“If you want to date me, you may have to defeat my seven evil ex’s” Strong words for a first date. I was lucky enough to see an advance screening (with a Q&A moderated by Jeff Goldsmith of Creative Screen Writing Magazine) of Edgar Wrights new movie, Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, based on the graphic novel, created by Brian Lee O’Malley. The graphic novel is a love story with comedy in the style of 8-bit graphics video games. In order for Scott to level up, get an extra life, and coins he must fight his way there to get to Ramona Flowers’ heart.
I managed to finish the last volume before I got to see the movie. Now, having read the book, my expectations going in are always “It won’t be like the book, so get over it” but for the most part, it was. O’Malley wrote the book using final draft because “there really isn’t any kind of format for comic books” [O’Malley] He found final draft easy to use. So a script was already in the works once he finished the first three books
If you’re not familiar with Scott Pilgrim’s precious little life, you should be. Scott (played by Michael Cera) plays bass for a band call “Sex Bob-omb” dating a high school girl named Knives Chau (played by Ellen Wong.) in between jobs, and lives with his gay roommate Wallace Wells (Played by Kieran Culkin). The beginning of the movie starts just like the first pages of volume one. It’s been a year since he broke up with Envy Adams (played by Brie Larson) and is getting over it by dating Knives. After a date he had with Knives, Scott has a dream of Ramona Flowers (Played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) Scott later sees Ramona in real life while he’s with Knives but ends up seeing her at Julie Power’s (played by Aubrey Plaza) party. Julie warns…forbids, Scott to back off, but nothing will stop Scott from seeing Ramona, not even her seven evil ex’s. During the Q&A Wright likes to compare this movie as “Say Anything…Meets Kill Bill”
The Evil Ex’s are Matthew Patel (played by Satya Bhabha) Lucas Lee (Chris Evens) Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh) Roxie Richter (Mae Whitman) Kyle & Ken Katayanagi (twins) and Gideon Grodon Graves (Jason Schwartzman). Each of the fights were amazing and greatly stylized. It had it all, from hand to hand combat, sword fights, and yes, Ramona’s giant hammer! Not all of the fights happen like the book; in fact one of the fights I thought were better than the book. Although it still would have been cool to see Michael Cera fight a robot, battle Knives’ Dad, and fight in the subspace (all in the book.) I have to tip my hat to Jason Schwartzman (I am just not a fan of his or like watching him act) but his performance was fantastic. He played an evil ex to the T. The cocky, snarkyness of an ex but acting like he is really a nice guy.
Wright was no doubt the best director for this film. Just like the book, the pace of the movie is filmed just the same as the flow of the books. Hard cuts, fast pace, and over dramatic Scott Pilgrim moments. From going to this Q&A it seems as O’Malley was a silent writer for the movie. Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall, the writers of the movie, were actually waiting on O’Malley to finish up the book, so they could finish their version for the movie. The book and the movie were influences on each other near the end of the series. There is a part in the movie when Scott questions Ramona about an ex and says “You had a sexy phase?” O’Malley explained that he asked Wright if he could take that line from him and put it in his book as his own. Wright was fine with it, and jokingly said that he would have just taken it from him without asking.
In the book, Scott is a fighting machine. He knows how to handle himself and is a bad ass fighter. When I heard Michael Cera was playing him, I was sure it was just going to be Michael Cera fighting awkwardly as opposed to him usually just standing and walking awkwardly. Cera is definitely a bad ass when it comes to fighting in this move. Cera has stepped up his game as an actor and took charge of this role. He does have his Cera-y awkwardness in it but NOT as much like his other films. He plays confident, cocky, and sometimes a dick very well. This is something we never see in any of his films. The closest thing to it would be in his last movie “Youth in Revolt”. The rest of the cast was just as stellar. They all really looked like they were straight out of the comic book. Steven Stills (Mark Webber,) Kim Pine (Alison Pills), Young Neil (Johnny Simmons), the casting director, set designer and scout locator did a great job. They used the actual places that O’Malley drew from in Toronto, Canada for his book in the movie. This made the movie come to 8-bit video game comic book life.
Hopefully I didn’t give it away too much, since it won’t come out till August 13th, never the less there were some changes and a lot of stuff was cut from the book, but this was expected. I was really hoping they would make at least 3 movies to really develop the characters and the chemistry between his friends and especially with Ramona Flowers. Some of it did seem a little rushed but the point did come across. There are so many good sub and strong stories in that book that they missed with Knives, Kim, Wallace and Envy. If you’re a fan of the book, old school video games, and comedy, you really don’t want to miss this. Overall Edgar Wright and Michael Bacall did an awesome job from turning it into a 2 hour epic story of epic epicness.Last 5 posts by Rick Weasel
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