhere and I know it has been done some many time but in here it almost feels home. Like it belongs and participates in this game Wright plays out though not always. Those are high peaks you see and we are longing for some association to the characters than to see them as game characters.
The film which takes hints of the game world in to movies soon forgets the fact that the audience are watching this play. It begins to autoplay the levels. Even for someone who does not understand this world of arcade games and early greatness of simple target driven PC games, the usage of the props from that world becomes tedious. We neither like or dislike Scott Pilgrim and we certainly are not flattered by Ramona’s evil ex-es. They formulate great stunt sequences but there is no character to them to remember for who they are.

The music rocks at times and moves slowly to the pace the movie diminishes. The creative energy in the film is unquestionable. It blends in nicely and legibly to certain sequences and becomes an exercise in others. It is a victim of its own imagination. The medium it appreciates and infiltrates has to be background in this case unlike the director’s previous ventures. Gaming is a strange beast and it involves our participation than mere observation. In “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World” it does not ask participation but the nature of it drives it to be. We are like a friend to Edgar Wright playing this new game and for half an hour we watch him play and then we want to play it but you cannot.

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