Nadia Elkharadly: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Word – Late to the game…again

Happy Tuesday DBAWISers!  I’d like to welcome you to another edition of SERIOUSLY LATE MOVIE REVIEWS by me.  I understand that the few times I’ve written about movies here, the movies had been out of theatres for ages, on DVD for months or longer, and are just plain irrelevant to the movie world.  I get it.  When it comes to films I’m woefully behind the times.  But here’s the thing:  I just don’t care.  Movies, like music, are relevant to whoever likes them, whenever they get a hold of them.  So if I only saw a movie for the first time a year after it came out, it’s going to matter to me then because that’s when I saw it.

And you my gentle readers can choose to make fun of me for my lateness, and  ignore the words I write here, or read and realize that you haven’t seen that film either, and hit up your video store or whatever on demand type TV feature you may have and join me in the ranks of the perpetually late.  I will welcome you with open arms!  So without further ado, this week’s “late to the game movie review” is on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World!

Earlier this year I finally saw this movie for the very first time.  I remember dying to see it when it first came out, but for some reason I never did.  A while ago I was talking about how much I love the bass with a friend of mine when he said “have you seen Scott Pilgrim?  They have a whole bass battle in that movie.”  Upon hearing that, I was immediately appalled at myself that I still hadn’t seen the film.  Conveniently, it was already free on my Rogers On demand, because sometimes it pays to be late to the game, financially speaking.

There are so many reasons why I love Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.  For starters, I’ve always been a sucker for comic book adaptations.  Growing up with three younger brothers cartoon and movie watching usually trended towards the boyish.  I grew up watching the Justice League and X-men, Batman and Superman, and to this day nothing gets me to a movie theatre faster than a film based on any or all of these universes.  Scott Pilgrim is the title character of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series, a slacker musician type living in Toronto.  Misadventures abound, from drummer kidnappings, kung fu fighting and arcade dating.  Part American style cartoon, part Japanese anime, the series was devoured by fans, leading to the 2010 film adaptation.  The film follows the series as faithfully as possible, the most notable differences being the ending, as the final novel wasn’t completed in time for the end of filming.  I won’t waste your time writing out the plot, read the novels and watch the movie for that.

This movie portrays Toronto in such a great way.  Instead of making it just another set, playing the part of Chicago or New York, it really is Toronto, and shows the real city.  I love watching this film and recognizing all the different Toronto spots, from the Pizza Pizza at Bloor and Spadina, to Casa Loma, to Lees Palace, both real and fake.  In fact, if you’re ever at Cherry Cola’s sitting on a stool at one of the high tables lining the walls, your butt is warming one of the seats from the movie set version of Lee’s itself.  The only odd location out in my opinion was The Playdium in Mississauga.  I mean, Scott is a deadbeat who can’t even scrape together ttc fare, and he’s going there on dates with a high school kid who doesn’t seem to have a driver’s license.  How did they get all the way out to the 905 and back in time to have pizza in the Annex, all by the light of day?  Unless there’s another massive arcade somewhere downtown…a mystery that I am too lazy to google.

I also love how this movie so many my favourite things.  The comic book theme is the obvious one, with animations, sound effects complete with onomatopoeia-ic flashing of words on the screen.  They get the comic aesthetic down to a T, and it works wonderfully.  I’ve also always been a huge fan of martial arts, and video games, and Scott Pilgrim combines the two in an awesome way.  The large scale fights complete with video game effects, even coins that come from the beating of opponents, they really won me over.  I also for some reason love the music of the starring band Sex Bob-omb, so much so that I wish they were a real band.  And the aforementioned bass battle?  There are no words for how cool that was.

The acting is great as well.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays the perpetually bored American girl in that too cool for school way.  Michael Cera plays…himself, as he always seems to do, but it works.  The dry humoured, shit disturbing gay roommate Wallace role is played perfectly by Kieran “the cooler” Culkin.  And the seemingly endless string of evil exes are all hilarious in their stereotypical ways, from uber cool movie heartthrob played by Chris Evans to the slimey record label executive played by Jason Schwartzman, to my very favourite, Matthew Patel (played by Satya Bhabha) and his demon hipster chicks.  From start to finish every actor gets right into character and entertains to their coin jingling demise.  Whether or not you’re rooting for Ramona and Scott to finally make it, you love being along for the ride.

Now my bestie Mark (hi mark!) will probably be laughing at me if/when he reads this, because once I saw Scott Pilgrim for the first time, it became my go to “have in the background” movie, much to his dismay when he was hanging out at my place.  But I didn’t care.  Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is just one of those movies I can watch over and over again, and can never get tired of.  And to me, that’s the mark of a great movie.  So park yourselves in front of your televisions and watch Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.  Play the “places in Toronto” drinking game, and bask in the glory of awesome Canadian copro cinema.

Until next time,


Nadia’s column appears every Tuesday

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Nadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

2 Responses to “Nadia Elkharadly: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Word – Late to the game…again”

  1. Nadia…have no fear in the late movie reviews department. My favourite book author of all time rents 10 videos from the video store every week and he and his wife review them for his website — some movies dating back to the 1930s, others freshly out of the theatres. As you said, it’s all relative to the viewer.

    PS – Scott Pilgrim = AMAZING!

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