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Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

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Mark Kermode | 11:44 UK time, Friday, 17 September 2010

Do not let it be said that I never heed your requests for a review once in a while, especially not when it's of a film by Edgar Wright, the director behind of Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, and the TV series Spaced...

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  • Comment number 1.

    I saw SPVTW on it's day of release, and to be honest I can't make up my mind about it. I'm a child of the opriginal Zelda era, but I still have problems recommending it to friends; the best I come up with is "zany". I like Edgar Wright too, even though he's being shoehorned into the "British Tarantino" mould, and the two main film mags over here obviously do too. Besides your good self Doc, I had to look to SciFiNow magazine for a more honest review, and I'd pretty much agree with em - Fun, plenty of faults. And here's mine - I just don't know how it'll do for repeated viewings.

  • Comment number 2.

    I loved Scott Pilgrim - am not a gamer but laughed throughout and found the story touching and sensitively handled. Like all coming-of-age films though, the real test will be how it looks in ten years time, when teenagers no longer talk like extras from Juno :P

  • Comment number 3.

    Mark, I love you.

    A thumbs down for Scott Pilgrim would have kicked my heart in the ass. I've been on tenterhooks for weeks!

    I absolutely loved Scott Pilgrim. I saw it four times in the cinema.

    I thought the cast all-round excellent and the film consistently witty, both verbally and visually. (Some people find Michael Cera annoying, and he has been in some annoying films, but I found his whole awkward teenager act funny and charming here.) Ellen Wong (who I've completely never heard of before) deserves special mention. Interesting to note how in interviews the cast have described how Edgar Wright had them on a tight leash: practically choreographing their head and eye movements.

    Despite a common criticism, I found the fights - like the rest of the movie - exciting and sufficiently varied. I think they hold together because of their place within the film's emotional story, where each fight fits into a development in Scott and Ramona's relationship (e.g. at the point where Scott is fighting to turn a one-night stand with Ramona into a full-scale relationship, he literally has to fight the boyfriend Ramona dumped after a week and a half). It's one of the few 'slacker'-type films I've felt any kind of emotional connection to. I'm sure that's thanks to Wright's command of the film and the cast's performances (and the music, which was entirely enjoyable), not just the references to Mario, Zelda, etc. After all, I played Max Payne when I was young too, and I felt absolutely no emotional connection to that film.

    To echo a correspondent on last week's FiveLive show, I found Kieran Culkin's gay room-mate Wallace a particularly touching character. Although he was largely a comic cipher, here nonetheless was a young gay man in a movie who had a sex life of his own (he didn't just exist to provide relationship advice for the straight characters - although he did do a fair bit of that) and enjoyed life without having to be tortured by emotional demons.

    A couple of gripes, although they honestly seem irrelevant in the face of my love for the film's totality:
    Like Floyd (or was it Boyd?), I never quite saw what Scott was supposed to see in Ramona/Mary Elizabeth Winstead and her wigs (although, being gay, I'm not sure whether that's down to Winstead's performance, or to a problem I encounter with a fair few 'mainstream' romantic films).
    Also, I worry that Edgar Wright was a bit too faithful to the comic. There are a few lines that just fall flat for me that I suspected had been shoe-horned in from the source material. I suppose I'd have to read the comic to find out. It's probably just that no-one ever finds EVERY line in a movie funny.

  • Comment number 4.

    I've seen it twice - The first time was at the press preview screening at the Empire Leicester square where it was on a massive screen, it was loud and the audience went crazy for every gag and geeky reference. I loved it and it was a great movie viewing experience. I couldn't wait to watch it again.

    The second time I saw it was at Brighton Odeon on a Saturday evening. The cinema was pretty empty, the screen was small, the sound quiet and the audience was non-plussed. I still loved it, but it wasn't as exhillarating as the first time and I wondered if, had I only seen it at Brighton, would I have liked it as much?

  • Comment number 5.

    I highly recommend seeing it and I want to see it again but not for obvious reasons. I can't think of anything that I didn't like about it, it's really funny, the nerdy details are incredible, the visuals astounding, the music is way above average for band fake band music found in a film, and all the characters are entertaining, every element is perfect, but for some reason that I can't fathom it felt sooooooooooooooooooooooo looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong.

    When the first fight broke out, about 30 or 45 minutes into the film, my head was just screaming "Oh jeez, we've got 6 more of these to get through". It felt like 4 hours had passed when in reality it was only 2. And I can't work out why. Unless it's just because I don't like martial arts films - although the fights are amusing.

    My main criticism of Kill Bill vol.1 was that it was like watching a computer game and given that I've never felt compelled to watch vol.2 as it'll be no doubt more of the same. In this film there's no veneer over the computer game feel and I liked all the effects and graphics, I think I just switch off when martial arts fighting starts as you generally know what the outcome's going to be and it's so much choreography you may as well watch Street Dance 3D. I want to watch it again to see if I get the same time dilation feeling.

  • Comment number 6.


