Review: 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World'

The cast of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" represents the best young talent coming up in Hollywood today.

So far, they haven't earned any monikers like the Brat Pack (Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez) or the Frat Pack (the Wilson brothers, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell).

But the "Pilgrim" cast includes such standouts as star Michael Cera ("Juno" and "Superbad); Alison Pill (the young cancer patient who blew everyone away on HBO's "In Treatment"); Mary Elizabeth Winstead (the punk siren of "Live Free or Die Hard" and "Death Proof"); Kieran Culkin ("Igby Goes Down"); Anna Kendrick (supporting actress Oscar nominee for "Up in the Air"); and Jason Schwartzman ("Rushmore" and "Bored to Death"). They all team up with director Edgar Wright to create one of the most kinetically charged movies of the year.

"Pilgrim," of course, is based on the series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley, featuring a young man who's a superhero in his own mind but is actually unemployed and a member of a struggling band, the Sex Bob-omb.

During a dream, he sees an enchantress, Ramona Flowers (Winstead). And when she shows up in Scott's real world a little bit later, he's smitten.

But there's one big problem: In order to go steady with Ramona, Scott must do battle with Ramona's seven evil exes, all of whom are out for blood. He must also explain his waning affection for his current girlfriend, Knives Chau (newcomer Ellen Wong).

With this setup, it's no surprise that "Pilgrim" quickly becomes a series of stylized fight scenes, with superimposed, cartoonish balloons proclaiming "Whack!" and "Plop!" Yet director Wright has re-energized the genre, as he did for zombie flicks when making the ironic, amusing "Shaun of the Dead." He deftly adapts the material to the big screen by plucking the best of anime, manga and music.

Some people might attack "Pilgrim" as being a nonstop action flick for those with attention deficit disorder. Others might question its stylized violence that rarely results in death.

Such criticisms tend to pay little mind to the notion that "Pilgrim" is a game, a trip into a young man's imagination and his quest for love in the usually mild-mannered setting of Toronto.

Like the immensely popular but much more serious "Inception," "Pilgrim" functions on numerous levels — as comedy, as action, as romance, as music video. (The soundtrack alone is sure to be a hit, with many of the songs written by Beck and featuring performances by Broken Social Scene, Dan the Automator and Black Lips.)

But "Pilgrim" is more likely to be remembered for something rather simple. It's fun.

'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World'

Our grade: B

Genres: Comedy, Action

Running Time: 112 min

MPAA rating: PG-13

Release Date: Aug 13, 2010