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STUDIO: Universal Studios
RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes
• Deleted Scenes
• Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Bloopers
• Four Feature Commentaries with Cast and Crew
• Trivia Track
• Extended and Alternate Scenes
• Making of Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
• Music Featurette
• Music Videos
• You Too Can Be Sex Bob-Omb Featurette
• Visual Effects Featurettes
• Adult Swim: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation
• Pre-production Footage
• Video Blogs
• U-Control Storyboard PIP
She was later eaten by a dishonest servant named Jack. In other words, she was Knave’s Chow.
Video Games meet Indie Rock meets Romance meets Comedy meets Hong Kong Cinema meets Comics
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Alison Pill, Aubrey Plaza, Mae Whitman, Ellen Wong, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman
Directed by: Edgar Wright
The new Tenacious D Jr. lineup.
Scott Pilgrim plays bass, is awkwardly in love, and sees his world as a video game. One of the best and biggest technical achievements of the year comes home in a jam packed, must-own blu-ray package.
Cue Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver”.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley, is a film with a little something for everyone. Anyone who ever was in a garage band, had an aimless twenties, fell head over heels in love, had to deal with ex-lovers, or played too many video games will find something that hits home here. Practically every film genre that exists is incorporated to some degree, and fans of romance, comedy, action, musicals, suspense, or drama will connect with something on some level in this film. To find a movie that is this scattershot is rare, but what’s rarer is when it works so damn well. Director Edgar Wright should be congratulated for not only doing justice to his source material, but for making a film that is mind-bogglingly re-watchable.
There is a very large cast at play here, but everyone seems to get their moments in the sun while staying focused on our hero Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), his dream girl Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and her seven evil exes. This is a difficult thing to balance as much as any other complicated element that could so easily have not worked in the film, but there are so many wonderful young actors on display here that it reminds me of previous breakout casts like Dazed and Confused, where much of the cast ended up going on to many other great roles. Each player has little tics and touches that the hair, makeup, sets, props, and more all accentuate, but the actors themselves make real. Given how little actual screen time is dedicated to someone like Young Neil (Johnny Simmons) or roommate Wallace (Kieran Culkin), they certainly stand out for the little things they contribute that get big laughs.
The mundane moments hanging around on a couch or flipping through records are as expertly coordinated as the Hong Kong-style fight scenes, which rival any martial arts film in creativity and excitement. What’s most appealing to me is that the characters are imminently relatable. I was in a rock band based out of a basement at Scott’s age, dealt with life, love and relationships, hung out in usual haunts around town, and watched movies/played video games. Though I’ve never had a swordfight on top of a pyramid, been beat up by a gaggle of stunt doubles, or played music to the point where a giant electric Yeti was harnessed to battle twin dragons, I can intimately relate to the core of the story, characters, and events that play out.
The editing of all these complex sequences must have been planned out well in advance, and it shows in the clean action and pace. Films like Ang Lee’s Hulk and Frank Miller’s The Spirit have tried to capture the odd transition of comic books to the big screen to varying degrees of success. Pilgrim works because the “comic book panel” and aspect ratio changing transitions are not only working off inspiration from the page, but from a happy medium of the two formats – “cinematics” in video games. This blending of worlds, from the page to interactive media to the big screen, has seldom been done, let alone done so well. It makes for a world that, much like the musicals of old, allows for a heightened reality that you know isn’t real but still feels grounded emotionally. Visuals and sounds work together in tandem to give a clear vision, one where story and characters are still central to all proceedings.
Without the heart of the film, it would still be a successful musical/martial arts mash up. But as Jason Schwartzman says on his audio commentary, if the final moment with Ramona and Scott didn’t work, everything that came before would be meaningless. The fact that there is such a connection and evolution for these characters over the course of the film, where the action acts as an extension of emotional distress and not a replacement for it, is yet another thing that the film gets mysteriously right. Any number of us can remember the “Ramona”, “Scott”, or “Knives” in our lives, albeit to a less extreme degree. The fact that my wife, who accompanied me to the film during its theatrical run was jumping for joy in much the same way I was on the first viewing says something about how the feeling of these battles we fight for love are communicated so clearly. Though not the smash hit it deserved to be, I firmly believe this will be a cult film that will continue to grow its audience and influence the next generation of great filmmakers.
