Edgar Wright adapts Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six-volume graphic novel series into “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” a hyperactive romance with layers upon layers of influences.
The film stars Michael Cera as the titular Scott Pilgrim, a 20-something Toronto slacker who plays bass in the band Sex Bob-omb. Scott is dating Knives Chau (Emily Wong), 17, to the dismay of his friends; Scott hasn’t gotten over his bad breakup with Envy Adams (Brie Larson), who has rocketed to rock stardom since their breakup.
Scott’s trying to use his relationship with Knives to dull the pain of his breakup. The film takes a turn for the surreal as Scott falls for Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a delivery girl using the subspace pathways in Scott’s head as a shortcut. In order to date Ramona, Scott discovers he must defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes.
The battle sequences draw influences from video games, anime, graphic novels and more. Each fight teaches Scott something about himself, but will it be enough to face Ramona’s final evil ex?
Excellent in supporting roles are Kieran Culkin as Scott’s gay roommate, Wallace Wells, and Anna Kendrick as Scott’s sister, Stacey, who plays something of a Jiminy Cricket to Scott’s Pinocchio. The music, including songs composed by Beck, accentuates the film’s caffeinated humor.
Scott’s labors of Hercules are a meld of 1980s and 1990s influences from “Battle of the Planets” to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”; watching the four audio commentaries gives insight into the film’s many layers and visual metaphors.
Blu-ray extras: featurettes, preproduction footage, Scott Pilgrim animation for Adult Swim, deleted scenes, music videos and more.
— Matthew Price