Sunday, 16 January 2011

The highly inaccurate Scott Pilgrim appreciation test

Scott Pilgrim is quite good at 'POW', 'THWACK', and even 'KABIFF'. So good that he doesn't have much trouble fighting his new girlfriend's seven evil exes. He fights them with guitars, milk, and giant raging monkey apparitions. All to prove his love for a girl he sees skating through his dreams. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is relentless and bursting. Films are rarely full of so much stuff. Hardly a frame goes by without something exploding or smashing or lighting up in bright neon. Each scene crashes into the next without warning, crafted and wound up tight until it threatens to come apart. It's stylish, but in an inventive way. Somewhere the line exists between 'stylish' and 'annoying' - Scott Pilgrim manages to stay on the good side. Sometimes it barely makes sense, but just about manages to get away with it. For two confusing minutes it turns into a sitcom with a loud and disturbing laughter track. There's Vegan Police that crash through walls to deliver Vegan Justice. And the ending is a complete mess. Edgar Wright just throws everything in. Like I said, it's relentless. Sometimes it needs to calm down for five minutes so your eyes can recover. But the ambition to stuff it full of anything and everything is admirable. There's a joy of creativity here, and a love of all things nerdy. It might be true that only those with gaming claws for hands will understand most of the references. It hardly ever refers to a single game, but to gameyness in general. The flashing scores that rise from defeated enemies and the showers of coins that rain from their pixelly deaths. This is for children of the nineties, who can play every classic Nintendo game through muscle memory. Then again, I'm bound to like any film that features Zelda music.

A test for all of this is whether you understand the reference in 'Sex Bob-omb', the name of Scott Pilgrim's band. If you don't, there's a good chance you're not this film's target audience. It seems to have 'cult film' written all over it. Except that what it really has written all over it is 'KAPLOW' and 'THWUMP'. And sometimes 'BLAM'.


  1. I didn't get the reference until you reminded me that it was in fact, an actual reference to something.

  2. Oh dear. It's only making me think of the Tom Jones song. Not for me then.
    Which is a shame, because I kind of like the sound of it...

  3. Don't let my irrelevant nerdy ramblings put you off, it's a pretty good film without the degree in Nintendo.

  4. Don't apologize for your effective writing, Titus, I may pass it up for fear of my middle-aged eyes imploding.