February 19, 2011

Queer Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Michael Bacall and Edgar Wright. Based on the Graphic Novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley.
Cast: Michael Cera, Alison Pill, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a high energy, campy production that tells the story of Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) as he attempts to woo the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). In order to do so, Pilgrim must first defeat her seven evil exes.

From the very start, is clear that Edgar Wright intended for the production to resemble a graphic novel come to life crossed with a video game. In other words, if one were to create a spectrum, Scott Pilgrim would be on the farthest end from naturalism. In a way, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World follows the same path set by movies like 300, Sin City or Watchmen. Although I want to point out that the violence is more akin to Donkey Kong or Super Mario Brothers than to Call of Duty and other ultra violent modern games.

In any event, whilst being primarily about a straight couple, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World can almost, but not quiet, be considered a post-gay movie. That is, one of Ramona's evil exes is a lesbian from her bi-curious phase - making Ramona herself a queer character - and Pilgrim's roommate Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin) is gay. Wells and Pilgrim even chastely (I presume) share the same bed. One subplot has Wells stealing Scott Pilgrim's sister's boyfriend, to which she responds with "not again!".

In terms of quality, Wright manages the difficult task of keeping the production at a high energy level throughout without becoming repetitive or causing viewer fatigue. As Scott Pilgrim, Michael Cera does pretty much Michael Cera does best, play a low key, socially awkward, yet charismatic nerd. Opposite Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is effective as a former bad girl trying now to be good. Everyone else is pretty much having fun chewing the scenery and spitting it back up.

At the end of the day Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World may not blaze new ground or examine deeper themes, but it is a lot of fun to watch and that's a lot more than can be said for most movies.

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