Dork vs. Dork: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
If you don’t cotton to 8-bit NES-based humor, then move right along
By Glenn Given email@example.com and Dan Szczesny firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m certain that a large segment of the crotchety old know-nothing caucus will hand-wave Scott Pilgrim vs. the World off as “post-modern” and “hipster frippery” while remaining willfully ignorant of both the film and the definition of the very terms it levies to degrade said film. The reality is that Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novella series is a delirious treat. Its six-volume hyperbolic epic of too-charismatic-for- his-own-good slacker Pilgrim and his herculean quest to vanquish his new lady love’s seven evil ex-boyfriends aptly walks the lines between indie twee, Ritalin-addled gaming/anime fetishism and punk snark. Plus, they make me hate Canadians a little less.
Best of all, darkly comedic impresario Edgar Wright (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) directs the film adaptation. Wright’s films have combined humor and visceral action with a skill unseen since Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. We should all be eager to see what such a man can make of Scott Pilgrim’s over-the-top antics and millenial references onscreen. I can hope that Wright keeps in place the video game-ized reality, cartoonish kung-fu violence and anarchic spirit that make the comic such a rip-roarer.
And, Cera. sure, this may be Michael Cera’s eight-millionth turn as Michael Cera playing Michael Cera, but since I first saw him on screen in Superbad the match clicked. Thereafter my readings of Pilgrim would always filter his duncey, dweebish cool through Cera’s personality and it only enlived the story.
Scott Pilgrim is an indie eur-geeka that miraculously made it to Hollywood with an ace cast, director and vision intact. All of the deep-mined NES jokes and Subpop record swagger has persisted and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will do admirably to embody the joys of love and life in Generation Y. If you’re too old, keep an open mind, but don’t keep out.
A delirious treat? Sorry, buddy, the so-called punk snark milieu that you so clearly wish to belong to was ground into Hollywood pulp years ago — maybe Tank Girl was the last shot at true anarchy before the Apatows and Ceras of the world figured out a way to make it sweet, and killed it. You can wear your “retro” T-shirts all day long, my friend, it’s still not going to change the world, nor is this movie.
Michael Cera has made a career thus far out of being George-Michael Bluth and the Arrested Development shtick is getting old. That stuttering, mumbling naive character that made that criminally short series so much fun has been wrung so many times, there’s not a drop of funny left.
Honestly, if I have to see him “um” and “er” his way into the heart of another girl, I’m going to sell my collection of Arrested Development and stop watching movies all together. Not since Buster Keaton has a more unlikeable and unlikely character played the same damn person (himself) over and over again. He’s like the AC/DC of movies — and he plays the same dumb character again in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. (The difference of course, is that AC/DC rocks.)
Anyway, so it’s based on a graphic novel. Big whoop. Wow, a new movie based on a graphic novel nobody has heard of and nobody has read. I suppose that’ll suffice for the too-cool-for-Batman crowd.
What’s worse is that the awesome Edgar Wright actually agreed to direct this clunker. I guess after such greatness as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, he wanted to slum it a little. Oh, and guess what he’s directing next? Ant-Man. Yeah, seriously. Ant-Man.
Remember Kick Ass? Yeah, I didn’t think you did. That was supposed to be all indy, stylized fun too. That was also based on a comic series no one heard of and no one read. Well, no one watched either.
What’s left here? The cast may as well be auditioning for community theater West Side Story. One of the writers is working on a remake of 21 Jump Street. And even the hipster set as this stage should recognize the death of cool when they see it. Stay home. Read your Green Lantern comic books instead.
A remake of 21 Jump Street would be awesome! Secondly, it is graphic novels like Scott Pilgrim that give credibility to the medium that Green Lantern and other underwear-on-the-outside kinks have debased. I’ll take a modest budget Strangers in Paradise, or Grendel: Black, White and Red adaptation any day over the next spandex CGI fest. Kick-Ass failed because they abandoned the comic source material. Scott Pilgrim is wearing it’s devotion to source as a badge of honor.