Sully Looks at Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

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One of the great parts about film is that there is something for everyone, and everyone has different tastes when it comes to genre, pacing, characters, action, etc. For example, I can’t stand to watch film genres such as romantic comedies, teen movies or long, drawn out dramas, with some exceptions to this, like stuff by John Hughes, who did Ferris Bueller, The Breakfast Club, and so on. I call myself a huge nerd, so one of the genres that appeals to me the most would have to be genres like sci-fi, fantasy, and drama with a little bit of action pumped in to keep things interesting.

These genres have gained a lot of popularity over the past decade or so, with the meteoric rise of franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and franchises like Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings. But at this point in time, almost everyone likes or has seen these movies, but they manage to stay in this little bubble and not explore anything outside of it. In order to allow for some exploration of some lesser known movies, I can hopefully share some of the movies that I love that not everyone is aware of.

One of the most important recommendations I can give is to watch the films of Edgar Wright, an English director who holds the top spot in my list of favorite directors.  He is known for the Cornetto Trilogy, a series of movies that includes Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. His most recent film, Baby Driver, is a movie about a getaway driver that has music synced up to every action sequence, and it has become his most commercially successful film so far.

But my favorite movie by Edgar Wright would have to be his 2010 film, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, a film based on the acclaimed, cult classic graphic novel series of the same name by Bryan Lee O’Malley. The story follows Scott Pilgrim, a 23 year old, poor, college graduate living in Toronto with nothing going on, with the exception of his band, Sex Bob-Omb, for which he plays bass. When the movie starts, he has begun dating a 17 year old girl named Knives Chau, as a way to move on from a bad breakup about a year ago. In order to find some success, the band signs up for the Toronto battle of the bands. If they win, they will get the chance to sign a recording contract with an Indie rock producer, Gideon Graves. But soon enough, he meets and falls instantly head over heels with an American girl named Ramona flowers, whom he wants to date. But as soon as the first event of the battle of the bands rolls around, he finds that in order to be with Ramona, he has to defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes, and he will then get the chance to be with her. He accepts the challenge, and the journey that follows is a funny, action packed movie filled with astonishing visuals and effects, and an awesome soundtrack to go along with it.       While on paper, this movie seems really out there and too strange to understand, and much less enjoy, this film does everything right, and it has this charm that makes the viewer want to keep watching. The elements that make it work so well are its comic book-like visuals and its unique brand of visual comedy. One of the things Wright is known for is how he plays with transitions and shot composition in order to help tell the story and get a few laughs along the way. Every shot in the movie has been laid out and planned to the T, with almost every scene having things in the background that add to the charm and spectacle of the film. One great example of this is a scene where Scott is fighting Ramona’s second evil ex, Lucas Lee, who happens to be a pro skateboarder. Scott tricks him into doing a really intense and dangerous trick on a steep set of rails, and the resulting sequence is a combination of Lucas grinding down the rails at high speeds, in a way that looks both very smooth and intense, pulling the viewer into the action, and then returning the focus to still shots of Scott looking at the action from above, and just going “Wow.” every so often. It completely derails the intensity and drama of the scene, and it makes it seem very detached, giving it a very ironic feel. The amazing part about this is that these little bits of visual comedy persist throughout the film, and all of that adds to an experience that I enjoy each time I watch it, as I catch more and more details every time I watch it.

The other great thing about the movie is how the visual effects also add to the overall aesthetic of the film, which is a pretty direct translation from a comic book to the big screen. All of the little details in the film make it feel as if you are reading a comic book, with techniques like action lines to show the movement, lighting bolts to convey all of the sound and the music, and sound effects that are paired with onomatopoeia to give them emphasis. All of this is paired with scene transitions that feel like flipping a page, and a fast pace that ensures that it never gets boring. Instead of being really gimmicky and tasteless, it is executed in a very natural way that is never too in your face. The movie has a star studded cast, with big names like Chris Evans and Michael Cera, who give amazing performances in a story that is fun and bizarre, while also being very relatable and down to earth, with a lot of emphasis on relationships, and how your past tends to stick around. Scott and Ramona have to fight off  their pasts, both figuratively and literally, in order for everything to work out, and the film does a great job of showing the subtlety of this little bit of symbolism. I could talk about this for ages, but if you still aren’t convinced, just take my advice and watch it. It is currently on Netflix, and it is definitely worth your time to watch. And if you like this one, you’ll definitely like Wright’s other films like Baby Driver, as I could write articles just as long as this one for every single one of his films.