The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer’s Take
Aside the few big releases, like ‘Toy Story 3‘ and ‘Inception,’ this summer movie season passed by in relative obscurity. There just wasn’t all that much great stuff to see, which was a disappointment. Even with the summer box office’s slim pickings it’s a travesty that more people didn’t see ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.’ Week after week ‘Scott Pilgrim’ slid down the box office charts. It was disheartening to witness, because ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ was hands down one of the best releases to come out!
Edgar Wright, writer and director of two of the most clever spoof films of all time (‘Shaun of the Dead‘ and ‘Hot Fuzz‘) set about making a motion picture based on the “Scott Pilgrim” comic books. Wright has a gift for satire, and ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is full of some of the most clever, hilarious references you’ll see. If you grew up playing Nintendo you’ll love this movie.
This movie is so self-referential, so deeply embedded in its world that it never lets up. Wright goes full steam ahead, charging forward into an insane world where real-life is turned into a comic-book-style video game (complete with music from Zelda, and pixilated graphics). It actually reminds me of the neo-noir film ‘Brick.’ That movie, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, decided that as weird as it sounded they were going to make a noir film about high school. Complete with kids talking in some sort of cryptic jive. ‘Scott Pilgrim,’ like ‘Brick’ is one of those movies that knows exactly what it is and stays true to itself the entire time.
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a member of a band called the Sex Bob Ombs. This is how obscure these references get. Someone not familiar with the Mario Brothers franchise will miss such a subtle clue. Remember Bob-ombs? Those furious little bomb guys in Mario that tried to blow you to smithereens?
Scott has fallen head over heels for a new girl who’s literally just skated into his life. Her name is Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and she’s all Scott can think about. So much so that he can’t do anything else with his life until he finds a way to date her. After meeting, and going out with Ramona, Scott soon finds out that he’s going to have to do battle with each of Ramona’s seven evil exes. Why? Just because. That’s why.
Wright directs the film like a man who loves the source material. He uses just about every trick in the book, and even some new ones he’s dreamed up. After Scott defeats an ex they explode into a shower of coins. The funny thing is that everyone in the movie seems only half surprised all this is happening. Scott is suddenly a martial arts master, and an ex he’s battling has summoned hot daemon chicks who throw fireballs from their hands, and all anyone can do is stand there with their mouths open. You never know if people are surprised this is happening or if the world where Scott Pilgrim resides is just so completely insane anything is possible. I’m guessing it’s the latter, and with Wright at the helm, the writing, direction, and acting make for one of the funniest and best movies of the year.
Just like ‘Brick’ Edgar Wright’s ‘Scott Pilgrim’ embraces its insanity, revels in its absurdity, and basks in its oddness. On sheer bravado alone ‘Scott Pilgrim’ scores. You have to check this movie out!
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
‘Scott Pilgrim’ comes in a combo pack with a DVD/Digital Copy disc. It’s called the “Level Up Collector’s Edition” but I’m pretty sure that just means you’re getting the extra DVD and a slipcover.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
‘Scott Pilgrim’ lands on Blu-ray sporting a 1080p AVC-encoded image that doesn’t seem to pop as well as it did during its theatrical run. I remember sitting in the theater staring in awe at the awesome color-drenched visuals, but here everything looks rather dim, washed out, and well… sad to say… sort of lifeless. Colors are muted and don’t seem nearly as bright and vibrant as they did when the movie was shown in theaters.
Fine detail looks good, but won’t ever blow you away. Facial details like freckles, pores, and facial hair are well defined, but again lack that HD oomph. Blacks are deep, but at times shadows tend to obscure faces with slight crushing rather than adding to the picture’s depth.
There are some things you should be aware of though. ‘Scott Pilgrim’ intentionally uses pixilated graphics to create that old-school gaming feel. During the last battle the swords being wielded are surrounded by a massive amount of intentional macro-blocking. No, the disc isn’t horribly encoded, and no your TV didn’t just up and give out on you. All the blocking you see during the film is intentional.
As for other digital anomalies like banding or aliasing, I didn’t notice them at all. Source noise is completely non-existent, providing a clear picture. Overall, this just doesn’t look like the movie I saw in theaters. The colors seem off, I don’t know how else to say it. In the theaters it looked brighter, the colors looked better and more in tune to the world that Scott inhabits. I would never imagine a world where Scott Pilgrim lives to have a restrained color palette, but on Blu-ray it has just that.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is a fun, vigorous mix that will keep you completely engrossed in the movie. While the film doesn’t look like it looked in the theaters, it definitely sounds like it did! There are so many things going on with this mix I would have hated to be the one to put it all together. From mono-sounding original Nintendo music, to full-bodied bass-rumbling techno beats this soundtrack contains just about everything. Just keep in mind that just as the blocking is intentional in the video portion, so too are the sometimes static-sounding guitar riffs and occasional bass.
Surprisingly, ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is a very talkative movie, and has numerous times where characters talk so fast or under their breath that they could be hard to hear if this mix wasn’t so downright awesome. The dialog is presented cleanly and clearly through the center channel, but there are plenty of times where out of frame characters chime in with their thoughts. When this happens directionality works wonders. The mix also features a seemingly endless variety of sound effects. The directionality for sound effects works just as well as it does for dialogue. The rear channels crash as the first evil ex blows through the roof. The front and side channels use panning effects perfectly as Scott runs into battle with a whoosh sound following him.
LFE is earth-shaking. The band battle against the twins will rumble your entire home. If you live in an apartment, make sure you’re cool with your neighbors, because this will most likely rock the pictures off their walls. The bass is deep, resonant, and never overpowers the rest of the mix. Instead it works together with it, to make it one of the more intense and lively Blu-ray mixes around. ‘Scott Pilgrim’ isn’t full of non-stop action, but when it gets to those parts this movie excels on every audio front. Seeing that this is coming from the guy who brought us the stellar sound design for ‘Hot Fuzz’ it should be no surprise here that ‘Scott Pilgrim’ also earns the highest, demo-worthy accolades.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
- Audio Commentaries – The audio commentaries are awkwardly located at the very bottom of the extras menu. Weird place to put them, but that’s where they are. In true Edgar Wright fashion ‘Scott Pilgrim’ comes with multiple commentaries just like ‘Hot Fuzz’ did. The four commentaries included each focus on something different. The Feature Commentary features Edgar Wright, along with co-writer Michael Bacall and “Scott Pilgrim” author Bryan Lee O’Malley. The Technical Commentary features Wright along with director of photography Bill Pope. Then there are two different Cast Commentaries. The first cast commentary features Michael Cera, Jason Schartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, and Brandon Routh. The second Cast Commentary features Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Kieran Culkin, and Mark Webber.For the Cast Commentaries they should either have had the entire cast on the same commentary or spaced out the main characters and placed some of them in the second commentary that is only populated by the secondary characters in the movie.
The Feature Commentary is a great one. Here’s one of the very few commentaries where you’ll have both the original author and the director that took the author’s book and made it into a movie together. This is a fantastic combination because you know that O’Malley completely embraces this vision of his work on screen. He also offers great insight into what he was thinking when he wrote his books and how he feels about the movie version. This is a must listen commentary.
The Technical Commentary is all about the filming. Wright and Pope discuss filming locations, cinematography and how they changed sets like the record store that Knives and Scott visit to make it look more minimalist. Wright is obsessed with clean, distinct perspective lines and he made his crew re-decorate the record store so that he could have his vision. Every one of the album covers on the wall had to be cleared to actually be there, even though those covers can hardly be seen and are out of focus most of the time. You really get into how meticulous a director Wright is when it comes to attention to detail in his films. Another must listen to commentary.
Cera takes over the track and kind of leads the way in the discussion in the first Cast Commentary. There are a lot of dead spots in this commentary even though there are so many people. Cera offers some insight into the filming and the reshoots that had to be done. Most of the other actors don’t seem to have the insight that Cera does. They just ask him questions about the filming and he answers them.
The second Cast Commentary is pretty bland and has a lot of dead spots in it. This is why they should have spread out the main characters and maybe put a few of them in this commentary. These actors don’t have much to talk about, and end up just kind of chatting for a few hours.
- Trivia Track – Text pops up during the movie to clue us in on all the movie’s many video and comic book references. It even lets us in on who created the awesome 8-bit Universal logo at the beginning of the movie. This is a really cool feature as it allows you to catch pretty much everything you may have missed the first or second time you watched the movie. It’s really easy to miss all the little hidden references.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 27 min.) – Each deleted scene is offered with optional commentary by Edgar Wright. There are a whopping 21 deleted scenes included here. You can play each individually or use the Play All feature. Most of them are pretty good and had to be cut just because of time. I loved the scene where it shows how Scott and Knives met on the bus. Funny stuff. Many of these scenes are actually in the movie, but here they’re just presented as slightly extended scenes that haven’t been edited down yet.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the Bloopers (SD, 10 min.) – Nothing new here. Just the same collection of goofs and line flubs that we’ve come to expect from these types of featurettes.
- You Too Can Be Sex Bob Omb (SD, 3 min.) – Mark Webber, who plays Stephen Stills, learns how to play guitar for his role.
- Bits and Pieces (SD, 7 min.) – Could have been included in the blooper reel since that’s essentially what is found here.
- Galleries (HD) – If you like still galleries as extras then you’ll love this one. You can check out all the different posters that were created to market the film, along with set photos from filming, and concept art.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
- BD-Live – Yes, BD-Live access is included here, and it features Universal’s new “Free movie” deal where you can stream one of two films with the code provided. The films that you’re allowed to stream here are ‘Pitch Black’ and ‘Tremors,’ since you know those are the two films you think most about while watching ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.’
- U-Control: Storyboard Picture-in-Picture(HD) – A PiP track that plays along with the movie that allows you to access storyboards in a pop-up window as the movie plays.