    I'm shocked, stunned.

    wheresthefish has seen this more times in the cinema then me!

    Thinking thrice would be enough to set the record. Poor foolish me.

    SPVTW is my film of the year so far.
    Went to watch Inception for a second time after seeing Scotty P, and boy does that film seem ponderous and humourless in comparison. In fact, most things do. Why can't smoky letters saying 'rattattatat' float of my keyboard while I type this?

    Oddly, two similarly minded, Shaun and Fuzz and Spaced loving mates also didn't like the film. Think it's because you do just have to accept what's happening when the fight's start.

    But anyway, thanks for being right Mr K :)

  • Comment number 7.

    Mark - many thanks for responding to our requests, truly you are a man of the people! Also, on the strength of your recommendation, I'm looking forward to watching Howard The Duck.

  • Comment number 8.

    Michael Cera playing another awkward nerd, that must be a real stretch for him.

  • Comment number 9.

    i went to see it a few weeks back, it was a weekday, the cinema was absolutely packed

    i liked it a great deal however I would say that not more than 10% of the audience enjoyed it

    a couple sitting in same row actually left half way through

    i must say the fights got a bit tedious and knowing that you had to go through 7 of them really undermined the film. the characters were superficial

    however it was funny, smart and wonderfully crafted and well acted, kieran culkin was the stand out actor, cera, kendrick and routh were also very good

    yet the film was a little bit too pleased with itself, and I can understand if people were put off by the Michael Cera character, he was compltely self-absorbed, neurotic and narcissistic

    i like your thoughts on cult films. it drives me up the wall when filmakers really strive for cult film status. film makers are not the ones who decide what is or what isn't a cult film, the public decides

  • Comment number 10.

    I also really liked Scott Pilgrim. The movie I found myself thinking of as I left the theater was 'Speed Racer', which I think also fits your definition of an accidental cult movie. This movie didn't have quite the visual overload of Speed Racer, which left some space to actually care about the characters and plot. That's probably for the best, although I have no regrets about seeing Speed Racer at the IMAX when it came out (where the neon pinkness of it all pretty much made my head explode).

  • Comment number 11.

    Joining my voice to the choir of people happy that Dr. K liked this movie. I pretty much knew by the Howard the Duck tweet that Mark liked it, because I remembered the Uncut episode that mentioned talking to Tim Robbins about Howard.

    As for Scott Pilgrim - it took me a while to really get into it and wasn't sold at first, I was initially roped into seeing it by friends. But with every viewing I grew to love it more and more, and now I'm definitely a fan.

    Last time I went to see Scott Pilgrim I was one of only four people in the entire cinema, next time I go (next Tuesday) I anticipate an even smaller audience, but I don't care. Transformers had packed cinemas, that doesn't make it a great film.

    I suspect like all cult movies, Scott Pilgrim is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie. For me, it feels a bit like a loving celebration of the pop culture of my own generation, something other people my age (28 now) consistenly claim Kevin Smith movies are (not to me, though Clerks came close).

    Scott Pilgrim came completely out of left field, I didn't even see it coming, and it is what it is without holding back. As far as I'm coincerned, Edgar Wright can do no wrong, and he's quickly shaping up to be one of my favourite directors.

  • Comment number 12.

    I went into Scott Pilgrim fearing the worst - I'm a huge Edgar Wright fan and I'd had nothing but bad reports from friends - but it's one of my favourite comedies since Dodgeball. I laughed all the way through it, and those two previously talent-lite, lunk-headed pec sets Brandon Routh and Chris Evans were both revelatory.

    The most upsetting part of this video was the bit where Pirahna 3D got slammed. It's a seriously entertaining throwback that succeeds despite the (mercifully brief, and initially worrying) appearance of Eli Roth. It gets that callous, early 80's goofiness JUST right, and seeing it with a full house on a Saturday night is highly recommended.

    I'm disappointed Doc. I thought you'd dig the hell out of that movie

  • Comment number 13.

    In the same league as Howard the Duck… That’s a hell of a recommend Dr K.

    Howard was the kind of film that attracts an audience thinking it’s going to be cute Disney product, then slaps em in the face with swearing and raunch. The kind of film that gets described as ‘brave’. It's not a bad film either, not a classic but entertaining enough if you tune into its wavelength.

    On that comparison alone Dr K, adolescent fare Scott Pilgrim is now added to my ‘go see’ list.

  • Comment number 14.

    i haven't seen it yet but will do soon, despite your review and my love of edgar wright, i'm not all too convinced that i will like it.

    i think that michael cera is a terribly wooden actor and i honestly can't see edgar wright translating himself through american actors.

    i will see it soon though, but honestly i don't expect to like it. however i may well be wrong, only one way to find out.

  • Comment number 15.

