I don't think I have ever seen a movie more sure of what it is.
Now, don't get me wrong it was far from great, often flawed and very unrelentingly weird, but it was so good at being exactly what it wanted to be, that it was almost scary. It was almost scary how well it seemed to understand being an aimless twenty-two year old, something I am well familiar with. It is scary how well it understands the nerdy, borderline hipster culture, full of in jokes catered exactly to us.
Honestly, I just think I have never seen a film more obviously created for ... well, for me.
So lets break this puppy down into its component pieces, shall we?
So much was right in this movie. It tells the story of a twenty-two year old slacker in Canada with who just seems to be waiting around for his life to start. In the meantime he is unemployed, living with a friend, in a terrible rock band called Sex Ba-Bomb (The first in a long list of video game in-jokes, and a good litmus test: don't get the joke? You probably won't get the movie then.), and dating a high school student. Her name is Knives Cho, and she's Chinese, they almost held hands once, Scott says, but then she got embarrassed.
Scott is in dire need something to get him moving, something to push him out of the seeming funk into which he has fallen. He gets it in the from of a sudden meeting with the girl of his dreams Romona Flowers. A hipster with color changing hair who roller blades in libraries and is from America. Shes is gorgeous, and for some reason against all hope, decides to give Scott a shot. Mostly I think it's the fact he is generally charming, in a geeky way.
And that, dear friends, is where things get weird.
See, Ramona has seven evil exes, who Scott must battle to be able to date her. That is just as crazy as it sounds, and it is then that the movie kicks into high gear, with an explosion of visual creativity. The fights with the exes are video game style, with power ups, special movies and enemys who turn into coins when defeated. Scott inexplicably knows karate, and can hold his own against these folks, which is I guess something ever nerdy kid wishes they could do.
I wouldn't want to give away too much of the plot after that, but it stays fun and visually inventive. This is certainly one of the most eye-popping movies I have ever seen- that isn't from Hong-Kong or Japan.
The acting is also very passable, none of it is the stuff of Oscars, but certainly, none of it is awful.
But that leads us to;
The movie ain't perfect, far from it. Most of the problem I can see is the general alienation of anyone not a geeky twenty something who grew up with a Nintendo 64. If you weren't that into things like Mari, this is just not going to work for you, I would think. It borders on too much even from someone like me who gets all the jokes. The transition into the crazy video game world is very abrupt, and I have to wonder:
Is it real?
Is it a crazy dream?
Do other people notice this stuff going on?
Is this some crazy parallel universe?
None of these questions will be answered, at all. And I realized suddenly how important the paper thin Hong-Kong action movie cop out 'They know secret ancient Kung Fu' is. I missed even a hand-wave type explanation here.
Additionally, the plot here is rather predictable. We all know the boy meets girl story, and this simply retells it with cooler visuals and geeks in mid. Now, I have nothing against tried and true plots, I just wish they had a plot to match their phenomenal effects.
All in all, I would sat that Scott Pilgrim vs the World is an aptly told story of the early years of adult hood, as digested by the video game generation and spit out for we who have had our attention spans destroyed by the instant gratification and violence of said games. All sarcasm aside, its good, and it knows its audience; though, perhaps it knows them a little too well.
3.5 out of five stars.
Above average from great visuals, but predictable story.