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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Reviewed by Rick Klaw, © 2010

Format: Movie
By:   Edgar Wright
Genre:   Comic book adaptation
Review Date:   November 11, 2010

Based on Bryan Lee O'Malley's manga-influenced, pop culture-infused graphic novel series, Edgar (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) Wright's third directorial effort, the lauded Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, disappointed at the box office. The recently-released DVD gives those that missed the best graphic novel adaptation this side of Ghost World a second opportunity to finally see the film.

The best geek romantic comedy ever produced, the movie relates the adventures of Canadian slacker extraordinaire and wannabe rock star Scott Pilgrim as he attempts to win the hand of Ramona Flowers by defeating her seven evil exes.

Wright and co-screenwriter Michael Bacall removed entire subplots and re-arranged key elements all while staying remarkably faithful to the source material's plot, dialogue, and especially attitude. Seen in a different setting, many of the film's events and concepts would appear ludicrous and out of place but within the universe of Scott Pilgrim they achieve a zen-like existence. They just are. On a date, Ramona and Scott traverse the city using inter-dimensional doorways. The skinny, inept Scott uses martial arts and flight to combat the exes.

Then there is the concept of the exes. All of them wield extraordinary powers as members of The League of Evil Exes. Perhaps the first filmmaker to successfully incorporate video game logic within a movie, Wright manages to make the nonsensical commonplace and acceptable.

The casting throughout perfectly complements the story. Michael Cera, the over-used, angst-ridden star of Arrested Development, Superbad, Youth of Revolt and several other twentysomething romantic comedies, shines as the titular character. For the first 15 minutes, Cera brilliantly mumbles his lines, only beginning to full enunciate and project as Scott's confidence increases. Surprisingly, he adroitly handles the numerous action scenes.

The lovely Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Grindhouse, Live Free Die Hard) expertly portrays conflicted and powerful Ramona. Newcomer Ellen Wong offers a glimpse of a promising future as Knives Chau, Scott's Canadian-Chinese high school sorta girlfriend. Much like the original comic, women drive the story, giving this tale a surprising feminist bent.

The DVD wields a host of extras including deleted/ alternate scenes, bloopers, photo/art galleries, trivia track, and four different feature film commentaries with Wright, Bacall, O'Malley, director of photography Bill Pope, Cera, Jason Schwartzman, Winstead, Wong, Brandon Routh, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Kieran Culkin, and Mark Webber. Unlike most deleted/ alternate scenes, this compilation provides some interesting aspects on the creative process of the film plus the original far-less-satisfying ending.

The trivia track, running concurrently with the movie, offers fascinating factoids about and related to the story and production.

Most importantly, the DVD enables this movie a chance to develop its much deserved audience. A unique film among the substandard Hollywood pablum, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World exceeds all creative expectations. Its only major flaw is leaving the audience wanting more of Scott, Ramona, and the rest.

Movie: 9/10
DVD extras: 8/10

Editor-at-large Rick Klaw often rambles on at The Geek Curmudgeon and twitter.

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