    Completely agree with your thoughts on people attempting to manufacture cult movies which really seems to have become a thing lately. With the Tarantino and Rob Zombies of the world mashing together old B-movies for resale, large studios making intentionally bad films and the creators of the spectacularly awful Repo! trying to create an instant following by telling people to show up to screenings dressed as characters and sing along to the film, there are so many people trying to force themselves into that niche and frankly it's really annoying.
    I've had this arguement with people before and I think you're right, cult films are always incidental and the followings occur naturally, often over large periods of time. The Room is another great recent example of this - nobody knew what it was seven years ago, but it is such an amazingly terrible movie that word of mouth got around, certain kinds of people began to actively seek it out and now it has essentially taken over Rocky Horror's place as the quintessential midnight viewing. It's not something anybody would have predicted, but somehow it happened.

    Scott Pilgrim only half worked for me. The fight scenes were really well constructed in a way that they just aren't anymore (you mean you're actually going to pull the camera back far enough to let me see the choreography?) and were a lot of fun to watch, but all of the characters besides the gay roommate were too unlikable, I didn't buy into Pilgrim and Ramona's relationship at all and the referential jokes and visual gags were too much too fast when there wasn't an action sequence to staunch them and all of that made the first half hour and the ending both kind of a drag to sit through.

    ... But I can see where the appeal comes from, definitely, and I really like Wright a lot. I'm on the fence yet. Maybe I'll give it another shot when the DVD comes out.

    Howard the Duck is one of the most gleefully ridiculous movies I have ever seen and I embrace it fully.

  • Comment number 16.

    ... By the way, is there usually only one person in attendance at the Kermode Conference?

  • Comment number 17.

    It doesn't take a genius to realise that this film will be a cult hit. After all it's based on a "cult" favourite comic book.
    I love comics, I love geeks, I love Edgar wright's Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I always enjoy Michael Cera, ergo I should love Scott Pilgrim. Well, in fact I only "liked" Scott Pilgrim.
    I was so looking forward to this movie and went to see it's first showing on the first day with a packed screening.
    Maybe it's becaue I'm not a 20 something, male, slacker type but it just didn't work as a whole for me. I mildly laughed at a few jokes (particularly Ciaran Culkin, who stole the show in my opinion) and was impressed by the comic book style effects but the script was just lacking something with it's mumbly stream of consciouness "supposedly witty" one liners. But most of all I just didn't buy the love story between Scott and Romona. She seemed completely indifferent to him and I found myself rooting for Knives Chau. Maybe I was supposed to...who knows?
    In the end it's a movie that is original in its approach and VFXs, but didn't quite have the writing chops behind it.

  • Comment number 18.

    I applaud the films loyalty to the comic, even though I haven't read it. Thing is, being super faithful to the comic is such a shakey tightrope. Sin City succeeded in it, but was ripped apart in terms of style over content. Spidey 1 and 2, along with the new Batman films had their own stories to tell, using inspiration, and succeeded across the board. I just think Wright should've concentrated more on putting his own filling into it, instead of following O'Malley's recipe so closely. Comic lingo doesn't transfer to screen too well.

  • Comment number 19.


    "It doesn't take a genius to realise that this film will be a cult hit. After all it's based on a "cult" favourite comic book."

    The studio definitely thought they were backing a film with a wide audience appeal. It's a PG-13 rated, action-heavy, quirky teen comic book movie, so it should by all logic have been in the bag. They certainly sank enough on advertising - I don't recall the ad budget off the top of my head but it was a large figure. You couldn't throw a stone around here a month ago without hitting some Scott Pilgrim hype.

    I'm not sure that its origins necessarily dictated its end, in this case.

  • Comment number 20.

    Great review, Mark, another Howard the Duck fan here.

    Just wanted to add - you really need to see Tommy Wiseau's "The Room". Wiseau genuinely thought he was making a serious gripping drama -instead he inadvertently made the funniest worst movie I've ever seen (and it's immensely quotable)!

  • Comment number 21.

    @ ninthconfigurator

    The Room.

    Uber-Classic. Tommy Wiseau is a genius.

  • Comment number 22.

    Welcome Mark, your are back among us. Scott Pilgrim is great entertainment and a film that will be often copied but never bettered.

  • Comment number 23.

    I must admit that i am yet to watch Scott Pilgrim. However i do have it on extremely good authority that the ending which you along with some others enjoyed was not the one which Edgar Wright had originally planned for. The original ending was replaced due to a poor reception in advanced screenings. What i would like to know is how does this make Edgar Wright fans feel. I'll be honest, I never saw him as a sellout!

  • Comment number 24.

    Not really sure about this. From the review, and the trailer, to me it looks horrible. But that could just be because I hate teenagers.

  • Comment number 25.

    having watched this garbage myself, the idea that this film isn't STRAINING DESPERATELY to be a "cult" movie seems to me to be totally laughable. Even that final clip about dusting was so obviously trying and failing to have quirky cult appeal it almost made me puke. In fact the whole movie is like that from start to finish.

