Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Movie with Abe: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Directed by Edgar Wright
Released August 13, 2010

Even if Michael Cera always plays the same role in every one of his films, he seems to be making some fantastic decisions. He knows how to play a certain part, and playing it over and over and over again isn’t a problem if the material is fresh and entertaining each time. This film can be seen as a sort of culmination of the character and personality that he has been crafting over the past three or so years: a shy, awkward hero who unwittingly becomes the subject of a forceful girl’s affection and is the victim of plenty of unexpected problems, both big and small. In this particular venture, Cera has to take one the seven evils exes of his latest crush, the alluring and brilliantly-named Ramona Flowers.

Cera gets to play a hero type often, even if his motivations and actions don’t come from the purest of places. In this film, however, Cera is literally the good guy, matched against seven deadly opponents in this bizarre hybrid world of video game rules and comic book sensibilities. Superpowers are simply part of the equation, and the characters in the film make nothing of their existence and don’t mention them as anything strange. Cera’s Scott Pilgrim rises to the challenge of fighting his foes because it’s the only sensible response. He even goes so far as to reference his own familiarity and infatuation with video games by repeatedly citing an uninteresting fact about the origin of the name Pac-Man.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is full of laughs and jokes, but the best part about it is its cleverness. Wit isn’t all that’s needed to make a fun film, and the way that written announcements of knockouts or points pop up on the screen during fights (and at other times) is innovative and entertaining. Unlike a film like “Zombieland,” where the titles pop up on screen for a while and then gradually fade away as the film goes on, these amusing captions continue to appear throughout the film’s entire run. Fortunately, like “Zombieland,” this film remains hilarious and engaging throughout its entire run, thanks to its fun writing but also due to its talented cast.

In terms of fresh new female faces, look no further than Michael Cera’s co-star. After starring alongside Ellen Page in “Juno,” Emma Stone in “Superbad,” Kat Dennings in “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” and Portia Doubleday in “Youth in Revolt” in their breakout roles, Cera now gets to play the main part opposite the lovely and intoxicating Mary Elizabeth Winstead, whose enchanting mysteriousness and ever-changing hair color is reminiscent of Kate Winslet’s Clementine from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” The two films are actually somewhat similar in terms of their sequencing. This one isn’t grounded in logic, however, and instead plays out more like an amalgam of a video game and a comic book. It’s a winning combination, and even if the story loses a bit of coherence later in the game, stick with it and it will eventually make sense. This awesome ride is worth it.


No comments: