"Scott Pilgrim vs The World" DVD Review
November 17, 2010 by James Harvey
Out of the gate, Scott Pilgrim vs The World had “cult classic” written all over it. I was surprised this movie got greenlit with a $60 million (apparently) budget and was given a pretty high-profile August 2010 release date. True, August isn’t the most high-profile release date for a movie, but it’s that last summer month where studios make that final push for cash and to put Scott Pilgrim vs The World out at that time shows tremendous confidence in the movie itself, as there should be. Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a great movie, nearly flawless. It’s just a shame that it wasn’t a bigger hit, essentially crashing when hitting the big screen. Thankfully, Scott Pilgrim gets a second chance to get it together on home video.
Game on! Scott Pilgrim has just met the girl of his dreams…literally. But in order for them to date, he must defeat her seven evil exes, a rogues’ gallery, including an infamous skateboarder, a vegan rock star and fearsome identical twins! From the genre-smashing director of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead comes “a true original” (Entertainment Weekly) powered up by wit, action and groundbreaking visuals that will want to watch again as soon as it’s over!
As its theatrical release date drew closer, the acclaim, and even media attention was pretty high. It was all over the net, all over television (especially the genre specialty channels), everywhere it seemed. And despite that exposure, it seemed just doomed. A very specific movie meant for a very, very specific crowd, I never saw this movie as one that would hit it big in theaters, despite it being a wonderful theater-going experience. That being said, this movie is just made for home video, especially Blu-ray, and is ridiculously rewatchable. This is one movie that could easily be watched in a loop over and over. It’s just so damn fun. The amazing visuals, quirky narrative, genuine character work and brilliant laughs, plus gag after gag, makes Scott Pilgrim vs The World a movie worth seeking out, even owning blindly.
Now, many others have reviewed this movie before I, and have done a job that will surpass anything I will be able to muster up (see DVD Talk’s great review of the Scott Pilgrim vs The World Blu-ray release). Scott Pilgrim vs The World is truly a unique experience, based on the equally enjoyable and diggable comic series by Brian Lee O’Malley. Adapted by Shaun of the Dead’s Edgar Wright, we get a quick, 110-odd minute mind-bending tour. Nothing is impossible yet everything seems normal, whether it’s Scott punching someone so hard he breaks into coins or a music battle between gigantic beasts. All is normal, yet still remains spectacular eye-candy, and nothing is out of bounds in Scott Pilgrim’s little universe.
And, lord, how awesome is Scott’s universe? Wright makes such an enjoyable movie, full of great dialogue, spiffy direction and so much more, that he makes it possible to overlook what a jerk the main character is. He’s likeable, yes, but Pilgrim is a pretty selfish arse. But Wright, and a great turn by Michael Cera, makes it hard not to root for the guy to overcome the seven evil exes and win the day. I found myself chuckling and shaking my head more than once at a something he’d spout off, about how awesome he is or his attempts to change the direction of the conversation back to him on more than one occasion, all solidly delivered by Cera.
Cera is not the only one on his game here. Ellen Wong is great as Pilgrim’s rebound girlfriend Knives Chau, a girl who has yet to discover just how cool she really is. Mary Elizabeth Winstead brings the right amount of mystique and aloof-ness to the role of Ramona Flowers, the object of Pilgrim’s affection. And, without question, Kieran Culkin steals every scene he's in as Wallace Wells, Scott's cool gay roommate. An absolutely great performance which, with a little luck, will lead to a lot more work for Culkin. The entire cast is pretty much perfect actually, be it the good guys (Pilgrim and his pals) or the ne’er-do-wells (the evil exes). Brandon Routh, of Superman Returns fame, is probably my favorite of the exes, followed up by a great jerk-ish performance by Chris Evans as another dastardly former acquaintance. And each of these performances stand up and nicely compliment the wonderful visuals and amazing CGI employed to bring the stunning world of Scott Pilgrim to life. It’s amazing how seamlessly everything blends together. How incredible out there everything is, yet…it all makes sense ands feels just…run of the mill for those who inhabit Pilgrim’s world. Thankfully, while the 1-Ups that pop out of nowhere and the epic battles may be standard for Pilgrim and his crew, they remain jaw-dropping to us mere spectators Scott Pilgrim vs The World is the perfect blend of ingenious special effects, swift and complex story-telling and dynamite acting.
