As you may or may not have read, I love the Scott Pilgrim series– I think they’re lovable, smart, and funny works. I don’t love the movie on the same level, but I nevertheless think it’s a breathtakingly original work of pop art, and a perfect summer movie to boot. So the last thing I want to think about are the ways in which Scott Pilgrim may be a tad problematic in its portrayal of people-who-aren’t-straight-white-men, but what kind of obnoxious humorless feminist would I be if I just let that go? Here we go with another battle: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Three Evil -Isms.
As a pop culture junkie and a feminist, I spend a lot of time bemoaning the state of female characters in mainstream cinema. And at the top of my list of pet peeves is that most supremely irritating and unfortunately ubiquitous of archetypes: the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
But! It doesn’t always have to be that way. It is possible to create a cool, sexy, offbeat gal without turning her into a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Bryan Lee O’Malley did it in Scott Pilgrim, for one:
When Scott meets Ramona, she’s just as mysterious and adorable as you could expect, and true to form, her purpose is indeed to force him to grow up. But she’s also packing some serious baggage, and not the empty MPDG type. The apparently shallow conceit of having Scott fight each one of her evil exes reveals itself as a way of explaining Ramona as a person — as someone who’s wronged and been wronged, as someone who gets angry and sad and yes, even bored.
Check out the rest of that paragraph, plus several more about other quirky women done right at Geeks of Doom. You know you want to…
Like just about everyone else on the planet these days, I love Arcade Fire. I was lucky enough to attend their Madison Square Garden concert for The Suburbs earlier this month, and I swayed and sang along and rocked out and savored every minute of it. But my favorite Arcade Fire song– really, one of my favorite songs, period– is and probably always will be Neon Bible’s “(Antichrist Television Blues).” It encapsulates everything I love about Arcade Fire– the sweeping sound, the catchy melody, and the well-crafted lyrics. In just over five minutes, we get the full arc of a man as he moves from faith and hope to a state of dangerously unmoored desperation.
The first thing I need to tell you about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is this: The book is better. Yes, everyone says this every time a movie based on a book is released. Yes, it’s an entirely different medium. But seriously, the book is better. The film cuts out too much of the book’s depth and breadth to compare. Whereas the series is about not just Scott but Ramona, their friends, the rest of their universe, and growing up, the film is really just about Scott.
So that’s the bad news. The good news is that Edgar Wright’s film version has a vibrant energy of its own that makes it a spectacularly good time at the theater. In other words: Holy shit, it’s fun. Wright’s shown a knack for combining wacky and sweet with pop culture inside jokes as far back as Spaced, and he takes it to the extreme here. The result is exhilarating, a film that looks and feels like nothing else you’ve ever seen before.
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