Tag Archive | scott pilgrim

The Sick Sense

A few weeks ago, when we went to see Scott Pilgrim, they ran a trailer which has since hit television. The corresponding movie is to be released on 9/17.

The trailer spoke to the cheese-nouveau quality of the movie: a bunch of people are trapped in an elevator who are (as made PAINFULLY obvious) all from different ethnic and social backgrounds when the lights go out and something crazy happens to (and this is just an assumption based on the overt stereotypes) the rich white girl with daddy issues. This, according to the trailer, makes everyone suspicious of the (again, stereotypical) olive-skinned, nervous-looking middle-easterner who, in the beginning of the trailer, makes you think he is up to something severe.
The shabby-yet-buff white guy who, keeping with the stereotypes, is probably some sort of off-duty or undercover cop (or former military) gets into a confrontation with the middle-eastern fellow about the injuries of the rich white girl. Of course, large black security guard tries to break things up while crazy old cat lady clutches her handbag in that charming old-person fashion with a very strained look on her face.

The trailer goes on to show off its supernatural elements and blah blah blah… seriously, it looks like any other horror/thriller that’s come around within the last decade or so. (not) Surprisingly, the elevator can’t be accessed from the outside or escaped from by its passengers. Also (not) surprisingly, the security camera feeds are having some issues and even, at one point, shows all passengers DEAD on the floor for a split second, much to the shock and awe of the security guards watching the monitor. Yawn.

The premise, I’ll admit, was mildly interesting. It almost seemed like, despite all the stereotypical elements in the trailer, it could be a decent psychological thriller. One that would hit home with claustrophobics, acrophobics, and agoraphobics alike. Probably not something I would see in the theater, but maybe something I’d watch once it hit the pay channels.

We were already laughing and playing with what the title would be. Sawlevator, Hellevator, etc… Then came the real fun.

As the “floating words” section of the trailer started, the screen announced that this movie was “From the Mind of M. Night Shyamalan”.

We went to see a comedy that night and I think this single statement got a bigger laugh out of the crowd of assembled nerds than a few of the jokes in the actual movie.

M. Night, whether he wants to realize it or not, isn’t even a joke. He’s just a punchline.
I remember seeing The Sixth Sense in theaters. I remember leaning over to my girlfriend (now wife) and telling her the twist about twenty minutes before the big reveal. I was sort of impressed by that movie, when I was young and impressing me was easy.
Let’s take a look at the rest of his storied career, just to see if I’m off base about laughing when I see his name attached to a film.

Unbreakable? Cool for the comic book aspect, not for the fact that Sam Jackson got shanghaied into playing a guy who thinks brittle bone disease is a super power and causes a train wreck to find out if Bruce Willis is invulnerable or not. Garbage.


The Village? Yeah, are we in love with Bryce Dallas Howard? I think we are. I don’t think that this movie had any other purpose besides bringing her in to the mainstream. I hope Ron Howard knows that a third-tier talent like M. Night was banging his daughter ruthlessly during the filming.

Lady in the Water? Still banging Ms. Howard, M. Night? Or were you just honoring some pre-coital promise in exchange for being able to violate an up-and-coming actress? Either way, you gave her a crappy movie with an extremely messy and convoluted plot. It’s such a shame. I love Paul Giamatti. That’s the second actor for whom I have massive respect (first being Sam Jackson) who you tricked into being a part of your crapfest.

The Happening? Seriously, the trees did it? The fucking TREES did it? Dude. No, seriously… Dude. Come on. Some of the visuals were very creepy (like the dude lying down in front of the lawn mower), but come on. The fucking TREES, man? Come on.

The Last Airbender? Yeah, let’s not even go there.

Now, Devil. Hooo boy. I think I would have watched the flick if he amped up the cheese and called it “Hellevator”.

The best thing M. Night has done since the Sixth Sense has been to get parodied on Robot Chicken. What a twist!

After this, the news that Devil is the first of some vague trilogy called “The Night Chronicles”. Two more shit movies are on deck. When is Hollywood going to learn never to trust this guy ever ever again?
I’m sure his quote is high enough that he laughs at all his shitty reviews all the way to the bank, so it doesn’t really matter what I say or what I do, he’s still going to get phat paid to crank out movies whose texture, smell, and some would say taste resemble only the dankest, nastiest, bottoms of the shit pile.
He’ll be mailing in movies well into his twilight years. Proof positive that all you really need is one big blockbuster then you can do whatever you please.

M. Night, you deserve every laugh you get.

Keep fighting the good fight.