    All in all I think this film failed because its basically a kids movie even the title sounds like something for 8 year olds and it has the dumbest plot in the history of dumb plots. 2 or 3 fights in a film might be alright but 7 of them ? and basing the whole movie around this idea? sorry but im not surprised most people didn't want to pay to watch that and i would be shocked anyone in the film industry did if i hadnt sat through a number of terrible films lately. These people must literally have cabbages for brains.

    Personally im glad that stuff like this and kick ass are failing and inception (which i didnt even really like much, but at least it wasn't utterly moronic and had some fairly original ideas for a mainstream movie) did really well. Shows that film audiences arent quite as dumb as hollywood believes them to be (until the next megahit michael bay film at least). Hopefully now these idiotic computer game/comic book "nerds" can stop being catered for and some proper films can get made. And im not saying every film needs to be an intelligent thought provoking study of something or other, i like dumb entertainment movies aswell but theres a level of stupidity in these recent films which is almost frightening, and which in a way seems to be the whole point.

    Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to make back to the future/ghostbusters/roger rabbit/even howard the duck type movies which while being seemingly stupid entertainment on one hand were actually well written and made films with interesting and original concepts/plots and characters that had a broad appeal because of this. they were good, well told stories . These new movies are nothing but dumb, poorly thought out gimmicks for a small (but amazingly loud) audience of morons, most of whom rarely leave their bedrooms never mind go to the cinema, and when they do probably spend most of their time playing with their mobile phones.

    The only thing of edgar wrights Ive seen and liked was that "DON'T" trailer in the grindhouse movie, otherwise I think he could be any number of dorky british filmmakers/permanent adolescents whose main idea is to copy something somebody else did better 30 years ago in an "ironic" way. Shaun of the dead was no better than watchable, I dont care what anyone says (this movie regularly gets 5 star reviews!) and Because it did quite well (in money terms) the UK film media treat this chump like he's orson welles (witness the recent ridiculous attention given to scott pilgrim - a movie that almost no-one wanted to see).

    All i can say is im glad this film failed and the idea it wasn't trying to be a cult movie is completely ridiculous. I dont know what mark kermode is thinking by saying that.

    i quite like howard the duck tho

  • Comment number 26.

    Never heard of The Room. Just looked at some clips on youtube and I laughed much more heartily and joyfully at them than any of the lame comedies I've watched recently. That's what I love most about Mark and this site - finding obscure gems, if it weren't for Mark I never would have watched Moon, if it weren't for you guys I wouldn't be determined to hunt down The Room.

  • Comment number 27.

    Mark, your hair looks particularly fine in this post. Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 28.

    This site is a bit slow updating sometimes. I didn't get to see your main comment until after I had written mine. I whole heartedly agree with what you say. I will aslo give it another go on dvd where I can take the time to listen carefully to the bombardment of jokes that I found just too much in the cinema. Not sure if it will change my mind but you never know :D

    Even with my doubts about it I don't agree with your vitriolic comments on this movie and its fans.
    We live in the world of the texting, tweeting, console game playing, soundbite generation and in some ways Scott Pilgrim represents this perfectly. This however doesn't make it a perfect film in the current definitive sense, more a collection of 'cool' clips.
    If nothing else Edgar Wright has pushed the boundaries of what a movie is, and that can only inspire the imaginations of future filmakers in what is achieveable and how they can make it work for them.

  • Comment number 29.

    I can't believe it bombed. I had no idea until a friend told me yesterday. We were surprised that you couldn't find a comparison to Speed Racer, because while I thought Scott Pilgrim was better paced that Speed Racer, the visual spectacle reminded us a lot of it, and I'm pretty sure Speed Racer is another example of an 'accidental cult movie'. I loved the film and was glad that the videogame references weren't too much in the realm of 'This is the Mario bit, this is the Zelda bit', but flowed pretty naturally and just felt like the whole film took place in videogame-land. Favourite line: "I'm sorry that you don't appreciate my cathedral of cutting-edge taste".

  • Comment number 30.

    Enchanted by failure - a quintessentially British trait, Mark. It explains our fundamental difference with America, in our approach to comedy. Maybe Edgar Wright didn't infuse Scott Pilgrim's character with enough 'epic win', to coin a current strain of online flu.

  • Comment number 31.

    While the film may, at this stage, not be finding the audience it expected at the box-office, I suspect that it is unlikely that it won't make its money back and a good deal more when it comes to DVD release. I, for one, will be placing my pre-order as soon as it comes available. I loved it, as did all of the people I went to see it with.

  • Comment number 32.

    Jordan Prentice was one of many actors who played the role of Howard the Duck. I hope this pleases Dr. Kermode.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ Invader Zim

    Plus even for a new movie, an 8.1 average on IMDb is strangely high for a film that could never make its money back. It should be able to find enough DVD and Blu-Ray purchasers to still make a return - especially if it's only 90 million which is not the highest budget by a long shot. It's full scale projects like Green Zone that Universal will be more worried about.

  • Comment number 34.


