Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Alison Pill, Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh, Brie Larson, Chris Evans, Ellen Wong, Jason Schwartzman, Kieran Culkin, Mae Whitman, Mark Webber, Satya Bhabha
Release date: August 13, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is a variation on the classic romance story: Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy has to defeat her seven evil exes in order to date her. The premise seems simple, but there are several layers to the story. Although the core of the story is the love between Scott, a twentysomething slacker, and the mysterious Ramona Flowers, the subplots and supporting characters make for a lively and truly entertaining story.

The screenwriters borrowed heavily from the six-volume graphic novel series, especially the first three volumes. People who have read the whole story will love the references such as the diagram of what belongs to Scott and what belongs to his gay roommate Wallace, excellently portrayed by Kieran Culkin. It was also great to see Scott’s band Sex Bob-omb playing.

For those who have never read any of the graphic novels, the movie will still be a treat because the dialogue and comic-book sound effects are hilarious. The sound effects felt like a retro-cool homage to the 1960s Batman TV show. It had the potential to be cheesy, but director Edgar Wright makes it work. More importantly, all the actors make it work.

I was unsure if Michael Cera had the range to play Scott Pilgrim. He may not win any Oscars for his performance, but at least he finally showed a little more emotion than his usual one-note performance. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is perfectly cast as the aloof and enigmatic Ramona Flowers. Even the supporting cast seemed committed to delivering solid performances. Anna Kendrick has the right blend of sarcasm and support as Stacy Pilgrim, Scott’s younger, more mature sister.

The members of Sex Bob-omb (Kim, Stephen, Young Neil) are exactly how I always pictured them. The “evil exes” are also great, especially Chris Evans as douchebag actor Lucas Lee. He played the stereotypical arrogant actor with a master’s touch. Jason Schwartzman must also be praised as Gideon, the founder of the League of Evil Exes. His smarmy delivery of the dialogue greatly enhances the final battle between him and Cera. Extra special credit, however, must be given to Ellen Wong for her portrayal of Knives Chau, Scott’s 17-year-old former girlfriend. The character and her infatuation with all things Scott could easily be annoying, but Wong brought such energy and sweetness to the role that you have no choice but to pity poor Knives.

Scott Pilgrim, like its graphic novel predecessor, is a mix of video games, comic-book physics, and garage band hijinks set to a rocking soundtrack. It is faithful to the book when it needs to be while not being afraid to alter scenes for the good of the movie. Whether you are an avid fan of the graphic novels, or know nothing about Scott Pilgrim, you will be in for a treat. Edgar Wright has directed yet another solid film with cult classic potential, and Scott Pilgrim is a worthy companion to Bryan Lee O’Malley’s excellent graphic novel series.


  1. “The screenwriters borrowed heavily from the six-volume graphic novel series, especially the first three volumes.”

    Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen when you’re basing a movie off something else?

    I am incredibly excited to see this. Edgar Wright can helm anything and make it spectacular. Also, the cast looks so spot on! Incredible.

    Comment by D — August 13, 2010 @ 9:15 am

  2. @D
    Initially, the filmmakers had said they were going to base the movie on the second book, but they ended up using all six books. And there’s a difference between loosely and heavily adapting a book for screen. Adaptation does not mean perfect translation (see Kick-Ass, I Robot, V For Vendetta, etc). This film takes a lot from the graphic novels not just story-wise, but stylistically — by including the comic book boxes, an animated comic flashback scenes, etc. It’s much more than just an adaptation of the story being told — and that’s not always the case in a book to screen adaptation.

    Comment by Empress Eve — August 13, 2010 @ 9:54 am

  3. I gave it chance, but saying you were doubtful cera had the range to play scott is just silly, his character and all the others were about as two dimensional and one note as it gets. spoiler alert! The fact that all the story taking place was actually a video game didn’t really help it either. having said that i’ve seen alot worse, like oh say any of the twilight crap flicks. Anythings better than them, anything.

    Comment by korollocke — August 13, 2010 @ 11:53 pm

  4. The movie was incredible!
    I can’t wait for the DVD commentary now!

    Comment by Sierra — August 14, 2010 @ 3:18 am

  5. @korollocke
    The story was not actually a video game, thus it’s not a “fact”. You obviously haven’t read the graphic novels or else you wouldn’t have made a clueless statement like that. The story is filled with nods and homages to video games, it in itself is not a video game nor taking place in one.

    Comment by blinkers — September 5, 2010 @ 11:11 am

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