I wrote a little while ago about how it seems games that are considered cinematic are regarded as masterpieces, while movies that are considered gamey are terrible. Well, after watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, we finally have a movie that is both gamey and good! If you’re wondering what type of game Scott Pilgrim is supposed to be, it all depends on perspective. Most people will get a Legend of Zelda vibe from the soundtrack and progression, while more intense gamers may feel something more like Devil May Cry and No More Heroes.
Scott Pilgrim is a movie adaption of a comic book series of the same name (which interestingly enough isn’t actually finished yet), brought to us by Edgar Wright, director of both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, both of which are I liked. Now I was a little bit skeptical when I first saw the trailer, because a) it featured Michael Cera and therefore made me think of another socially awkward teen flick, and b) because it looked like a hipster film (on reflection, when there is Michael Cera, there is a hipster film, and vice versa). I was however thankfully proven wrong as the film actually makes fun of hipsters and Michael Cera seems to have grown some balls for once! It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the role of Scott Pilgrim is Michael Cera’s best role to date. Speaking of acting, all of the acting in this film is top-notch. I loved everything about it, from Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Scott’s girlfriend Ramona Flowers, Kieran Culkin as Scott’s sarcastic and gay roommate Wallace Wells, Ellen Wong as Scott’s obsessive ex-girlfriend Knives Chau, to even Mark Webber, Alison Pill, and Johnny Simmons as members of the band Sex Bob-omb (a nice little reference for all those gamers out there). After seeing them play their roles so well, I seriously can’t think of anyone else who could’ve done a better job than these guys.
The terrific special effects and the plot of Scott fighting Ramona’s seven evil ex’s all help with the gamey feel, especially the special effects. Things such as Scott accumulating points from battle, people exploding into coins when killed, 8-bit soundtracks, power-ups, and even a pee meter all add to this idea of a world run by video game logic, sort of like the T.V. show Code Monkeys, which also ran on video game logic and including a pee meter (amongst other things). This use of special effects is not only a terrific way to do a video game movie, but also a terrific way to do a comic book movie! This especially true when sounds effects or dialogue appears on screen with the appropriate text, which is reminiscent of the old days of Batman and Robin where POW! Would replace or accompany someone getting punched in the face.