    If you ever find yourself near a theater that is doing a midnight screening of The Room, for goodness sake's do it because I can guarantee it will the most fun you will ever have at the cinema. Not that you'll actually be able to watch the film there since everybody will be shouting and laughing at the movie the entire time. We even had people throwing footballs and acting out the scenes right in front of the screen at the Detroit viewings we went to.

    The movie is just baffling in how terrible it is, really. You can't even pinpoint specific things about it to criticize because, literally, /everything/ in it is bad. Everything. The worse thing about it is that it was intended to be a dark drama from the heart and was clearly made by somebody with serious relationship issues. Wiseau has now backpedaled into claiming he intended it as a comedy all along and redubbed the trailer to that effect (in a very obvious and terrible way, I should add). The fact that six million dollars were put into making it is completely mind-blowing.

    I'm a fan. :D

    Oh, and bring spoons. Lots of spoons.

  • Comment number 35.

    Mark this is my favourite thing you've ever done.
    I adore cult movies and have for years been trying to explain to my peers what you have packed into 4 minutes and 32 seconds. Well done sir.

  • Comment number 36.

    I saw SPVTW a couple of weeks ago and loved it. Not as good as the books but it was never going to be.

    Obtaining the Dr K recommended spacing of empty seats around me was not difficult as there were only three of us in the auditorium, it was the 11:30 pm screening though.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have a lot of time for Edgar Wright, but I despise Michael Cera- the young American Hugh Grant of our times.

  • Comment number 38.

    Back in February I briefly met Mark after his tour date at Edinburgh's Cameo Picturehouse. The following week Cameo planned to show The Room as part of a 'Best Bad Film's' night and intrigued, I bought a ticket. When I asked Mark for his opinion, he hadn't heard of the film, questioning whether I'd perhaps gotten a little mixed up. This created much embarrassed sweating on my part. However, it seems there is a gap in his encyclopedic film knowledge and I'd love to see what he makes of the film (although a review would be impossible during a late night showing!).

    Also, the Howard the Duck comparison alone has convinced me to seek out SPVTW.

  • Comment number 39.

    I suspect you may be right about Scott Pilgrim becoming a cult hit, (although I'd hope it will be remembered a lot more fondly than Howard the Duck) I loved the film, and I'm glad you did too, although perhaps you could have given us a little more insight into what you enjoyed about it, or what you thought its failings were, rather than merely expounding your HTD theory.
    Anyone who hasn't seen the film is unlikely to be any the wiser after this. (And I'm assuming they haven't seen Howard the Duck. Or that, like me, they choose not to recall having seen it.)

  • Comment number 40.

    I have never commented on a blog before in my life, in spite of being only 19 and therefore a member of that generation reputedly incapable of passing more than 5 minutes away from a computer before being forced to don a hoodie and assault a handful of OAPs in order to combat my the extremes of my resulting boredom. However, being a huge fan of the show and a recent discoverer of this blog I was inspired by your evident willingness to consider the demands of the masses - as shown by your video review of this film in accordance with blogger requests - to make a polite review request of my own.
    What I would like to know is whether you have seen "The Maid", or whether you have any plans to see/review it in the near future? I'm sure 3-week-old Chilean films aren't exactly top of your bulky movie-watching agenda for this week, but I thought it sounded really interesting when I first heard about it and am still hoping to see it at one of the few cinemas still showing the film before it disappears off the radar. Would love to know whether, if you have seen it, you think it worth the trip...

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm so pleased that Dr K finally saw SPVtW and enjoyed it, as well as many other discerning movie afficionados here on the Kermode Blog.

    Like many here, the cinema I viewed the movie in was only about a quarter full, but I couldn't believe how much I giggled over it's silliness.

    I loved the well choreographed fight scenes, the computer game references and the snappy dialogue meant to be zingy one-liners delivered in whip-crack style.

    I've not seen The Room, but it does look like a complete train wreck just from it's trailer. And the good Dr has inspired me to get a copy of Howard the Duck.

    One of the fun movie experiences I've had this year. And I also apologise wholeheartedly for not proofing the end of my email review, which was so kindly read out by Simon upon your return to the airwaves and ended up so muddled. I can only say, it was after midnight and I was tired. Mea culpa.

  • Comment number 42.

    re: cult films.

    In 2002, I worked in for ['a well known cinema chain beginning with "O"']. One Friday, I discovered that the film "Donnie Darko" was going to be shown - a film I'd happen to have seen the previous week in the local arthouse cinema (the GFT). I was excited at the prospect of it showing in a multiplex and was determined to get as many people as possible to go see it.

    When I was rostered onto the box office that week, where people often asked for recommendations, I waxed lyrical about this strange film "where a troubled teenage boy meets a giant rabbit who tells him the world is going to end" and assured patrons that "whilst I can't guarrantee that you'll like the film, you will be talking about it for weeks" (salesmanship is clearly not my forte). Typically, most folk would say "no thanks. Two for 'Maid in Manhattan' please." Suffice to say, next to no-one went to see it in the end and the film came and went within a week.

