Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nog Geeks Out With Scott Pilgrim vs. The World!

Edgar Wright is three for three. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz inhabit their respective genres (the zombie film, the cop film) so fully that they work not only as parody but as genre films on their own. Wright isn't the cinematic craftsman that Tarantino is, but there's something similar in the wild energy of their films, the way you can feel the love for their influences in every shot. Scott Pilgrim is something different, not inhabiting a single genre, but it's no less geeky in its effort to capture the way certain obsessions (comics, video games, rock and roll) merge with our conception of reality. With its comic-book captions and split-screens and grab-bag of other stylistic devices, one would imagine any focus on character would get lost in the shuffle, but Wright and his near-perfect cast somehow feel "real" even if their obsessions have led them, like our hero, Pilgrim, to perceive of life as a video-game where evil villains (in the form of ex-boyfriends) must be defeated in order to win the love of a beautiful princess (in the form of an effortlessly hip chick who changes her hair color every week and a half). Sure, we've seen Michael Cera's sensitive/awkward persona on display many times now, but it's just right for Pilgrim, a 22 year old Canadian in an admittedly bad rock band (Sex Bob-Omb!) who is VERY platonically dating a Japanese school girl named Knives Chau while pining for the lovely and worldy-wise (and American) Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead: you'll fall in love with her too). I smiled (geekily) through the film, even if the elaborate, well-staged battle scenes occupy perhaps a little more screentime than they really deserve. I haven't read the graphic novels, but its easy to see why these characters resonate with their audience, many of whom no doubt spend a lot of time playing video games and jamming in terrible rock bands.

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