..But it quickly got him sued by Huey Lewis and the News.
Scott Pilgrim comes in a standard blu-ray case with a holofoil slipcover. Both blu-ray and a standard DVD are included, as well as a Digital Copy of not only this film, but also of either Tremors or Pitch Black as well. The main feature on the BD-50 dual layer blu-ray disc is presented in 1080p and is crisp and beautiful, as one can expect from a quality recent release. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and gives your speakers a nice workout between the action, music, and effects. This is without question a film to show off your home cinema with.
The bonus features are labyrinthine and plentiful, as one can expect from the director that gave us a 3-disc release of his previous film, Hot Fuzz. Depending on where your interests lie regarding the film, you get a bit of everything. For those interested in production, there is an hour long Making Of featurette. Also included are the original Video Blogs released online prior to the film. They overlap a bit, but completists will be happy. Deleted Scenes exist with and without commentary from Director Wright, including an alternate ending where our hero makes a very different romantic choice. Continuing the theme of alternate bits, there are Alternative Footage featurettes that show other takes and mess ups. The weird thing is that while there is a Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Bloopers stand-alone featurette, it is not nearly as funny or blooper filled as the Bits and Pieces featurette in the Alternative Footage section.
For those interested in the aural side of the film, we get featurettes covering all aspects of this as well. The general development of the music is the centerpiece, featuring composer Nigel Godrich and many of the bands that contributed original songs, including Metric and Broken Social Scene. Beck, who wrote the Sex Bob-Omb songs, as well as Dan the Automator and Cornelius, are not shown, but are discussed as well. Many of these bands, who are from Toronto themselves, also weigh in on the authenticity of the music venues in the film, which are based on real clubs. We also get a featurette on Chris Murphy from Sloan, who was the on-set Rock ‘N Roll specialist, and worked closely with the cast to develop (or teach them) their musical abilities. Rehearsals by the cast as the different bands and a You Too Can Be Sex Bob-Omb segment that shows us at home how to play a Sex Bob-Omb song are also included, and we also get the full performances of the songs which are often slightly truncated in the finished film. Not listed on any packaging is a great Soundworks featurette on the effects work in the film, which is beautiful, complicated, and meticulous.
Christina Aguilera’s Burlesque ended up being even worse than it looks.
If you’re more invested in the visual side of the film, there are just as many bonuses to occupy you. These range from Visual Effects walk-throughs with audio commentary to show the many layers that went into some of the more complicated effects, to animatics, to rehearsals of the martial arts by the actors and stunt people. A lot of coordination was required both technically and martial arts-wise, and we get peaks into all of it in the various featurettes. Some bits would be interesting to any amateur filmmaker, like the complete Roxy-Ramona fight in its pre-effects form, where Mae Whitman is fighting using a pink ribbon that would be digitally replaced with her deadly belt whip. Others are just kind of funny, like seeing a compilation of the many slow motion blue screen shots of actors on wires, which would be composited into major moments in the film. Additionally you also get hair and makeup tests, audition tapes, more rehearsals, and a myriad of other pre-production bits.
When watching the film proper, you can do it with an optional trivia track on, a U-Control Picture In Picture Storyboard window, and/or with one of FOUR audio commentaries. Each actually has its own charms, because they cover different aspects of the filmmaking process. The first has Co-Writer/Director Edgar Wright with Scott Pilgrim creator and graphic novelist Bryan Lee O’Malley, joined by Co-screenwriter Michael Bacall discussing the source material and story. The second then has Wright return with legendary Director of Photography Bill Pope, doing his first commentary, for a technical discussion. The third and fourth commentaries would probably have been better with one big grouping, since they both feature cast members, but it may have become too difficult to keep track of everyone. If there’s one thing missing here (and that’s very hard to say), it would be that they should have done a PIP video commentary with the whole group. Finally, all trailers for the film and video game are included, as is a short animated Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation episode, which originally aired on Adult Swim. This is by far one of the most jam packed single disc blu-ray packages I have come across. Though not all extras are in 1080p, one can hardly complain about the more is more approach. Especially when dealing with a film that has so much to teach aspiring filmmakers.
According the the Urban Dictionary, “Ponk” is a slang term among Jews in Brooklyn, NY for marijuana.