    Fast forward several months, after the surprise Christmas number one for the cover of "Mad World" (from the soundtrack) and the release of the film on DVD, it seemed as if everyone I knew was coming up to me saying "Have you seen 'Donnie Darko'?". You began to see it on the shelves of DVD shops and it seemed as if the world had gone a little bit mad for this decidedly odd film.

    If we were to take a straw poll of the readers of this blog, I think it highly likely that most people have see DD - I wonder how many saw it first on it's cinematic release, or on DVD?

    I suspect that, like DD before it, SPVTW will probably end up having a second life on DVD once word of mouth kicks in properly - it would also be an interesting exercise to see how many people are seeding/leaching it on the torrent sites as a gauge of it's potential for cult-dom. I merely hope that Hollywood keep faith with Edgar Wright and continue to give him work - goodness knows they've given M. Night Shambles enough chances.

  • Comment number 43.

    I wanted to like Scott Pilgrim. I really did. But I'm afraid it falls into the 'trying too hard to be cult' column for me....

    the cinematography and style was absolutely spot on, and even Michael Cera was quite amusing in his role, but for me it was the borrowing from computer games that let it down... Don't get me wrong here - I love computer games, and the older the better, but by borrowing a plot structure from mid-nineties beat 'em ups, the film gained all the problems of the dusty vintage console games. The plot became predictable, tedious and too methodical (think Tekken), the violence was stylised, but gratuitous and repetitive (think Mortal Kombat), and the female characters were mostly tertiary, with the sole purpose of being prizes to be fought for (any female character in a Mario game careless enough to be kidnapped by a mardy dinosaur).

    I really wanted to like it. I just couldn't...

  • Comment number 44.

    Does anyone else think that Kermode is being slightly xenophobic in calling M Night Shylaman 'M Night Shamalamadingdong'. Not that I am sticking up for his films, but for bringing down the director's and ridiculing a fairly run of the mill Indian second name seems a little trite; akin to what Roy Chubby Brown would do... It reminds me of bad comedians in the 1970's like Jim Davidson pulling his eyelids back to do impressions of Chinese people.

  • Comment number 45.

    weeeeelll... I disagree. I think the movie is breathlessly inventive. For half an hour. It then becomes a pretty formulaic teen movie with little depth and two smug, conceited central characters. Purists will whine that "that's how they are in the comic" in which case, I would probably be left ambivalent by those, too. I wanted to love it, I left disgruntled. Not hating it, just... meh.

  • Comment number 46.

    S Ford, I can see where you're coming from but I think that if M Night had gone by a different name, Mark still probably would have made a joke out of that too, because he's such a relentlessly poor filmmaker (M Night, not Dr. K, although I'm sure he is as well), it has nothing to do the fact that he's Indian. I mean, I'm not Indian and my name is Shyamalan so I can't say whether this would cause offence, but having listened/watched/read a lot of Kermode's stuff, as I'm sure you have too, I'm convinced that he's not racist.

  • Comment number 47.

    I utterly adored 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World'.
    I saw it twice at the cinema and I want to see it again.
    As a huge fan of Bryan Lee O'Malley's novels, I was nervous about how it would translate onto screen but Edgar Wright did a fantastic job of keeping the charm and charatcer of the world these characters are situated in.
    Mary Elizabeth Winstead was a perfect Ramona and I don't think she's got enough credit for her role.

  • Comment number 48.

    The biggest problem I found with SPVTW was the cetral relationship between Scott and Ramona, it was just flat out unconvincing. Clearly Scott should have thought to himself, "wow, this lass has seven evil x's - she's obviously a terrible judge of character - best steer clear!" I know the film is hardly grounded in the realms of believability but neither was Shaun Of The Dead and the back and forth between Shaun and Liz was one of that films strongest aspects. I just didn't care about anybody on screen and the prosiac structure just made the whole affair seem laboured and overly long.

  • Comment number 49.

    Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (or at least the first 45mins of it) is the most Putrid, Obnoxious and Repellent piece of film making i have ever seen! The acting was awful, the dialogue was awful, the characters were all horrible people, the editing was obnoxious and annoying, the special effects were obnoxious and annoying, the story was annoying, the music was awful and there was not one single redeeming feature about The whole thing! I was so tense and frustrated i was actually shaking and feeling physically sick, WE JUST HAD TO WALK OUT and i was so ANGRY i started screaming in the middle of the street. I hated it so much, there was nothing interesting, funny or engaging about it and the characters were all thoroughly unlikeable! I have Never walked out of a screening in a cinema before and its my ultimate golden rule never to do so, even if a film is really bad i stick with it until the end so i can say i have seen the whole film and i can make a fully informed opinion about it but there is only so much i can cope with and i doubt the remaining 67 minutes would have been any better. It might just be me but the film did make me feel incredibly old and out of touch with "the youth of today" etc, but saying that i'm only 24. I just did not enjoy one single second of it. The first 45 minutes of this film has over taken 'Date Movie' as the worst film i have ever seen and that is a remarkable achievement to say the least.

