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Film Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Sunday, September 12, 2010
It might seem strange that I would want to review Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. This hipster homage to 8-bit gaming might not seem the obvious subject matter for a Godzdogz post However I think that in some respects the film has an interesting message that contains some Christian symbolism (though not necessarily intended).

The film is based on Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim graphic-novel series. Edgar Wright brings the source material's excellent subversion of the manga-style to the screen perfectly. The film feels like a comic-book and the computer game scenes are not only recognisable but fun, especially for anyone who grew up in the 80s/90s. The soundtrack really earns its spurs and the tracks composed for the fictional bands are worthy of download themselves. The depiction of the fictional Toronto music scene could easily be Camden with funny accents. Technically the film is wonderful, capturing perfectly the feel of the comics and the sub-culture that it portrays. Likewise the whole cast bring the characters from the books to life. Michael Cera, for once, is not playing George-Michael from Arrested Development.

The plot revolves around Scott Pilgrim, a twenty-three year old stuck in the vacuum between university and the real world. He falls in love with a mysterious American girl, Ramona Flowers, and very quickly discovers that to win her heart he has to fight her seven evil ex's. Throughout the film we see Scott battle his way through these seven figures of Ramona's past. What struck me is that in many ways Scott's journey really lives up to his name: it is a pilgrimage and the final destination has undertones of baptism.

When Scott reaches the final ex he gets killed. He wakes up in an arid desert all alone. He has a vision of Ramona and he realises that he needs to face up to the mistakes that he has made in the past and accept that he has not always been the innocent party. Furthermore he has to let go of these mistakes and not let them hold him back. Luckily he has a 1-up and is able to go back and finish his pilgrimage and defeat the final evil ex-boyfriend. When we are baptised we enter into the death of Christ. Through this death we enter into a new life, a new life that has been cleansed of all our past failings as well as the great failing of humanity, original sin.

Despite my geek-boy enthusiasm, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is a nice little knock-about film, even for people not familiar with the source material. It might not have an obvious Christian message and certainly depicts a "post-Christian society" but I think that the message as I interpreted it is an articulation of the non-churched generation's need for meaning, purpose and truth in a world that rarely offers anything so secure.

Mark Davoren



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