On paper, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World sounds like a bit of a stretch. A young man, determined to get with this one chick that he can’t stop thinking about, must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends before he can call her his own. It sounds a bit like Super Mario Bros. Does he already know he has to defeat 7 of these guys or will he find out after each one that “the princess is in another castle”? I have played similar storylines via the Playstation in a game called Mortal Combat. I have to ask myself, “Can they pull this off?” and also, “Do I even care?”. Can this Scott Pilgrim defeat all 7 of these villain ex’s? It seems that a more realistic outcome in such a gauntlet setup would have Scott win the first couple of fights and then be so worn out that he would get defeated by the 3rd or 4th ex-boyfriend. But who am I kidding? How dare I bring realism into the mix? Let’s face it, unless it’s Anime’, this film doesn’t sound promising. I understand that I am probably in the minority on this one, but forgive me if I don’t fall prey to the over-done Michael Cera underdog character embedded in the against all odds plotline of a film that attempts to wear some pretty big britches.
However, if there were any director out there that would be up to the daunting task of taking this outrageous storyline and making it work on film, it would be Edgar Wright, who just happens to be the very director charged with the daunting task of taking this outrageous storyline and making it work on film. Yeah, that just happened.
Edgar Wright is the same young Englishman who brought us the hilarious and refreshing zombie-spoof, Shaun of the Dead, starring Simon Pegg, where the zombies chase at a snail’s pace and the English humor resonates. Wright’s second feature was Hot Fuzz, also starring Pegg and also a “spoof-like” film. This time, Wright pays comedic homage to those quick-edit/action/mystery/cop thrillers. Naturally, the film that is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World should be put into the hands of the director that hit two grand slams his first two times to the plate; a director that can handle comedy and that has the chops to make a technically legitimate film at the same time. Also, I shouldn’t fail to mention the fact that Edgar Wright directed the entire series of Spaced, a British comedy sitcom that was criminally under-made (only 14 episodes) and remains vastly under-rated.
Now, regarding my Michael Cera comment above that no doubt left you with your jaw on the ground. Michael Cera continues to play the same character in every movie he does. The woe-begotten, under-dog, nervous, yet loveable, anti-social teenager who must somehow prove himself to someone is getting old with me. He’s a funny guy and great at what he does, but he will type-cast himself if this rut continues. I, for one, am not big on watching the same actor play the same roles film after film. I appreciate those more diverse actors that play a wider range of roles. On the other hand, judging from the storyline and the director behind the film, Michael Cera could very well be the perfect choice for this film. Plus, what do I care if he is type-cast before he turns 25? As long as he puts out a handful of great films on the way, it’s fine with me. As a matter of fact, the mere existence of Arrested Development makes it all worth it.
We shall find out today, August 13th, when the film gets a wide release, whether or not Edgar Wright successfully pulled this off. I have confidence in him, yet I remain skeptical.