I work in tech. I know far more about pop culture than I’d ever like to admit. I’m not a gamer but I enjoy video games occasionally. Based on all of this, I should, at the very least, be OK with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I too was surprised to find my disdain for the movie. Had it been as exciting, funny, and enjoyable as its own trailer I would have given it four stars. Unfortunately, Scott Pilgrim isn’t 2 minutes long. It’s 113 minutes long and a chore to watch.
Despite all its 16-bit video game flash, comic book visuals, and rocking soundtrack, Scott Pilgrim manages to be a downer of a film. The sarcastic, hard to tolerate characters (yes, all of them) make it difficult to enjoy the deliberately quirky elements. Even worse is a plot that drags us through seven dreadful video game inspired battles between Scott Pilgrim and the exes of the girl he has his sights on. The battles are highly stylized to the point where there is never any sense of danger. I’ve felt worse watching Mario take a beating at the hands of Bowser.
Everything about Scott Pilgrim felt cold and distant. The characters were caricatures always ready with rapid fire snide remarks that were neither funny or smart. Caricatures are hard to root for, hard to feel emphathy for, hard to muster up the energy to care about. Put caricatures in a video game tinged, comic book fueled setting and the results are emptiness. Worse than hate is apathy and Scott Pilgrim generated much apathy.
I would dare to give Scott Pilgrim vs. The World a half star if it weren’t for the innovative visuals. I’ll give director Edgar Wright credit for that. Bump it up 1/2 a star for the interesting visuals. They play well in the trailer. Too bad the rest of the film is almost two hours of sludging through long repetitive scenes of shallow characters making it to an end that doesn’t matter all that much.