Once in a great while will a movie have me smiling to myself in the theater. It’ll happen occasionally but not to anything concrete. I was smiling throughout Inception, but come on, that film was absolute perfection. There is no “getting better” than that film. However, one film that I would say holds up as far as smiles go, Scott Pilgrim takes the cake. I was smiling throughout the duration of the film and for all the right reasons.
First off the story: Scott Pilgrim must defeat Ramona Flowers’ Seven Evil Ex’s in order to date her. Sounds awesome right? The story is just ludicrous enough that you know before the film even begins that this movie is not going to take itself seriously and you’re just in for a good time, and that’s exactly what happened.
The casting is absolutely perfect as well. Michael Cera is the best he’s been since Arrested Development, and trust me, that was a while ago. He plays it a little differently and it’s not as “Michael Cera-ey” as his other roles thankfully. That whole schtick got tiresome fast. Mary Elizabeth Winstead does fine in the role (though I wish her character had a little more depth but I understand why she was shown in a widely appealing nature). Kieran Culkin also does a great job as Scotts gay roommate. Some of the funniest moments in the movie come from him.
Brandon Routh also gave a surprising performance. He did a great job in Superman Returns but he hasn’t done much else since and what he’s been in hasn’t been noteworthy. Good to see he’s finally utilizing his talent. Chris Evans also plays the douchebag movie star roll to a T. I was quite impressed with that and liked to see how much fun he was having in the role. Was refreshing. Then of course, Jason Shwartzman as the main baddie of the film Gydeon. He was great as usual and had some awesome lines. I love his “Heeeeyy buddy.”
Onto the man that this film would not have been the same without: Edgar Wright. I will now go blindly into any Edgar Wright film. He has joined the elite ranks of Brad Bird, David Fincher, and James Cameron. Truly one of the greatest filmmakers working today and he proves it with this film. His style and cutting ability is one in a million. He has some of the greatest scene transitions I’ve ever seen on film. And that may not sound like a lot but it completely affects the flow of the film as a whole. Terrible editing can ruin another wise great movie, and this is the case of the editing being absolute perfection.
This also contains one of my favorite moments in a movie for the year. The first being the opening title sequence which stands above many others like it. The start of it with “We are Sex Bob-omb!” and the pullback into an infinite room. Another favorite of mine was the fade to black and white while Todd is telekinetically lifting Scott up. It is truly a mesmerizing shot and one that all cinematographers should study for years to come. And before I forget, the 8 bit Universal Opening Title is one of the most clever things I've seen in a movie in years.
Being an editor, I notice things that most others wouldn’t when watching your average film. I notice the cuts, how long a shot lasts, if it all goes together smoothly. I have an editors mind and it can never be turned off unless the movie is perfect or damn near close to it. Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum where the movie is great and it is improved by my editors mind. Scott Pilgrim would fall into the latter category. The editing in this film is unrivaled. Transitions occur seamlessly and no shot overstays it’s welcome.