  • Comment number 50.

    Yas!!!! I LOVE Howard the Duck! Apart from the weird, possibly accidental, hint at beastiality (which I didn't even understand when I was at the age I fell in love with the movie) it is brilliant and by a very reasonable set of rules laid at by Mark, a genuine cult classic.

    Incidentally, I will now watch Scott Pilgrim.

    "She took my eggs"

  • Comment number 51.

    This review reinforces why, although I enjoy listening to him, I don't rate Mark highly as a critic. He is cult personified; as here where if most people don't like it, he does.

  • Comment number 52.


    Thanks, Amber, for that link which shows me where I can see a late night viewing of The Room anywhere in the world, including my home town. Ain't the internet wonderful?

  • Comment number 53.

    Just some things I would like to say in regards to this movie (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and common criticisms levelled against it:

    1. Let's assume for the moment that Michael Cera is entirely phoning it in and giving a lazy performance (which I disagree with). Does that make him any different from at least a dozen other actors, like Justin Long, Zooey Deschanel, the entire Judd Apatow stable, and more? I don't think it's at all important how much of a "range" an actor displays; heck, some have forged an entire career out of playing the one archetypal character. It's what serves the character best, and I think it holds true here.

    2. Yes, Scott and Ramona are somewhat unpleasant characters. THAT'S. THE. POINT. They are deeply-flawed, insensitive and selfish people, and we are witnessing them wake up to themselves and find out how they want to go about living their very lives. It's what informs their choice to start a relationship, and I suspect it's what's catching people off-guard and seeming fake to them. What you're being asked to enjoy is that very process; the humorous ways in which they react to these amplified situations and conflicts, defying the expectations of the people around them and even the audience.

    3. It seems to me that some view the six boss battles as simple fighting for its own sake, and therefore repetitive. Yes, certainly Wright would want you to enjoy it on a visceral, visual level, like any typical action movie fight. What really underpins them, for me, are the unique foes and how they challenge different insecurities of Scott's personality. Lucas Lee is a strong, charismatic action star, a binary opposite to Scott's weedy slacker that no doubt would cause him a bit of envy. Roxy Richter provided the opportunity for sexual discovery to Ramona, something that you wouldn't exactly expect Scott to do. Even the twins go straight for the jugular in being more technically proficient than him at music, a past-time that he delves into in order to escape from the world.

    4. The Speed Racer comparisons aren't totally without merit. However, I think that the bright aesthetic, as engaging and well done as it is, ranks somewhere down the bottom of the reasons why I enjoyed the film. As you might have guessed, it's the characters that kept me in awe: the central figures of Scott, Ramona and Knives, their quirky companions and, of course, the exes. Coupled with the funny and sometimes touching dialogue - a great mix of Wright's comedic sensibilities and killer lines from the source material - it's what made the film resonate far more than the Wachowskis' dazzlingly flawed effort.

  • Comment number 54.

    tommus-jay - Not saying he's racist, I didn't use that term. I just don't him calling M Night what he does is that politically correct or in good taste. Sure it's not the most offensive thing to say, but there is something about using a taunt which does in essence ridicule a eastern name's seemingly unusual nature (ie many journalists critics make little attempt in saying his name well, which irrespective of his films being good or not is irrelevant) seem to be a little unsettling. Whether it is my greater sensitive nature to the issue or not, I feel his persistent insistance to refer to give by that name makes me a little uncomfortable.... I myself don't think it's that bad a thing, but a little on the tasteless side and quite a cheap insult.

  • Comment number 55.

    sorry s ford but you are pretty much saying he is being racist whether you are actually using the word or not, and you sound utterly ridiculous at the same time. for the record I dont find the name funny either but saying its offensive (or insinuating that its racist which lets face it, you did) is the worst kind of knee jerk politically correct nonsense and is the kind of thing that discredits the entire cause of political correctness (which does have some justification occasionaly).

    calling him M Night Shymalamamawhatever is just a play on words like i could call a certain movie reviewer Mark Commode or a certain misguided political correctness campaigner S Flawed or name myself Billy The Skid on an internet forum. Am i being racist now or, god forbid offending the memory of dead cowboys ? lets hope not

  • Comment number 56.

    @ S Ford

    I think it demonstrates that British schoolboys never outgrow their fondness for making execrable puns over people's names. (Though I have to admit that Orloondo Bland and Ikea Knightley were among the Dr's better ones).

    Yes, I am a middle-aged female. Why do you ask?

    S Ford, it would be racist if M. Night were the only director La Commode rubbished in this way. As we know, His Quiffness is an equal opportunity rubbisher.

  • Comment number 57.

