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Sweet, extra life! Michael Cera stars in "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," which opens wide in theaters on Aug. 13. (Courtesy Universal Studios)


Movie review: 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World'

Adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's series stays faithful, makes for engaging, offbeat love story

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"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"


(USA, 2010)
Rated PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references.
Dir. Edgar Wright
Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabet Winstead, Ellen Wong
Time: 112 min.
Language: English
"Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" opens wide on Aug. 13


• Fun, over-the-top fight scenes

• Hodgepodge of nerdy cultural references

• Faithful to original graphic novels


• Takes a little bit of getting use to when first watching


Asian and Asian-American tidbits

• Ellen Wong plays Scott's 17-year-old girlfriend Knives Chau

• Bryan Lee O'Malley, who created the "Scott Pilgrim" series, is of Korean descent

It's the classic boy-meets-girl tale.


Well, the one where boy needs to defeat girl's seven evil exes in a series of video game-esque battles in order to be with her.


In "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" – an adaptation of Korean-Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley's six-volume series of graphic novels – director Edgar Wright presents a fun, visually appealing story that stays faithful to the original work. Its comic-esque graphics, indie-rock soundtrack and lovable cast make for an engaging, offbeat love story.


The film revolves around its title character Scott (played by Michael Cera), a 23-year-old slacker who's dating a 17-year-old high schooler named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) and plays in Sex Bob-omb, a band named after the the Super Mario enemy. At a party, he becomes smitten by Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a new girl who just moved to Toronto. But, as he quickly learns, he has to defeat her seven evil exes in order to date her.


Wright stays incredibly faithful to O'Malley's work by creating a world that looks like it jumped straight out of the graphic novels, from the onomatopoeic words that pop up to over-the-top action sequences. While many filmmakers are trying to make realistic comic-book movies, Wright takes a life-imitating-art tone – something he's proven to do well from his days directing "Spaced."


While there are certain plot changes from the original story – things had to be cut from 1,500 pages – Wright is able to keep the essence of the book in tact. What took place over the course of a year in the series was condensed down to about a month. Admittedly the development of the other back stories felt a little lacking, but then again, it is called "Scott Pilgrim" and not "Scott Pilgrim and his friends."


The cast of the movie carried the film. It's no secret that Cera has been typecast into the awkward, yet lovable late teens, early 20's role, but it's hard to see anyone else step into the shoes of Scott Pilgrim. His naivete and innocence helped connect the audience into this fantastic surreal world. Kieran Culkin, who plays Scott's gay roommate Wallace, added good humor being the voice of reason for Pilgrim.


Much of the fun of the film doesn't revolve around the relationship between Scott and Ramona. Rather it's the journey Scott takes in order to be with her that makes the movie far more engaging. True the graphics and fight scenes – attention video game directors: please take note – are a mix between silly and stunning, but it's Scott's determination to keep going forward in the face of adversity that makes it truly captivating.


Three and a half out of four stars.

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