Monday, November 8, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Blu-ray Review

[Is it necessary for me to post this here? Probably not, but since I wrote it up for GeekTyrant and it's a bit longer than just another news post, I'll republish it here for my own records. Check out my original review here.]

On November 1st, Guillermo del Toro interviewed Edgar Wright at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood after a screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I think del Toro said it best when he said, "If you haven't seen [Scott Pilgrim vs. The World], you're a motherf*cker." Strong words, but the passion behind them is as genuine as the movie itself. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is one of my favorite films of the year and one of those special movies that comes along every few years and perfectly captures the essence of a generation.

As difficult as it may be, I'm going to try to refrain from showering more praise on this film than I already have (check out our coverage of Comic-Con 2010 for examples - my reviewpanel coverage, etc.) and instead tell you about the Blu-ray, which is one of the best I've seen in a while.

The film follows 22-year-old Scott Pilgrim, a jobless bass player in a crappy rock band who literally meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers. When Scott discovers he has to battle Ramona's seven evil exes in order to keep dating her, he learns an important lesson about what he's willing to sacrifice for love. Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) co-wrote and directs, and crafts Scott Pilgrim vs. The World into one of the most visually inventive and cinematically impressive things I've seen in the past decade.

The amount of bonus features included on this disc is astounding. Before we even get to the main menu screen, Universal's PocketBlu feature allows viewers the option of streaming a bonus movie (my choices were Pitch Black or Tremors) absolutely free, allowing access via any internet connected Blu-ray Player, PS3, smartphone, or iPad. Pretty freaking cool, and although the free movie selection could be a little better, I'm not complaining because this will actually give me a chance to see Pitch Black for the first time.

There are four (!) full-length commentaries available: one with Edgar Wright, co-writer Michael Bacall, and creator Bryan Lee O'Malley; a technical commentary with Wright and director of photography Bill Pope (The Matrix, Army of Darkness, Spider-Man 2); a cast commentary with Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, and Brandon Routh; and a second cast commentary with Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Kieran Culkin, and Mark Webber.

My favorite feature was the 49-minute "Making of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" documentary, which inserted some of Wright's video blogs from his days of filming and intercut them with new interviews with the cast and crew as they talked about creating the film. It's really extensive and covers almost all aspects of the production, from the inception of the idea to the cast training, musical rehearsals, and the actual execution of it all. As if the final film itself wasn't enough to make you respect the hell out of what these people were able to accomplish, this documentary highlights the insane effort they put in to making this film as great as it is.

There are many more separate documentary features, including interviews with bands Metric and Broken Social Scene (who provided some of the music in the movie) and even one that teaches you how to play one of Sex Bob-omb's songs on the guitar. There are also some really cool animatics and motion capture footage of the actors in front of blue screens detailing the pre-production process and their test footage before filming began.

Fear not: there are many other bonus items as well, including trailers, photo galleries, blooper reels, VFX footage, and alternate edits of certain sequences of the film. All of that is well and good, but the the movie itself is so good that it's hard to go straight to all of those smaller aspects without revisiting the film again.

Basically, if you're a fan of this movie, this is a must-have. It's the best video game movie I've ever seen, and it's not even based on a video game. It's "comic-booky" in all the right ways, and Wright's incredible visual style heightens the reality of the story (you can really feel Bill Pope's Matrix influence in the fantastic fight scenes), but it also has legitimately interesting characters that we really care about. It diverges from O'Malley's source material in all the right places while still retaining the essence of the story - no small feat for any adaptation.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World hits shelves tomorrow, November 9th, 2010. I can't recommend it highly enough. Until next time...

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