Scott Pilgrim vs. the World ★★
(USA, 112 min)
Dir: Edgar Wright; Writ: Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall.
Starring: Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, Anna Kendrick.
Is the comic book genre on its last legs? It seems so, given the fact that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is almost dead on arrival, despite seeming to be one of the big-screen adaptations most in tune with its graphic novel origins. The film certainly has big B.O., but from the weekend trade reports, it’s evident that I don’t mean big box office. Quite frankly, the film stinks.
The film suffers mostly because of its over-reliance on comic book conventions. One need not see the credits to realize that Scott Pilgrim is based on a series of graphic novels (by Bryan Lee O’Malley). The film clearly derives its aesthetic from the genre, as it involves plenty of split screens, animated visuals to emphasize the sounds, quirky info bubbles, and then some. While all the graphics probably thrill fans of the original Scott Pilgrim series, the film quickly loses its charm. Each scene is oversaturated in tacky graphics. When coupled with all the quick cutting, screen-splitting, and noisy bling-bling in the background, the film amounts to sensory overload. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is self-referential to the point of nausea. This is a movie after all, and if one wanted all the graphic bits, one would read the comic book. Moreover, the frequency of the flashy visuals makes Scott Pilgrim vs. the World feel like one is watching a video game instead of a movie.