A Beginner’s Guide to: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Image from rottentomatoes.com

I’m still not entirely sure what it was I watched last night. I know it was something of a work of genius, after all Edgar Wright is one of the few names I actually do know. Like any other good geek (whether fully fledged, or like me still toying with the genre) ‘Spaced’ is a corner-stone of the DVD library. There is a sense of familiarity between Scott Pilgrim vs The World and this much beloved TV series that makes me believe Wright himself still holds a huge fondness for it. I felt as if I was finally getting to watch Edgar’s over-excited-Spaced-like vision open up to the world on mass – and there was no holding back.

Filled with gorgeous comic book flashes and camera angles, along with dramatic cut shots and those signature comedic poses, Scott Pilgrim is mesmerizingly beautiful. The actual story line seems almost secondary to the incredible design and architecture of the piece – in fact if this film were an actual building, it would defy all logic and sense in its creation, something akin to Escher. It creates pace and interest and humour; all the things we love about Edgar Wright’s direction. In short, it is a work of art.

However, my initial enjoyment was stunted by pure intimidation. I have watched the commentary and extras on Spaced, I know how thick with layers of Geekdom references go in anything that Wright puts his hand to. So deep in fact that my fragile little mind cannot entirely comprehend or even begin to understand everything put before me. On watching I was permanently filled with the idea that I was missing so much, that there were clever angles and ideas that I just wasn’t getting – and this made me sad. I didn’t grow up playing Nintendo, the only comic books I encountered as a child were my Dandy annuals, and I have huge gaping holes in my ‘historical’ movie knowledge. There simply had to be something I was missing.

Turns out though, I know more than I realise! On discussing with the Boy Friend afterwards, he quizzed me on the elements I felt so naïve in, to find that the major reference points had all been hit. I recognised some of those lovely back ground sounds from Zelda and I giggled at Michael Cera’s wide eyed excitement when coins appeared in place of his defeated foe. I loved all the heavy Tekken type dramatics even though running through my head all I could hear was, “Daisy Steiner. Win!” followed by some eerie girly cackling.

But this just made me disappointed – I had wasted most of the film time stressing about just how clever its Director is, and what it was he was hiding beneath the surface. And I didn’t need to. Of course I am going to get the opportunity to watch this film over and over again once it becomes another lynchpin to our DVD collection, but it is not the same. I want to go back into the cinema and relive the experience as it was intended – a brilliantly witty and entertaining twist on a love story that leaves your brain a little bit blown.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World has enough Pop Culture references to make this film accessible to all. We can all get on with that awkward stage of how it feels to be finding ‘love’ in our early twenties, to be trying to find our place amongst the popular and those not-so-much, trying to secure an identity and avoiding embarrassing (or in this case, rather dangerous) exes. We also all know boys in our life (indeed you may be one of these boys) who is a perpetual eight year old, fighting monsters and wanting to be a rock star. Beyond that, you don’t need a heavy education in the comic book/ computer game world – you just have to acknowledge that they exist!

This was the mistake that I made – I allowed insecurities about my personal knowledge of this ‘other world’ to take over. It did dampen my senses slightly, but this was entirely of my own doing. It is a tremendous film with some genuinely touching scenes thrown in among the action and the laughter (I am not sure the people in front appreciated my rocking when the ‘Vegan Police’ arrived). My advice to anyone, like me, scuttling around the edges of this culture (or even further out) is just relax; don’t be put off watching this film because you don’t really get computer games etc. Just watch it. I promise you will love it.

The poster tagline? “An epic of epic epicness.” That’s all you really need to know.

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  1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World « The Writer Side of Life - [...] Last night we went to watch this tremendous film based on the books by Bryan Lee O’Malley and directed…
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