Scott Pilgrim will fail. ‭ ‬God,‭ ‬I hope I’m wrong.‭ ‬It’s
not that the world isn’t ready for a smart movie.  I just don’t think
are going to expect THIS film to be a smart one.‭ ‬And god,‭ ‬is it.‭
‬Movie goers‭
(‬most‭) ‬will come into the cool theatre to escape the summer heat for a
while, and settle into their seats wanting to be simply entertained‭
their‭ ‬8-15‭ ‬bucks… ‬and‭ ‬they will be served‭ ‬Scott Pilgrim—a film
doesn’t do‭ ‬what you can usually expect a film with adolescent subject
matter to do. In general, when people don’t get what
they expect they are paying for they feel betrayed. My
fear is that the audience will feel that way. Again, I hope I’m wrong.
All I hope for Scott Pilgrim is that the majority of the audience will
(in addition to being wonderfully entertained!) feel
challenged with something completely new flying at their faces.

enjoy, or to understand the movie, you don’t need to know the comic
book series it is pulled from.‭ ‬You don’t need to play video games
either, and the movie is full of video game metaphors and references in
both the sound effects and visuals in the fight scenes.‭ ‭ ‬You don’t
have to like musicals either. (While not a musical, this is a sound
track-heavy movie.) Scott Pilgrim takes all of these things and crams
them together in a postmodern cultural ball of cookie dough, bakes it up
real nice, and calls it a movie. What a treat. But a clean, linear
movie it is not. I actually felt uncomfortable watching it.  Although it
is probably the
funniest movie I have seen in a couple of years, Scott Pilgrim is not
easy to
watch. But that’s because it’s like trying a new food and finding out
you really like it. I fear though that most that try it won’t like it at
taste although it truly is such a novelty. Uncomfortability in an
artistic or cultural situation is one of my favorite things in the
world. It means you’re being forced to accept something new. That’s
exactly why I found this film inspiring.

The passage of time is irrelevant in this movie.‭ ‬Almost a joke.‭
‬Cera’s character
alludes to one year passing‭ and they show Ellen Wong’s character one
year later‭ ‬for no reason other
than to point out that it is arbitrary.‭ ‬That’s the kind of fun this
movie has. The edits between scenes are fantastic, moving you through
time and space, the structure sometimes superceding the content, and the
movie becomes self-aware. Like when Cera’s character actually
sheepishly slides out of the frame, right off the screen. A whole lot of
video game references are woven through the sound and
image and choreography of the battles.‭ ‬There are comic book references
for those fans of the series—now the people on screen
are magically dressed up like the people you know in that book under
your bed.‭
‬Or if you don’t get the references (I didn’t) it doesn’t hurt you. But
I’m sure it’s added value for those that are fans. When the school bell
rings,‭ ‬we see the word‭
“‬Brrrrriiiiiiiingggg‭!!!!” ‬shoot out of the top of the school building
in the
distance letter by letter in just one of the examples where the genre of
film mimics the genre of a comic book. Expect text on the images.‭
‬Expect two and three dimensional graphics to live
in a three dimensional world.‭

But this is not to be confused with a movie that is about‭
‬movie making‭ ‬or themes so deep that the audience will feel insulted.‭
safe there.‭ It’s about storytelling.‭ ‬And more specifically,‭ ‬how a
young‭ ‬20-something‭
– ‬any of the characters in the movie,‭ ‬would tell their own romantic
coming of age) story.‭ The form the story
takes–the metaphors it uses (boss battles or battle-of-the-bands
references to depict a fight over a dame) and the visual and verbal
epithets it pulls out of other genres, are meant to be obvious, heavy
handed, and part of
the humor. ‬There’s the
real candy,‭ ‬folks,‭ ‬from the time the lights dim.  ‭Every generation
has their own way of story-telling–their
own language that can border on esoteric, with their own cultural
metaphors, and their
own references to their music, films, entertainment, books, and icons.
What Edgar Wright does is insist that we celebrate those metaphors and
share laughs over them. This film acts as an index of the way this
generation‭ uses these references to understand their world and
communicate their experiences. For instance, a video game-esque battle
becomes the literal emotional environment for a duel over a girl. How
will you know if you belong to the generation in question? Do you think
Wright tried to define that generation when he made this film? Don’t
sweat. I don’t think that’s very important. All I gather is that the
generation is very broad (pretty much anyone that grew up with video
games of any kind, and email of any kind) and that I don’t think he was
interested in being exclusionary.

This film is a
gift… treat… something new. Without Michael Cera’s raw and honest
vulnerability as our main character, and his performance of simple comic
expression, we would
be lost and insulted by the environment. Basically, I believe that this
is happening to him, because I believe that this is how his mind must
work, and even he is amused by it. Edgar Wright has
wrangled Cera and countless of cross-genre tools to create an immersive
space where bold visual metaphors and incongruent sound references are
not only allowable, but palatable and entertaining. What’s the
experience like? He’s made a space that is so fun that I want to live
inside it‭.‭ ‬And I came out of it overwhelmed with the idea that
perhaps he’s a sociologist or an
archaeologist more than a filmmaker (and dang, is he a film maker). I
this movie not getting dollars, but eventual respect. I hope for both.