A suburban fantasy or the product of an over-active imagination? Whatever Scott Pilgrim VS. the World is, the combination graphic novel, videogame, and 70’s Kung-Fu film is a hell of a lot of fun. The film is directed by Edgar Wright who graduates from the low budget features (Shawn of the Dead) to this $80 million dollar blockbuster.
Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22 year-old slacker who is unemployed and fills his time playing in a bad garage band named “Sex Bob-Omb” and trying to cope with his girlfriend “Envy” Adams breaking up with him and hitting it big in her own band. Scott rebounds by dating a 17 year-old high school girl. Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) which earns him the derision of his band mates, Sister (Anna Kendrick), and gay roommate Wallace (Kieran Culkin). Scott is smitten by a new girl in town, Ramona Flowers and the two soon begin a relationship even as Scott squirms to find a way to breakup with Knives. But Ramona comes with significant baggage in the form of her “Seven Evil Exes” whom Scott must defeat in battle before the two can finally be together.
Pilgrim’s battles with the evil exes are straight out of Nintendo 8-bit lore…Coins explode when he defeats his foe and his score flashes onscreen, all the while with a classic 80’s video game soundtrack trumpeting in the background. It makes you want to pull your old Genesis out of the attack and fire up Sonic!
Based on the graphic novel written by Bryan Lee O’Malley for Oni press, Scott Pilgrim is stylized like a live-action comic book…Cartoon balloon sound effects and captions pop-up on screen at the appropriate times and special effects dazzle during the many slugfests. While it threatens to overload the senses, Wright never loses focus that the film is first and foremost, a sincere romance. If it were made in the 1980s Ramona might well have been played by Molly Ringwald but Mary Elizabeth Winstead does a fine job in the role. Stealing every scene he’s in was Keiran Culkin as Scott’s smartass, but deeply protective gay roommate. It’s his best role in years.
The film does fall into a repetitious routine of Scott trying to develop his relationship with Ramona, ditch Knives, and fight another baddie but Wright tosses in so many glittering touches, like Scott’s bass guitar battle with Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh), that you never get bored.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World has one of the finest collections of extras on any Blu-Ray released in 2010. The Extras are worth the price of the Blu-Ray alone.
First, there’s not one but FOUR audio commentary tracks. These give you the flavor of the film from several different perspectives:
Feature Commentary with Director/producer/co-writer Edgar Wright, co-writer Michael Bacall and Author Bryan Lee O’Malley
Technical Commentary with director/producer/co-writer Edgar Wright and director of photography Bill Pope
Cast commentary with Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong and Brandon Routh
Cast commentary with Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza , Kieran Culkin and Mark Webber
Scott Pilgrim VS. the Bloopers (9:30) – Funny gag reel although a little long.
Deleted and Alternate Scenes (27:00) A Whopping amount of deleted/alternate/extended scenes. These include Scott meeting Knives for the first time on a bus; an additional song played by Crash and the Boys during the battle of the bands; an extended scene from Scott and Ramona’s first night together; an alternated ending to the Bass Battle; an alternate version of the fight between Ramona and Roxy; and much more. There’s also an alternate ending where Scott leaves with Knives instead of chasing after Ramona.
Alternative Footage (7:00) Different from the alternate scenes, these are scenes that were edited differently. They may have been from different camera angles or from different distances. Sometimes edited where only one character appears in a tight shot rather than several.
Bits and Pieces (6:51) – A quick montage of outtakes. Nothing special
The Making of Scott Pilgrim VS. the World (49:33) – Fantastic making of documentary. Edgar Wright talks about first hearing about he graphic novel and how it was developed for the screen, Interviews with Bryan Lee O’ Malley, creator of the graphic novels. Wright discusses how each role was cast. Also looks at the actor’s training, stunt work, and visual effects.
Music Feraturette (16:27) – This featurette looks at the film’s music and the songs which were performed by several real bands including Broken Social Scene and Metric.
You Too Can Be Sex Bob-Omb (2:42) - A quick musical instruction on guitar.
Pre-Production (1:27:00) – This feature length documentary looks at the entire pre-production process. This includes the development of storyboards and animations of key scenes; test shooting with the actor’s stand-ins for several of the fight scenes; Testing of the various stunt rigs for the battle scenes; The recording session of bassists Jason Faulkner and Justin Meldal-Johnson for the Bass Battle; Storyboards of an unused story idea where Scott is attacked by Mecha-Gideon; casting auditions, and rehearsals.
Music Videos (9:30) a Collection of videos of the songs performed in the film.
VFX Before and After (14:37) a look as several key scenes before and after the visual effects were added.
Soundworks Collection (5:43) – A short featurette on the film’s sound effects.
Adult Swim Scott Pilgrim VS. the Animation (3:48) A Short, animated feature
Director’s Blogs (45:46) These are Director Edgar Wright’s video blogs. One of the very best extras on the disc. You feel like you are getting a person tour with Wright as he takes you around the sets and locations during the shoot through various stages of the production.
Galleries: Production, storyboard, marketing, and concept galleries.