Edgar Wright went from British filmmaker to Pied Piper in about the span of an hour tonight at the Comic-Con panel for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, his big-screen adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s popular indie graphic novel series in theaters Aug. 13. The director of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead moderated his own panel, following Sylvester Stallone and the testosterone-heavy Expendables presentation — “I’ve got 13 guests coming, and they don’t equal one Lundgren,” Wright quipped, referring to still-burly Expendables star Dolph Lundgren. Of course, those guests were pretty much his entire cast, from recent Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick to Michael Cera (who was decked out in a horrid Captain America costume, a jab at absent co-star Chris Evans) t0 one-time Superman Brandon Routh, who described his evil character Todd Ingram as “the opposite of Superman.” Wright finished up his panel by awarding those who got a “1-UP” button, out of the thousands given out at the beginning of the presentation, a chance to see the Scott Pilgrim movie at the nearby Balboa Theater in San Diego. Jumping the security gate in Hall H, he took a horde of fans on a 15-minute walk to the theater for a special screening. He wasn’t done, though. After the movie was over, Wright had the curtain lifted to reveal the buzz band Metric, which has a couple tracks on the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack and launched into a set of songs for head-bobbing fans. So how was the movie? Read below for my thoughts.
Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures
What will be interesting is to see how Scott Pilgrim plays in the mainstream. For readers of the graphic novel, people who love video games and that culture, and those who love a good ol’-fashioned romance, they’re going to love every minute of it just like I did. (I’m a comic book nerd — this shouldn’t surprise anybody.)
For those not familiar with the series, Scott Pilgrim (Cera) is a young twentysomething slacker dating a Chinese high school student named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). His group of friends and his bandmates in Sex Bob-Omb don’t approve, and when the no-nonsense Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) takes his world by storm, they know he probably won’t handle it very well.
His infatuation grows, as do his problems when he learns he has to defeat her seven evil exes before a finale showdown with the guy who she’s not quite over yet. Scott has to come to terms with his feelings for her as well as himself, yet not in an overly dramatic, Lifetime-movie-of-the-week way. No, that all comes in the form of over-the-top, video-game fights that are like scenes from a high-tech kung fu flick. Think Sonny Chiba if he starred in TRON, with the “POWS” and “BAMS” of the old 1960s Batman series thrown in for good measure.
That’s the part that Middle America might be bewildered by, especially if they’re not used to their action heroes grabbing power-ups out of the air or breaking out their fists of fury a la an episode of Dragonball. Yet it’s funny, sweet and honest with characters’ serious relationship feelings, and it will definitely rock your face and socks off if you give Pilgrim a chance.