Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is fun, quirky and filled with action that is bound to please full-blooded and closet nerds the world over.
Scott Pilgrim is a 22 year old bass player in a wanna be band. He is hopelessly uncool and is getting over a bad relationship by "dating" a 17 year old girl. (Don't worry, the execution of this concept is not nearly as creepy as the premise.) Then suddenly the literal girl of his dreams begins showing up in the real world and he takes that as his cue to pursue her affections relentlessly. even though it means he has to fight his way through her seven evil exes.
The movie is pure fantasy from beginning to end, told through the interpretive lens of video game stereotypes, with a few more from anime and comic books thrown in for good measure. Meters and pop-ups repeatedly appear on screen giving status reports on Scott's essentials. (Such as a "pee meter" when he goes to the bathroom.) The spectacular fight scenes also include 16-bit graphic enhancements. Essentially, this movie attempts to present everyday life as a video game and it does so in very inventive and fun ways.
Performances are fine across the board and the characters are fairly likeable. Michael Cera is still playing the same character he does in all of his films, but if Jeff Goldbloom can have a great career of delightful roles doing it, Cera can too.
Life Lesson or Joke?
Only one spot in this movie jumps out as providing a springboard for meaningful discussion. (SPOILER WARNING) Near the end of the film, Scott is given a special weapon to help him defeat the "final boss" that is made available because he discovers the "power of love." At first it helps him kick serious butt, but in the end doesn't work out. Then he has an out of body experience in which he learns the "valuable lesson" that what he really needs to fight for is not love, but for himself. So the next time he fights the boss he uses the weapon of "self respect". Ultimately, that doesn't work out either.
The way the "life lesson" scene is handled pokes fun of itself almost enough to conclude that the filmmakers really don't hold up "self-esteem" as much as is typical in pop culture. But the "joke," if one is intended, does not come across strongly enough to indicate that self-esteem is not the most important thing for a person's well-being.
Love Letter to Geeks
This movie isn't trying to make any points. But philosophy still bleeds through art unintentionally and we can soak it up even when we weren't intended to. So what do the filmmakers think? Is self-esteem more valuable than love? Do you have to "learn to love yourself before you can love others?" From a biblical standpoint, we love ourselves just fine. We don't need training in that. Low self-esteem and depression not caused by chemical imbalance is often the result of being too self-absorbed, not of loving oneself too little.
In the end, this movie is a love letter to geeks that they will greatly enjoy reading and includes a potential moment for pondering that is not stated conclusively or strongly enough to merit much if any discussion unless you really want to wax philosophical.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is rated PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references.
What Others Are Saying:
CommonSenseMedia: for Age 13+ Clever, entertaining fantasy-romance for gaming-era teens.
ChristianityToday: This graphic novel adaptation is a hilarious and action-packed homage to comic books, video games, punk rocks - and great cinema.
PreviewOnline: Entertainment: + Content: <> While the humor is fashioned with wit there's an underlying crudity to the proceedings.