    Adding 'dingdong' onto Asian surnames is a pretty standard racist insult that I thankfully can't remembering hearing since the early 2000s, along with 'bud bud ding ding.' You can call it political correctness gone mad, but don't complain when someone gives you a well deserved thump for being an ignorant fool. Billtheskid, you're the one guilty of a kneejerk reaction. Going mental over the internet accusing S Ford of calling Kermode racist when he clearly wasn't, he was just pointing out what I thought to most people was common knowledge. Personally I love Mark Kermode and don't think he's racist either, but that kind of language is deeply unpleasant for lots of people in our society, and if people don't realise what they're insinuating then people should be free to highlight that. As I said before, it's alright for people to complain about political correctness if they offend someone else, but they whinge even louder when someone offends them back.

  • Comment number 58.

    Obviously my comment re: British schoolboys really set the alarm bells ringing.

  • Comment number 59.

    @Billytheskid etc
    Apologies if I insinuated anything uncalled for, it was unintentional. I had no inclinations of going into a political correctness debate; just to state how such a play on words could potentially be offensive and that I was uncomfortable with it. It is clear that it is only I who perceives such a play on words unfavourably, which I accept I have probably done through overt sensitivity.
    Once again apologies if needed...

  • Comment number 60.

    @Dominic Barlow - viz point 2: No, I got it. But as a film maker, it's your job to make me understand that process, and understand that they will redeem themselves. Instead, I watched two shallow and vain characters not care about each other properly, disregarding the nicer girl right until the end, where on a pin they shrug and change their ways.
    And from what others have said, the majority feel the same way. Meaning there's a disconnect somewhere. If you know the source material, then hooray, but a film stands and falls on it's own.

  • Comment number 61.

    @60: Echoing Alina somewhat here Mr Ford but, I think your unease would be more merited if only for the fact that Mark regularly makes light of many film luminaries e.g. "Sleepy La Beef", "Ikea Knightly", "Huge Action", "McJEEEEeeee", "Michael Bay" (well, that's insulting enough as it is!)... funnily enough, he tends to reserve his ire for lesser talents (Jackman aside).

    I wonder if perhaps his predilection for surname-based jokes is related to his own scatological comedy potential of his own name?

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm pleased you liked it, although with the greatest respect, I think you are not in a position to appreciate it fully.
    As someone who happily admits to have never played computer games, and further has no interest in them, you are bound to miss out on a lot in a film which is littered with references to computer games, and which I personally think is the first time a director has managed to translate computer game style action successfully to film (a feat which has eluded many others, often with cringe-worthy consequences).
    I think there are plenty of shots in this that will be copied ad nauseum in many films to follow.

  • Comment number 63.

    On the "Shamalamadingdong" thing: I don't disagree with Alina, but I just thought it worth noting that the Doctor has already been beaten to the punch on that nickname by just about everybody else on the internet. Google it and several thousand results will pop up to that effect. There are definition entries for Shamalamadingdong on Urban Dictionary dating back to spring 2009.

    But yeah. Can't account for the pathos of the rest of the internet, but I seriously doubt Kermode is racist based on that one joke. He's kind of immature but then again that's not exactly news to anybody.

  • Comment number 64.

    The good thing about Scott Pilgrim not doing well at the box offices in the US and the UK is the Germany release got rescheduled from next year to October this year.

  • Comment number 65.

    Saw SPVTW last week and absolutely enjoyed it.

    Huge fun and had a real feel-good factor about it.

    Pity it is not doing too great at the box office.

  • Comment number 66.

    Enjoyed Scott Pilgrim V The World.

    Not generally a fan of Michael Cera but he did OK backed by a good cast and enjoyed the fight scenes.

  • Comment number 67.

    Definitely destined to be a cult DVD smash - ideal for viewing after liberal libations at the local hostelry.

    Yes, it's a film best watched when you're P155ED.

  • Comment number 68.

    One thing no critics have commented on is how closely Scott Pilgrim resembles the Cantonese sub-genre of "mo lei tau" - fantastical action comedies chock-full of zany, rapid-fire sight gags heavily influenced by anime, old wu xia movies and video games. These have been hugely popular across Asia for the past twenty-five years and I'm certain Edgar Wright has at least a passing familiarity with works by Lee Lik Chi, Tsui Hark and the peerless Jeff Lau.

  • Comment number 69.

    I recently saw SPVTW and to be frank...i disliked it. The beginning of the film is much too pacey for my liking and even though it attempts to engulf the viewer I must say I was utterly bored out of my brains. The actions scenes were directed well in my opinion, though Michael Cera's wooden acting left me rather un-satifisfied. He always seems to play a almost bland figure in all his films. His role in Juno (from my view) was to simply maintain one dimensional and it seems he has brought that same character to all his other films. I understand the perception that Cera does resemble and epitomize that "geeky" youth, but surely he and others must come to terms with the fact that he wont be able to do the same mundane thing everytime.

  • Comment number 70.

    Just to say that Howard the Duck is awesome... I thought I was the only one that thought so. It is the ultimate cult film.

  • Comment number 71.

    I watched this film after your review....gash! I didn`t find it funny and I couldn`t find anything interesting in any of the characters. Cheers for wasting my time Mark!


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