BLU-RAY REVIEW: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
The most outlandish and outstanding new film hits hi-def home video...
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There's something to be said for a film that, when screened at this year's San Diego Comic Con, caused fans to line up for hours on end and created a line literally 6 blocks long. While this isn't an exaggeration, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World features plenty of it.
Made for the video-game addicted, Red Bull-drinking, night club-dancing, late-night partying, garage-band playing crowd, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was co-written and directed by Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame) and based on the comic of the same name by Bryan Lee O'Malley. A one-of-a-kind film unlike any other that tends to be all sort of action-oriented, laugh-out-loud funny, the film features an interesting cast of characters that fans will both learn to know, love, and hate.
A short and sweet description of the story: Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (the perfectly cast Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and must battle her 7 evil exes in order to date her.
Yup, that's it. Odd how strangely terrible it sounds when it's written that simply. However, it's anything but terrible and, strange as it may be, it makes for truly great cinema.
Cera is great as Pilgrim and, even if I can't stand how Cera's become the regular, go-to guy for any and all of today's 20-something comedy, I have to say I enjoy watching him in this. Likewise Winstead is the perfect visage of Flowers, tough but tender, forward but heartfelt, she at times leaps out of the screen to overwhelm you with her rough humor and straight-forward talk.
That said, the supporting cast too includes a wide variety of talent. Ellen Wong plays Knives Chau, Pilgrim's ex-girlfriend who - as a high schooler - is made fun of and yet remains the ever present, supportive friend. Likewise Kieran Culkin plays Wallace Wells, Pilgrim's *** roommate who's constant bickering and advice give way to both hilarious and heart-felt moments which make you both laugh out loud and swallow back tears (OK, I exaggerated a bit there, but you get the idea).
Likewise, the "seven evil exes" feature a variety of players including Satya Bhabha as Matthew Pattel, Keita Saitou and Shota Saito as Kyle and Ken Katayanagi, Chris Evans as Lucas Lee, Brandon Routh as Todd Ingram, Jason Schwartzman as Gideon Graves and Mae Whitman as Roxy Richter ("it was a phase," says Ramona). Each is great as exes of Ramona whom Scott must battle.
Another casting worth mentioning is Brie Larson, who is perfect as Envy Adams, Pilgrim's ex who broke his heart and refuses to help him mend. As she is dating Todd Ingram (whose Vegan powers nearly defeat Pilgrim), it's both ironic and entertaining to see the two couples compete.
While the film might seem shallow to some, it's anything but when examined through the lens of today's 20-something who's grown up playing video games, drinking soy-lattes and listening to the latest garage band to get paid millions for their sadly terrible and yet oddly entertaining music. Truly, these are the times in which we live reflected back at us from the big screen.
As for features, the 1080p video is beautiful to watch and while the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track provides plenty of sounds from every direction. The music is slammin', the battle cries crisp and loud, and the sound effects (including a great bass battle) are captured clearly and cleanly.
As for special features, this "Level Up! Collector's Edition" includes a massive variety that'll impress. Four commentaries are included: one with co-write/director Wright and creator/graphic novel author Bryan Lee O'Malley; a second featuring Technical talk with Wright and Director of Photography Bill Pope; a third commentary with cast members Cera, Schwartzman, Winstead, Wong and Routh and a fourth commentary with cast members Kendrick, Plaza, Culkin and Webber. Numerous featurettes/documentaries are also featured, including
"The Making of 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World'", a Music Featurette, and a virtual guitar lesson in "You Too Can Be a Sex Bob-omb." A number of pre-production featurettes are included as well, including Animatics, Rehearsal Videos, Props Rigs and Sets, Casting Tapes and Hair and Makeup Tests; great viewing for fans of the technical who may be interested in pursuing this line of work.
A number of alternate scenes as well as edits are also included while 21 deleted scenes can also be watched. Various music videos and remixes can also be watched and heard; for fans of the film, it's a bit of fun to watch these film edits set to song. Other behind-the-scene type features include a short on the visual effects of the film and a look at a number of scenes from the film with VFX supervisor commentary. Likewise, a short on the sound editing is also included. Considering the nature of this film and it's various aspects, this is a worth inclusion.
Other special features include the short Adult Swim animation "Scott Pilgrim vs. The Animation" and Scott Pilgrim vs. the Censors, a dialogue in which the curse words are cut. Wright's director's blog is also included as are a massive gallery of pictures and press material. Lastly, a pop up trivia track as well as a picture-in-picture storyboard offering.
While maybe not everyone's cup of tea (or soy latte), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World makes for an entertaining romp through the life of an unemployed, anxious, video game-playing bassist who falls in love and has to - quite literally - fight to keep it that way. While some might consider it a romantic comedy (of sorts), one's better off not describing it and instead insisting on others watching it to see for themselves the true nature of this hilarious, action-packed love story that's sure to be just as popular in years to come.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is available on DVD and Blu-ray hi-def wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley