A Dreamer Walking

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on January 23, 2011

I watched Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World the other day. I think it highlights both the skill that I see coming with this generation of filmmakers and the greatest weakness of this generation of filmmakers.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was a extremely inventive movie. We are taken on an abstract ride through a world that can only be expressed through the medium of film. In the movie Scott Pilgrim is a twenty three year old with a very low self esteem. He is going out with a seventeen year old who he does not really like. He is also still trying to get over being dumped by a popular music star from more then a year ago.

The movie is flashy and loaded with special effects. Edgar Wright, the director of this film, tries to express the movie like a video game. At times almost every noise heard is expressed through bold font. If there is a knock on the door or ring of a phone, we get the sound literally spelled out for us. Usually the sounds in the movie remind you of of arcade rooms from the 80’s and early 90’s. When introduced to new locations or new characters we see a small title card pop up giving us their name and basic function. For example: when we are introduced to Scott’s roommate Wallace Wells, under the title of his name we see “roommate”, under that “25 years old”, and under that we see “Status: 7.4/10”.

About ten minutes into the film we are introduced to one more character, Romona Flowers. Romona is the girl of Scott’s dreams. Quickly Scott loses all interest in his seventeen year old girlfriend and goes after Romona. However, Scott soon finds out that if he wants to date Romona, he needs to fight and defeat her “Seven X’s”. The “Seven X’s” consist of people Romona has gone out with in the past. From this point on Edgar really plays the movie like a video game. Every time a boyfriend or girlfriend (she went out with one girl in her past) comes to face Scott they dramatically announce their arrival with some title cards expressing who they are and their basic fighting ability. After this we see a big “VS.” pop up on screen between the two opponents. Scott then is able to use anything he could get his hands on to defeat the “X’s“. Amazingly Scott inherits expert kung fu skills making most of the fights very entertaining to watch. After the “X’s” are defeated they blow into handfuls of coins and a big “K.O” looms over where they once were.

I found the expressionism very interesting. I liked seeing sound effects expressed through stylized font. I liked the exaggerated fight scenes where we literally saw characters get thrown through walls and thousands of feet into the air. However, all this does not necessarily make for a good movie. You need to fall in love with the story and the characters if you want the movie to go any farther then the highs you can get from playing a video game. For me, the story and characters were extremely shallow.

Why is it that a movie done in such a unique and expressive way, could only go as deep as a Saturday morning cartoon show? The relationship between Scott and Ramona is never really explained. There is nothing that seems to get us interested Ramona except for the fact that she looks hot and dyes her hair different colors every week and a half.

Because the characters can not express themselves very well, there are scenes where we just get a lot of yelling and low blow humor. We see a very disturbing character in Scott’s roommate Wallace. Wallace is gay and he seems to not have any morals when it comes to sexuality. Wallace will sleep with any man even Scott’s sisters boyfriend. There are times where he has three partners in bed at once. In almost every scene Wallace is trying to get his hands on some man. Of course this is all done for comic relief, but I really want to know why someone like Wallace is supposed to be funny?

As I said, Scott does have some epic battle scenes where he is fighting for his girl Ramona, but it is hard to understand why. Scott never really explains why he likes Ramona. The truth is Scott does not seem to know why he likes Ramona and he does not spend any time trying to figure it out.

The movie is also full of cliche’s. We of course have the time where Scott thinks he has lost Ramona forever. Then he decides to go and fight to get her back, which results in him getting within a inch of victory and then “unexpectedly” falling to defeat. But never fear, he  miraculously gets up from his defeat to beat the very cliche villain who wants Ramona for himself.  The result is all the good guys say they have learned their lesson, however it is very hard to understand exactly what they have learned. Scott gets Ramona and they walk into the next “level”, most likely to live happily ever after.

The filmmakers of this generation seem to think that they should just be able to say , “These two are in love”, and expect the audience to buy into it “hook line and sinker”. Maybe that is the case for the majority of audiences these days. We don’t need to go deep anymore. Shallow if fine, as long as we have a few laughs and see some cool special effects. The reason why immoral people like Scott’s roommate Wallace are funny is because we really do not care what that portrayal is saying about the homosexual life style, we just care that it’s “funny”.

In Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, cool fonts try to hide shallow characters and special effects try to conceal a cliche plot line. In essence, the breakthroughs of the movie are used as a cover up for the weak story. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a perfect example of a “cool movie” that is quickly forgotten. And, along with Scott Pilgrim Vs. The world, this generation of filmmakers will be easily forgotten if we do not choose to put story and vision ahead of cool camera moves and special effects.

4 Responses

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  1. Minnow said, on January 23, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Interesting POV. I would agree that the special effects and cool camera moves need to serve the story and characters, not the other way around. Not having seen the movie, could it be that the director was saying something about the video game generation by comparing their “love lives” to a video game? It seem to me that we often treat those people we are “in relationships” with as though we are climbing levels in a game. Just a thought.

  2. striker49 said, on January 24, 2011 at 8:48 am

    That is a good question Minnow. I do think Edgar the director was saying something about this generation by comparing their “love lives” to a video game. Just, I don’t think he was meaning to say anything fugitive. There was no character in the movie that seemed to stand for a more foundational relationship. All the characters seemed shallow and I feel that was the case because the filmmakers did not care. When the roommate Wallace hits on Scott’s sisters boyfriend, Scott’s sister does not even seem to take offense. When Scott tells Julie that he doesn’t know why he likes her, Julie does not seem to care. There was nothing in the film that seemed to say, “the way these guys are going about relationships does not seem completely right”. Everyone seemed to buy into the plot completely, even though they seemed to hardly know why they were doing what they were doing.

    This of course is just my perspective. The movie has gotten some great reviews, so I might be wrong. But I do not think the Director cared about what kind of statement he was making.

  3. Secretmeme said, on February 2, 2011 at 6:42 am

    It’s Ramona he’s after, not Julie.

    • striker49 said, on February 2, 2011 at 7:54 am

      Sorry about that! You are right it is Ramona. I couldn’t remember her name, so I looked it up on IMB and wrote down the name above Ramona for some reason :/

      But thank you for the comment and the catch. I have corrected the error.

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