Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

This review was made in August of 2010, and edited for release on this blog in May of 2011

Most people will think that I’m exaggerating if I say that Scott pilgrim is the kind of modern-day epic that comes about once a generation, but I truly believe it. While it wasn’t a large financial success, I’m sure it will be a cult classic for years to come. I would put it in the same category as Wayne’s World in that it acts as both a survey and a commentary on the culture of the 20-something culture of the day. Before I continue I should say that it is not a family friendly movie. And I struggle with how much I enjoy this movie. The sexual lifestyle portrayed through several of the films scenes is directly contrary to scripture. If you read my entry regarding my personal rules for watching movies you’ll know that I don’t watch movies flippantly – when considering a movie, I take it very seriously. While there are several scenes that make solid strikes against it I do believe that you will see the hipster subculture values displayed, for good or ill and that there is much to learn about identifying with this culture by observing its values and while entertainment value alone cannot redeem a movie, it does have great entertainment value. If you totally ignore a movie because of its content you may miss what is happening in the culture and this film changes the game in some ways. Perhaps the film’s greatest accomplishment is that it cannot be defined by anything other than itself: it’s truly original. Placing it in a single genre is impossible. The best that I could say is that it’s 3 parts kung fu, 4 parts comedy, 3 part super-hero, 2 parts romance, 1 part musical and 100% comic book. It exemplifies what high quality, fast-cut editing can do for the pace of what could’ve been a trilogy of movies and the incorporation of the comic-book onomatopoeia and the different uses of written text as an added layer throughout the movie flows so well with the comedy of the story that you almost ask your self “Why hasn’t every comic book movie done this?” It’s a feel good movie that moves at a breakneck speed, which begs to be watched again as it’s nearly impossible to catch every subtly, every popular culture reference, every sound bite that is taken out of a video game, every witty throw-away line. It’s a well-written and well-produced collage of 2010’s 20-something je ne sais pas. Some people will be overwhelmed by the pace of the movie coupled with suspension of disbelief required to really enjoy the movie; one friend of mine could only say “That movie was all over the place.” It is not going to reach as wide an audience as most summer blockbusters, but within the culture that it depicts it will continue to be influential in a way that most movies will never be. Any fan of the original comic series (a Canadian work that largely draws on video games and other mid-90’s popular culture) would love it, as it goes out of its way to be true to the text. It replicates exact moments in the book down to pain-staking detail as small as the motion lines around a character’s head. Based on the source material, the casting is perfect and every character is lovable – even if in an antagonist’s role. In summary, for entertainment value I give it 5/5 stars, for family friendliness I give it 1/5. It’s very clever and extremely fun to watch, but much of it is based on a post-modern morals that are equal parts distracting and humorous, so its easy to overlook them, but they are no less prevalent. In short, it’s a geeky 20-something’s dream and for better or worse, will likely to be considered one of my favorite movies if it stands the test of time. Though I can’t whole-heartedly recommend it due to some of it’s content, the very least I can say is: It’s definitely worth a viewing. If you see one movie this summer – you have to see Inception, it’s the best movie of the summer, but if you see two – this should be the second.

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Posted on August 20, 2010 in Movies & TV

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About the Author

William H. Adams does creative work for a church. He enjoys sandwiches, jet skis, legos, ultimate frisbee, and living life to the fullest. Will is most passionate about using creative media to tell the story of what God is doing in the lives of those who love Christ. He believes the purpose of his life to glorify God and encourage others.

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