Friday, August 20, 2010
An absolutely dazzling film overflowing with originality, wit and substance, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is one of the first truly defining and great films of this young decade. Adapted from the comic series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Wright’s film is a joyous addition to a small but growing collection of films that have established him as one of the most vibrant and necessary voices in modern cinema. Like his previous works, which include Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the television series Spaced, Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a remarkable mixture of knowing acknowledgement to past films and startling creativity. Powered by Wright’s ability to transform ideas that perhaps shouldn’t work into cinematic gold, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is the kind of picture film-buffs and critics will be celebrating in twenty years time while asking the very viable question of, “Why didn’t that do better when it came out?”
And why isn’t it doing better? Already considered a financial failure (despite an alluring ad-campaign and a terrific young cast including Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick and the delightful Mary Elizabeth Winstead) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will probably be out of most American theaters within a couple of weeks and it’s a bloody shame. Along with Kick Ass, another recent visionary work adapted from a comic that proved a financial disappointment, Wright’s film is deserving of a much larger audience than its being granted. I think several factors (certainly opening it against Stallone’s terrific and much anticipated The Expendables wasn’t the best idea) have went into its disappointing reception, with a main one being that Universal undervalued the marketability of Wright’s name. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz might not have broken any box-office records but they have certainly become two of then most popular cult-films in recent memory, and Wright’s name should have been exploited more promoting Scott Pilgrim. Ultimately though, in a climate where filmgoers are flocking to works like Grown Ups and The Last Airbender, a work as fresh and alive as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World perhaps didn’t stand a chance.
So, just a quick recommendation for the most entertaining and life-affirming film I have seen all year and see it on the big-screen if at all possible. With a relatively small body of work on his resume right now, 38 year-old Edgar Wright has already become a cinematic heavyweight in my book. I can’t wait to see what he does next.