Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Whenever someone asks me what my favorite movie is, my go to pick for years has been Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The movie was released in 2010, directed by Edgar Wright, and based off of the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

The main character of the film is Scott Pilgrim, a 22 year old awkward, nerdy guy who’s kind of a dick. The plot follows Scott and his relationship with Ramona Flowers, a girl who recently moved to his town, as he fights her seven evil exes so he can be with her. The plot of the movie stays just about as true to the original story as possible despite the fact that Wright had to cut out a lot of it in order to fit the whole story into a runtime of just under two hours. The more I learn about this movie, the more it’s clear to me that Edgar Wright thought about every little detail while he was directing it. The entire film is filled with little Easter eggs for the viewer to find, usually taking a few rewatches to notice. While these Easter eggs aren’t essential to the story, there’s so many of them and finding them to see how they add to a scene helps to keep the film from getting stale when rewatching it. A good example of these Easter eggs is the number imagery that comes with each of the evil exes. Each evil ex has a number that corresponds to them and is shown with them in some way. The first ex has one chevron on his jacket, the second ex points with two fingers, the third has three stripes on his shirt sleeves. Each one has lots of different ways that it’s shown with them, these are just a few examples of it. My personal favorite is when the seventh ex swallows his gum and makes a remark about how it will be stuck in his digestive system for seven years.

The film is also full of fun visual effects that make it feel like you’re reading a comic book. During the fight scenes there’s a lot of times where onomatopoeia is used, like the words “bang” or “crash” popping up when someone is hit. Whenever Scott beats an evil ex they explode into coins and have the amount of points he gained floating above where they died like they're just a character in a video game. (The points he gains is also another example of the number imagery, with each ex worth 1000, 2000, 3000 points, etc.).

One of my favorite parts of this movie is how the beginning of it is written and edited. Up until Scott meets Ramona all of the scenes sort of mix and blend together, this gives off the feeling that Scott is just floating through life. He’ll go from one location to the next with a time skip of hours without really being present until someone talks directly to him. The transitions they do between these scenes are so fluid that it really emphasizes this effect, and sometimes Scott will even point it out in a fourth-wall-breaking sort of way. Then once he meets Ramona he stops just drifting through life and starts working towards a goal. When this happens the effect stops for the most part, helping to show the change within him. It’s these details that just go a step above most other movies that I’ve seen that make me love this film.

(The picture below is a diagram that shows one of the transitions in the movie. The camera pans from left to right, then down, while we watch as Scott goes from his apartment to outside with his roommate Wallace.)

This is a diagram that shows one of the transitions in the movie. The camera pans from left to right, then down, while we watch as Scott goes from his apartment to outside with his roommate Wallace.

The actors all play their roles perfectly in my opinion. I don’t think they could have picked anyone better for each of these characters, especially Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim. Michael Cera seems to specialize in characters that are awkward, nerdy, but still funny guys, and that fits Scott exactly. When it comes to film adaptations of other media, it’s really easy to mess up characters or even the whole plot, but that wasn't an issue here. Edgar Wright worked alongside Bryan Lee O’Malley to make this movie as action packed, funny, and overall just well made as he could, and it shows, with the movie being a cult classic today.