We’ve been waiting for Edgar Wright’s next film from the moment that Hot Fuzz wrapped up, and when it was announced that his subsequent project would be an adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim comic series, there was even more reason to celebrate: Brian Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series is funny, highly energetic, and seems cinematic on the page– a film version was a natural choice. Now that the film’s completed and early reviews have started to trickle out online, it looks as though all the buzz and anticipation surrounding the film may well be justified: critics are digging Scott Pilgrim VS. The World. Keep on reading for a round-up of Scott Pilgrim praise (and a few negative observations) below, my gentle Examiner readers…
If you’ve seen the trailers for Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim VS. The World, there’s a good chance that you’re excited for the film: The trailer that Universal put together for the flick is one of the best we’ve seen in some time (the last time I can recall a trailer that awesome was the one Warner Bros. cut for The Dark Knight, and before that it was Return of The King). But, as we all sadly know, trailers can be misleading, and we’ve been tricked far too many times before to put all our faith into a film because of one or two snazzy trailers. And so, it’s with great relief that we learn that early reviews of Scott Pilgrim seem to indicate that it’s not all just hype: Edgar Wright’s latest film might be one of the best films of the year.
The film screened for a whole slew of geeks at Comic-Con a few weeks ago, and immediately Twitter and Facebook were deluged with enthusiastic updates from those lucky enough to get into the screening. A few websites– Chud.com, HitFix.com, and the like– have also seen the film, and their reviews are absolutely glowing. Additionally, RottenTomatoes.com has fifteen reviews up for the film, and thirteen of the fifteen are positive (that’s an 87%, for those keeping score at home). Let’s take a look at what the critics are saying, starting with the negative side of things:
The film is repetitive, top-heavy: Wright blows his wad too early. But a different lead might have kept you laughing and engaged. (New York Magazine)
This is a discouragingly limp movie where nothing is at stake.(The Hollywood Reporter)
So, both The Hollywood Reporter and New York Magazine– two publications that we’re fans of here at Comedy Examiner HQ– weren’t too pleased with the film. According to them, the problems lie in the film being repetitive, Michael Cera being Michael Cera (which is, admittedly, a concern for many), and the low-stakes plotline. It’s important to note that Scott Pilgrim— the comic series and, presumably, the film– are pitched at a level that the older generations won’t appreciate. The series is packed with video game references, pop culture in-jokes, and early-20’s hormones: is that really anything that a mid-40’s film critic cares to see onscreen? While the opinions of both New York Magazine and Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt aren’t to be trivialized, it’s probably fair to say that this wasn’t the film for those critics, anyway.
Meanwhile, the rest of the critics are raving about the film’s greatness. Scott Pilgrim is very likely a film that’s going to play much better for a younger crowd, but– unlike some other recent films geared more towards the younger generation of film-goers– it sounds as though Edgar Wright hasn’t dumbed things down in order to get that younger generation on his film’s side. Let’s take a look at what some of these critics are saying:
An ambitious, one-of-a-kind, fully-realized, smart, sensitive and satisfying work of cinema. (Cinematical)
Another genius turn in Wright’s career and filmography — destined to become a beloved classic among the under-30 ADD generation.(ComingSoon.net)
There’s not one moment in the entire movie that isn’t shot or edited from a “never quite seen that before” perspective.(UGO)
So, on the opposite side of the fence, we learn that Scott Pilgrim is ambitious, original, stylized, and– ComingSoon.net hits the nail on the head here– “destined to become a classic among the…ADD generation”. In all likelihood, that’s where the line’s going to be drawn on Wright’s latest film: either you’re young enough to appreciate what he’s up to here, or it’s going to be over your head. That doesn’t mean that older audiences are too stupid to understand the references or to grasp “what it all means”; rather, it indicates that Scott Pilgrim may very well be a “generational” movie, much like The Goonies or Star Wars.
Of course, this also means that there’s probably going to be a good amount of whining when Scott Pilgrim hits theaters. If this film catches on, the more stodgy critics out there are going to resent its success (and don’t try and tell me this isn’t likely, as it’s happened before: some critics and Hollywood insiders are still sour about the fact that the majority’s in love with Inception). Who really cares, though? As long as the audience is entertained, who cares what the critics say? Even if the film stood at a 5% on RottenTomatoes, as long as Scott Pilgrim rakes in some cash, Edgar Wright isn’t going anywhere. Wright’s fans want to see him succeed– both financially and critically– but we all know the critics’ final word won’t make or break his career.
We’ll have to wait another week and a half to find out for ourselves, but stay tuned for more Scott Pilgrim coverage as we get closer to the film’s release (as well as a review for the film on or before its release date, depending on whether or not your friendly, neighborhood Comedy Examiner can weasel his way into another advance screening). Hit the “Subscribe” button up top so that you don’t miss anything, and check out these other recent Comedy Examiner articles while you’re here:
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(photos: top–movieposterdb.com, next three-screencaps, bottom–slashfilm.com)