- Making of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (HD, 49 min.) – Edgar Wright talks about how he was approached by a few producers who wanted him to make the “Scott Pilgrim” books into a movie. This is a pretty extensive making-of feature that gives us insight into Wright’s vision compared to the source material.
- Pre-Production (SD, 97 min.) – This is an extensive sub menu that’s divided into six different sections: “Pre-Production Footage,” “Animatics,” “Rehearsal Videos,” “Props, Rigs and Sets Montage,” “Casting Tapes,” “Hair and Make-up Footage.” Use the Play All feature to play them consecutively. Loved the “Animatics” section where you can watch most of the movie with animatics interspersed with scenes from the movie.
- Adult Swim: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation (SD, 4 min.) – A cartoon of Scott Pilgrim trying to form his band.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the Censors: TV Safe Version (SD, 4 min.) – No idea why this is included. Just a bunch of scenes that are really awkwardly censored to be TV safe.
- VFX Before and After (SD, 14 min.) – Fraizer Churchill, VFX supervisor, talks about the visual effects in the film and shows us how they created a lot of the effects like when Ramona skates away and the snow melts. It also shows how a lot of the Manga-styled fight scenes were created. Churchill is pretty bland to listen to, and he doesn’t really go into how everything was created he just shows the different elements put together.
- Roxy Fight / Ribbon Version (SD, 1 min.) – See what this fight looked like before the effects were added in and how they had to film it with the post-production visual effects in mind.
- Phantom Montage: Hi Speed Footage (SD, 4 min.) – This is a fun little montage that shows us the slow motion footage of the actors doing their own stunts against blue screens.
- Soundworks Collection: Sound for the Film Profile (SD, 6 min.) – This featurette explores the movie’s demo-worthy audio mix.
- Blogs (SD, 46 min.) – Edgar Wright offers 12 video blogs that he recorded during filming. The blogs talk about production, how things on the set were going, and how he felt about the film.
- Trailers (SD, 19 min.) – This section contains numerous trailers for the movie, also TV spots and video game trailers. Not sure why they aren’t in HD.
- Alternative Edits (SD, 12 min.) – Shows a few scenes from the movie, but with alternate edits. These scenes could have been included with the deleted scenes, since many of those were alternate and extended cuts.
- Music of ‘Scott Pilgrim’ (SD, 16 min.) – This interesting little featurette explores the original music that was used in the film.
- Music Promos (SD, 19 min.) – There are a total of four music videos here: “Garbage Truck,” “Black Sheep,” “Threshold,” and “Summertime.” Also seven remixed songs by DJ Osymyso: “Prepare,” “Hey,” “Love,” “Ramona,” “Fight!,” “Yeah,” and “What?”
Alert reader Oldies2822 sent in a few tips and tricks on how to find the Easter eggs hidden away in the menus of ‘Scott Pilgrim.
Go to Extras. Go to deleted scenes. While the deleted scene commentary is highlighted push the right arrow. A ‘Scott Pilgrim’ 1up icon will appear. Click on it and get a code for the video game.
Go to Extras. Go to Pre-production. Go to Animatics. Scroll down until you highlight “Original Zoetrope Concept.” Click the right arrow. Another 1up icon will appear. Select that and get another game code.
Go to Extras. Go to Music Promos. Go to OSYMYSO Remixes. Highlight “Ramona” and push the right arrow. Another 1up icon will appear. Select the icon and get another game code.
Go to Extras. Go to Blogs. Highlight “Blog Six – Fight!” press the right arrow and another hidden 1up icon will appear. Select the icon for another game code.
Found an egg? Please use our tips form to let us know, and we’ll credit you with the find.
With ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ Edgar Wright crafts a film so boldly aware of itself that it can’t be ignored. Watching ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is a movie experience unlike any other. This film can be enjoyed by gamers, comic book lovers, and movie enthusiast alike. Wright concocts a brilliant script that bubbles with hilarious references and witty dialogue. This movie isn’t just about its high-octane action sequences; this is a really cleverly written film as well. In short, one of my favorite movies of the year.
For some reason the color palette looks dimmer here than it did in the theaters and that isn’t a good thing. I’m not sure what happened there, but when it comes to colorful visuals this Blu-ray presentation doesn’t accurately portray what I saw in the theaters. The audio on the other hand is a knockout. It’s brimming with life and will have your house rocking from the steady helping of booming bass riffs and thunderous action scenes. There are a ton of special features here and most of them are worthwhile. There’s four commentaries and the two with Wright you must listen to. The first Cast Commentary is worthy of a listen also. Most discs have one commentary and it’s usually not all that exciting. This one manages to have three commentaries that are worth your time. Slap on top of that a trivia track that gets you even more in-depth information about the movie, and a storyboard PiP feature that gives you an idea of how each scene evolved and this proves to be one of the best all around special feature packages released this year.
Even with the less than stunning video, this one still comes highly recommendedfor its amazing audio experience, its huge array of special features, but mostly because it’s a damn good movie that everyone should see.