Thursday, 26 August 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Evening

I remember when I saw the first still of production from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. It sported George-Michael from Arrested Development with a flaming Katana, fighting some mysterious men on a giant neon pyramid. I did what any self-respecting unemployed person would do and marched to the shops in my pyjamas to spend money [I didn't have] on a book [I didn't really need]. From there stemmed a love affair with a comic that hit very close to home. Scott's a 23 year old slacker living in Toronto (I was living in Canada at the time), who's forced to fight the seven evil exes of his new girlfriend, in order to continue dating her. The similarities were... undeniable (apart from the whole evil exes thing).

Edgar Wright obviously saw potential in a young Michael Cera

6 months (and a hell of a lot of trailer watching) later, the film is finally upon us. I was lucky enough to attend a very special Ultra Culture screening of the film last night at the ICA, complete with wacky competitions, a currently unreleased Rockband 3, and video greeting from the cast themselves. A massive geek-fest basically.

The film is predictably great, perfectly syncing O'Malley's 6 volume relationship odyssey into one succinct story about love and 7 evil exes. Somehow it manages to cram more winks and nods to popular culture than Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz put together. You could say it's "like Spaced, but on Acid!" But I won't say that because I'm not a massive douchebag. Starting with a 16bit version of the Universal logo, the following 2 hours is a love letter to anything internet/Nintendo/indie related, and inevitably becomes a bit self indulgent at times. But that is the fun of Scott Pilgrim. It's very aware it has the attention span of a 7 year old kid on a coke zero bender - so an unabashed Wright fills the film with as many mind-bending sequences as humanly possible, and resoundingly succeeds. I think it's safe to say Wright has pretty much sewn up the market for hyper-intensive action scenes and innovative directorial in-jokes. A true auteur of our time, this man is going to be very busy in the next 10 years.

A game changer? If people let it be.

I appreciate the fact that a lot of people won't like Scott Pilgrim. I don't hold it against them (well, only a little), it's just a very particular type of film. Even my interest wained slightly in between fights 3 - 5; mainly due to the sheer number of visual references thrown at you in such quick succession. Some segments work brilliantly in it's bizarre alternate reality (the DJ-off, and the pyramid fight for example), whereas some parts feel a bit silly (ie. the vegan police, and the demon bollywood number). Perhaps Wright was too faithful to the source material? Who knows. Just don't expect huge Inception-type blockbuster appeal.

The biggest surprise of our evening, however, came when the credits had finished, as the man-of-the-hour (aka Edgar Wright) calmly walked through the door, greeted by hushed awe and incessant whispering. Looking like he hadn't slept for about a year, Wright answered questions with his infamous cheeky grin and geeky charm, leaving the whole audience feeling quietly humbled.

As you can tell, we got pretty close to the man who made Spaced

Anyway, I could probably ramble on about how amazing this film is, but you're either gonna see it or you're not. Perfectly described as a musical, but with Japanese styled fight scenes instead of songs; it is a film guaranteed to split audiences, and seal Edgar Wright's fate as King of the Chic Geeks.

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