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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010) Print E-mail
Monday, 15 November 2010
ImageI know what you are thinking.  Scott Pilgrim, who?  What?  Yes, Scott Pilgrim is not a well known character.  The film is based on the graphic novel comic series by Bryan lee O'Malley.  The novels have been published over the course of the past six years, with the movie appearing before the last graphic novel installment.

The film had limited success obviously due to the lack of marketing on the part of the studio.  We might have all seen a preview for the film once or twice but never really connected with the preview or what the film was supposed to be about.  Due to the nature of the film, its hodgepodge of material, the studio just didn't know what aspect to market to the public.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" is somewhat a video gamer generation film.  However, there are so many elements that there is a chance that pretty much anyone will like this film.  The film's story is centered on Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), an out of work, part time musician who lives in Toronto, Canada.  He bunks across from the house in which he grew up with his homosexual roommate (Kieran Culkin).

As the film opens we find Pilgrim being proud but modest about dating a 17 year-old catholic schoolgirl.  Pilgrim is by the way in his early mid 20s.  This makes the first 20 minutes or so of the film a bit awkward.  In fact, many colleagues of mine were tempted to walk out of the film in the theaters during these first minutes of the film.  The audience is baffled, with no idea where the film is going or what it could possibly be about.

It doesn't take long for Pilgrim to outgrow his catholic schoolgirl girlfriend.  When he dreams and then sees Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), an American living in Canada as a delivery agent, Pilgrim finds himself irresistibly drawn to Ramona.  Sounds like a straightforward story, I know.  However, the manner in which the story is told is goofy.  Concepts of space and time are broken, leaving the audience unaware as to what event follows what and when.

Pilgrim longs to date Ramona.  However, in order to do so he learns that he must defeat her seven evil exes.  He discovers this in an awkward manner, but somehow it works.  This is when the film becomes worth watching and entirely engaging.  When Pilgrim and his band the Sex Bob-ombs, play their first gig of the movie, the gig is interrupted, whether in his head or in actuality is still to be determined, by the first exes.  Battle ensues that is very reminiscent of the days of "Street Fighter" and "Mortal Kombat" video games.  At the same the martial arts is combined with video game point counting, via sounds and visual effects.
The remainder of the film follows Pilgrim and Ramona's relationship as Pilgrim is confronted with Ramona's past beaus.  Don't think that this film is solely about the video game action sequences.  There is plenty of actual storyline information going on.  Pilgrim is maturing, Ramona is confronting her past and her future, and other cast members each deliver their own sense of worth to the film.

Other than the extremely iffy first 15 to 20 minutes of the film, there is only one thing that I didn't like within the film.  Pilgrim's ex-girlfriend, Envy (Brie Larson) looks entirely too similar to Mary Elizabeth Winstead.  Every time they were on screen I lost sight of what was going on because I was trying to figure out whether Pilgrim was seeing double, projecting his own image, or if they really were the same person.  Either this was the intent of the filmmakers or it was a bad casting job.  Personally, I believe it was the latter.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" comes to Blu-ray with an excellent AVC, 1.85:1 video encode.  Softness creeps up throughout the film but seems to be entirely intentional, providing a somewhat video game look.  Taking place in Toronto during a cold and snowy winter, the film's images are not particularly colorful.  Fleshtones are drained but accurate.  Colors can be brilliant.  Watch the changing hair color of Ramona.  The blue, magenta and neon green are astounding, paiting Ramona as the focal point of any scene.  Black levels are excellent.  There is no crushing and shadow delineation remains terrific from beginning to end.  The contrast levels are as good as can be expected, with the exception of post-production processes that cause blowouts.  Film grain remains intact and unobtrusive.  Details are excellent for the most part, with some exceptions due again to the post-processing of the film.  There doesn't appear to be any noise reduction or artifacting, making this one terrific video transfer.

Besting the video transfer is the audio.  This DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is explosive and heart-pounding.  It packs quite the punch, pun intended.  Dynamics are expansive and balanced.  You can leave the remote where it is.  The LFE channel is powerful.  Take a listen to any of the fight sequences and you will hear demo material.  Punches have snap, attack and body.  Pure amplified video game sound here.  Even the Universal logo intro has been redone in Atari-like sound quality.  Dialogue is natural and always intelligible.  The rear speaker activity is extensive and well used.  Enveloping is fluid and the immersive ability of the audio track is perfect.  This film's audio will give you a sonic experience that hasn't been heard in some time.

There are more special features in this package than one might expect.  There are four audio commentaries.  It is a bit overkill, but each has its own fun.  There is a commentary with director Wright, co-writer Bacall and novelist O'Malley.  The commentary with Wright and director of photography Pope is a technical overview of the film's creation.  Lastly, there are two cast audio commentaries.  The first cast commentary is the best and has Cera, Winstead, Routh, Schwartzman and Wong.  The last commentary is with Kendrick, Culkin, Webber and Plaza.

There are over 20 deleted scenes and a collection of bloopers.  Along the same line there is a collection of alternate footage and bit and pieces.  "The Making of 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World'" is a standard featurette but runs nearly and hour.  "You Too Can Be A Sex Bob-omb" is a guitar lesson.  "Music Featurette" covers the band's music.  "Visual Effects" contains three segments covering various aspects of the title topic.  "Pre-Production footage" contains animatics and storyboards.  "Adult Swim: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Animation" is a short film.  A Music section contains various music videos.  "Sound For Film Profile" is a brief, as always, look at the sound effects in the film.  Just a gripe, but why can't more effort be put into covering the sound editing of films in the special features section.  It is after all at least 50 percent of a film.  A PiP section offers inline storyboards.  There is a pop-up trivia track.  Blogs, galleries, pocketBLU, a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy round out the bonus materials.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" isn't perfect, but its ultimate entertainment value is extraordinarily high.  This is one film that actually has repeatability.  The audio and video qualities are terrific and certainly worth the addition to your Blu-ray collection.  Highly recommended.

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