Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World:
The Ultimate In Geeksploitation
Its always been a staple of hollywood to make films aimed at certain cultures, anyone thats at all familiar with Grindhouse can think of atleast 15 cultures that were pandered too at any given time, and though the golden age of grindhouse is gone, its idea of making films aimed at certain groups remains, and is enough to list this film as modern grindhouse. If you haven't known Scott Pilgrim is aimed solely at the geeks of the world, much like the graphic novel series it was based on. Geeks, as a whole, or atleast in the way Scott Pilgrim crosses genres, have never really been pandered too, oh sure each group'll get their movies, but geekdom as a whole? Never been done, until now. And though its kind of risky waters to tread, I find that just like the graphic novels themselves, the film treads them fearlessly and effortlessly, and also adds a whole new level to it with its audio and visual that was not able to be done in drawn form. I will however admit, for all the good and incredible geekwank that this film is, if you aren't a fan of comic books, video games, anime, and indie music, then chances are you won't really like Scott Pilgrim all that much because you'll find it hard to follow and a tad on the insanely ludicrous side. But if you're all about one or all of those things, then by all means, you gotta see it.
The film tells the story of socially awkward Scott Pilgrim, a guy in his early 20s, living in Toronto Canada and playing in his band "Sex Bob-omb", a play on the term "sex bomb" and the super mario bros. creature Bob-Ombs, he lives in an a basement across the street from the house he grew up in, which he shares with a gay friend who often has random men over, at the start of the film Scott is dating a 15 year old asian catholic school girl named Knives Chou, as a means of getting over his last girlfriend, one who broke his heart when she left him for the drummer in her new band, which happens to have gone on to be come internationally famous. Things are ok, even if abit stressful and annoyingly problematic at times for Scott and his bands, his girlfriend is their official groupie, and they're all set to enter a battle of the bands that'll lead to a huge record contract for the band. This is when Scott meets a girl named Ramona Flowers, a girl he says he's been dreaming about for a long time, and thats when everything changes. Scott sets about meeting and trying to date Ramona, even if he's forgotten to tell Knives they were split before he did so.
Not long after Scott and Ramona begin their relationship, before he tells knives its over infact, Scott gets an email from a guy named Matthew Patel, declaring that they will soon meet and fight, for he and "The League Of Evil Ex's" who are a unified group of Ex's of one Ramona Flowers, who as you are now aware, is Scott's new girlfriend. Scott skims through the email and doesn't actually read it, and instead of knowing what is to come, he continues about his day and gets ready for the first round of the Toronto Battle Of The Bands. At the climax of the performance of Sex Bob-Omb, Mathew Patel, in true geek fantasy fashion, flies through the ceiling like a Dragonball Z villain and demands that he and Scott fight, after being furious that Scott didn't bother to read the email, and angry explaining that he looks like a pirate because pirates are in this year, the fight begins, and in true geek fashion, the fight becomes something out of Street Fighter, or some other fighting style video game. From this point on, the movie becomes sort of like you're watching the cinematic to a video game, where you get through each level, you fight an end boss, and Ramona gives you incite into who they are and possibly how to defeat them before each fight, and with small mini-cinematic scenes between each level, it really gets fun the farther it goes.
The film is built on the concept of following the pattern of a video game, each Ex is more powerful then the one before, and you must progress to them by completing s task or a level of some kind or another, each of the League Of Evil Ex's has their own way of fighting and their own special powers that range from mystics, speed, teleportation, veganism, sonic manipulation, and mind control. And yes, read that right, one of them's super power is being a vegan, simply because vegans are better then all of us. Scott has to fight them all, using various special powers that he gains to help him fight against each of the Ex's, on the way to the leader of the League, Gideon Graves, with the final battle taking place in a nightclub he's created called The Chaos Theater, with all the climaxes and sub-boss fights you would expect at the end of a video game where you need to punch and skullcrack your way to the end. Its a total out and out geekfest, and its brilliant because of it! Seriously, the reason I'm being so vague and not going into plot details it because it would be impossible to cram in all the geekish references and homages in this film, its just amazing beyond belief. But you expect that from something thats basically a 22 year old loser LARPing River City Ransom. (Anyone thats played River City Ransom will get the reason I referenced it by the second to last "boss fight" of the film lol)
I do think that maybe this film falls into the same pitfalls that other movies aimed at the geek culture and refuse to broaden their scope so that a larger audiance could be accepting, the simple fact that if you don't know what the references or homages are, you simply won't get the film. After all, if you don't know why all the guys Scott punches turn to coins, then how is that gonna be funny to you? Its that fact that I sadly think is why this film didn't do well at the box office, it disappeared alot faster then anyone had expected it too, and I do believe its because it just was too geek for those who are not of that culture. That doesn't make it a bad film by any means, it makes it a really good one infact, but it just doesn't make it something the masses are going to go and see, its kind of like how Shortbus wasn't really liked outside of the gay community, even though its an incredible film, or how alot of the movies aimed at hip hop culture don't really do well outside of that grouping either, it doesn't mean its bad because of the lack of cash it grossed, it just means it'll do better in the home market sales. And as anyone can tell you, thats what its doing at this point, already Amazon.com's number one selling blu ray of all time, and really raking in the cash in in store sales too. Sometimes thats just how a film works, infact if it wasn't for Micheal "I'm Awkward In Everything I Do" Cera starring in the film, it probably would have gone direct to DVD/Blu Ray in the first place where it would have become a giant cult hit, much like 2009's Black Dynamite, but again, such is the nature of the beast that is hollywood.
Now for the big question, do I think you should see this movie? Well, if you're a geek, are turned on by geeks, or know a geek, or wish to understand the nature of those that inhabit the shires, glens, grottoes, thickets and hollers of the Geek Forest, then by all means, get thee to thy shopkeep of choice and get a copy of the film, or you know, get thee to yonder red box or netflix and watch it that way too, you know whatever works for ye. You most assuredly won't regret it. But, if you're not a geek, have never read a comic book, or seen an anime, or never played a video game that was either a fighting game or a quest style video game, or even one of those ones with the dance pad, then avoid this film like the plague, because chances are, you probably won't really get it sadly. Though you might like the visuals, there is alot of visual goodness involved as well... so who knows?
anyway, here is the trailer...