Seriously, there’s not a hair out of place here.
And this is just a very brief overview of the awesomeness that is Scott Pilgrim vs The World, from someone who read the books after seeing the movie. So, for anyone worried about being lost or confused by the film’s quick pace and fast cuts – you need not worry! There may be an instance or two of confusion, but anything you need to know is presented in such a visual fashion or through a clever cutaway, so you needn’t worry. But, please, pay attention to the movie. It’s a movie that begs to be watched with one’s full attention, and more than once.
Take a chance on Scott Pilgrim vs The World, and I doubt you’ll regret it. It’s a supremely different movie, one that doesn’t play by the books, and that is merely one of its many, many strengths. In all honesty, for those who haven’t given Pilgrim a shot yet, I think you’ll be surprised. Even if you’re not in its intended demographic, it has such an infectious charm that’d hard to shake off. And, besides, some of the fight scenes are just spectacular. While those going into this movie blind may want to merely rent it before unquestionably adding it to your collection, fans of the film will definitely find Scott Pilgrim vs The World a Must Own.
Before I go any further I need to clarify something here. If you have the capabilities, go and get the Blu-ray release of Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Higher quality and many, many more bonus features, the Blu-ray edition is the ideal way to view this flick. The best actually. However, if you’re unable to play Blu-ray, well, you can’t go wrong with this DVD release.
So, on the DVD, Universal Home Entertainment has provided a tidy alternative for those unable to view Scott Pilgrim vs The World in all its high-definition glory. Looking at the audio and video quality first up, everything seems as top-notch as a DVD release can get. The video is pretty excellent, with virtually no flaws or mistakes to be found save for some slight compression issues. The audio is quite astounding, however, perfectly reproducing the theatrical experience for the movie, especially when it comes to the effects heavy action sequences. Punches fly in all directions, every little hit, whip or smash sounds full and thunderous. The final battle? Awesome. I'm actually pretty surprised at the high quality of the DVD release for this flick, with top-notch audio and video transfers.
Skipping over to the included extras, the DVD features commentaries by co-writer/director/producer Edgar Wright, co-writer Michael Bacall, graphic novel creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, director of photography Bill Pope, and actors Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, and Brandon Routh. Also included are deleted scenes, bloopers, trivia, galleries, and a selection of pre-menu trailers. All in all, the extras are a mixed bag. They feel…somewhat incomplete, like there’s plenty more to be seen. The audio commentaries, the three included here, are all worth a listen (and are easy to do so given the excellent main feature). As for the deleted scenes, most are worth a chuckle or two but were wisely excised. They are mostly moments trimmed from scenes left in the main feature, but the alternate ending is definitely an interesting alternative to what we ultimately ended up with. I’m sure many of you, like myself, will jump right to that particular deleted scene as soon as the disc loads. But as I said, the extras here are adequate but somewhat incomplete. Given the wealth of content on the Scott Pilgrim vs The World Blu-ray release, that’s likely a pretty accurate statement and a bit of a snub to DVD-only purchasers.
Just to note, the Blu-ray release of Scott Pilgrim vs The World also features the DVD edition of the movie, so I would still lean more toward purchasing the Blu-ray release over the single-disc DVD edition reviewed here even if you don’t own a Blu-ray player. More bang for your buck and future-proofing your collection, simple as that.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a refreshingly original and entertaining movie, and probably the best “comic book movie” of 2010 hands down. Hypnotic, fun, addictive and just excellent are probably the four best words to describe this movie. Perfectly cast and executed with barely a flaw to be found, Scott Pilgrim vs The World will undoubtedly find the audience on home video it struggled to find in the theatre. And, as I stressed over and over above, going the Blu-ray route is the best way to experience Scott Pilgrim vs The World on home video. It just brings out the vibrancy of the film more than DVD ever could, but the DVD release is a fair alternative if it is your only viable outlet. Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a Must Own on Blu-ray, and I guarantee you’ll be watching this movie again and again and again…
Did any of that make sense?
Scott Pilgrim vs The World is now available to own on Blu-ray and DVD.