Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Townie Bastard

My first reaction after leaving the theatre after watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was "How the fuck did that get made?"

This isn't griping that it's a bad movie and how did it get that money like, oh, I don't know, Waterworld. It's that this is such a deeply weird movie that I have no idea how the pitch went at Universal Studios to get the reported $80 million this movie cost. Yes, I know Universal loves to throw money at movies, but still.

I assume the pitch went something like this:

"Hey, we have this hot comic book property. The hero has to fight his girlfriend's seven evil exes. But there's going to be lots of big action sequences and over the top action. Plus some quirky humour." - Producer.

"Ex-boyfriends, eh?" - Studio guy

"Well, exes. One of them is a girl. The heroine had an experimental phase." - Producer

"Do they kiss, make out or have a big cat fight? Guys love that sort of thing." - Studio guy

"They....could. I guess." - Producer

"Sold. Here's $80 million" - Studio guy

Somewhere in the pitch they forgot to mention the following:
- Beloved "indy" comic, not mainstream like Superman, Batman, etc.
- The comic is in black and white.
- It's set in Toronto
- None of the characters in the books are particularly likable. They're either pretty stupid, selfish or both.
- Oh yes, and they cast Michael Cera, the geek from SuperBad, as the lead action hero.

This movie is batshit insane, right from the concept to what you see on the screen. It's not a bad movie at all, by the way. Yes, I've never seen a movie that can make me cringe to laugh in the space of seconds, but it is a hell of a lot of fun if you simply leave your brain at the box office and do not, for one second, let the thought "but that doesn't make any sense" enter your mind. At no point does this movie really make any kind of sense.

But it's funny. It looks fantastic. There are great action sequences, the special effects are top notch. It's clever and, in a rarity for a comic book movie, actually displays clearly its pedigree on the screen. And there is a bit of heart in there as well.

But, and there are no other words for it, it is deeply fucked up. I'm not at all surprised it bombed at the box office. I heard people muttering when they walked out wondering what the hell that movie was about. If you haven't read the books before going into the theatre this is going to be a very odd experience. This is an $80 million cult indy film, which is not usually a series of words that work well together in a sentence.

I think it'll be big on video, assuming it's target audience still buys such things. I'll buy it when it comes out, just to have something to watch when I'm in the mood to see something deeply weird.

Last Five
1. A criminal mind - Gowan*
2. Book of love - Peter Gabriel
3. Seven wonders - Fleetwood Mac
4. Sure as shit - Kathleen Edwards
5. I am not safer than a bank - Matthew Good

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