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Bidula’s Last Word – Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

About a year ago, while thumbing through Wizard magazine, I read an article about the movie rights of indie comics being purchased for production now that the Age of Nerdity is reaching its peak.
Every tiny little property is being gobbled up by studios big and small in hopes that they’ll draw a crowd and possibly cause the next box office explosion.
One of the properties mentioned was Scott Pilgrim. I hadn’t read the book but, after reading the article and finding out that Edgar Wright was attached to direct and was telling everyone how great this series was, I had to run out and take care of it.
Quickly, somewhere within the first half of the first volume, I completely fell in love with this comic. I became a Scottaholic. I devoured volumes one through five in one sitting and was angry that the sixth would have to wait until closer to movie time. I found myself going back and re-reading, looking for all the hidden little references I could find.

My qualifications aside, I should probably tell you a little about Scott Pilgrim and why I fell completely head over heels for this book and was waiting with baited breath for the movie.

Scott Pilgrim’s universe drifts somewhere between comics, video games, and reality. Most sounds are shown with an onomatopoeia, character introductions include a small box of subtext, and there are scores, bars, and other visual effects visible to the audience as well as the characters in the movie. In a way, it allows the movie to slightly bend if not put pinholes in the fourth-wall, which is always a good time.

Scott (Michael Cera), as you may have gathered from the trailers, falls hard for Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and must defeat her Seven Evil Exes if he wants to continue dating her. This, of course, leads to numerous fight sequences, most of them prefaced by a fight-starting “vs.” screen and including small video game pop-ups indicating points scored, combos, etc. Very appropriate and very much like the graphic novels.
The story also winds around Scott’s band, Sex Bob-omb, as they attempt to get gigs and get signed to a record label. The band itself is played off-screen by Beck, but with vocals by the actual actors. This, along with the few other bands having their own off-screen counterparts (Crash N’ the Boys are done by Broken Social Scene and The Clash at Demonhead are performed by Metric) makes for a pretty kick ass soundtrack.
Adding to the soundtrack mix and enhancing the gamer element, there are numerous sound effects and music bites which were allowed in the movie by Nintendo and other game companies, mainly from Zelda: A Link to the Past. If you’re attentive and a nerd, you’ll laugh your ass off.
There are also some kick-ass 8-bit techno tracks by Dan the Automator.

Usually, when you’re staring down the barrel of a movie like Scott Pilgrim, you tend to have doubts. Especially when you realize that there are six volumes worth of graphic novel and just under two hours of screen time. How many times in the recent comic book onslaught have we seen things that are left to be assumed or left unexplained or come across jumbled because whatever writer/director combo was working on the damn thing wanted to squeeze fifty issues worth of backstory in to a two-hour nugget?

Edgar Wright does his job well here.
The movie is extremely fast paced, scenes often changing quickly and through conversations. There is little to no dead-time in this movie. The dramatic pauses are short if at all. There isn’t much of a break in the action or the dialogue. The strange thing is, the movie is sort of rushed without making itself feel rushed. You still get the whole story and the whole idea. Edgar has created the ultimate fat-trimmed comic movie and he’s done so with the whole-hearted approval of the series creator, which is impressive.
He’s also done this while still keeping the movie relevant and incredibly entertaining instead of just having it as sort of a live-action Cliff’s Notes version of the graphic novel. My hat’s off to him yet again. You just can’t go wrong with Edgar at the helm.

It’s tough to really focus on what made this movie awesome. Jason Scwartzmann as the leader of the League of Evil Exes, Gideon, is a perfect asshole. Chris Evans as action star Lucas Lee proves that he still has the comic chops which made his Human Torch the most interesting thing in the Fantastic Four movies aside from Jessica Alba’s… well…
Other supporting cast includes Kieran Culkin (yep, Maculay’s brother) as Scott’s gay roommate Wallace Wells, Anna Kendrick as Scott’s sister Stacy, and Brandon Routh as Todd, the super-powered Vegan Evil Ex.

Unlike most comic movies, I don’t think you need to read the books before you go. Though, I think you totally should. The books are even funnier and more entertaining than the movie (and also sport a different sort of ending). The movie keeps up and is a wonderful way to bring Scott Pilgrim to the masses who don’t really want to pick up a manga-sized graphic novel and actually read words. You should read the books first, though. There are in-jokes and stuff, but not too many to distract from the rest of the movie.
You’ll have more of an appreciation for the movie if you read the books first, but not so much if you see the movie before you read the books. I dunno, just a thought, but I think it would be true.

This movie is worth whatever you have to pay to see it and is definitely one of my favorites of this year so far. Highly recommend. Must see. Two thumbs. All that.
Some reviewers panned it, but that just proves how old, crusty, and jaded the “professional” review community really is (citing that the movie moves too fast or has too many “young people” jokes).
The REAL reviewer says that this is an awesome flick. Have I led you wrong yet, faithful reader? Do you not take my word for everything due to my candid, honest nature?

Hang on… Don’t answer that right away.

Bidula’s Last Word: 9.75/10 (loses .25 because I thought it was a little too short, maybe)

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