Director Greg Wright (Hot Fuzz & Shaun of the Dead) and cartoonist Brian Lee O'Malley have had some kind of sordid affair in order to have spawned a collective inner child so bizarre, so strange, so disturbing...so brilliant. What I'm saying is that this movie takes weird to a level that becomes genius without rubbing it in your face.
Does that make sense?
I'm gonna get this out of the way. This review is absolutely appropriate for an SF site. I consider this story to be in the vein of fantasy. The entire world is set on the very esoteric rules grounded in a universe of retro gaming and pop culture references. Those rules are specific, and not easy to pull off in a believable way.
The MC, Scott Pilgrim, is a Canadian kid who's entire life seems to revolve around the philosophy--"eh, whatever." It's about gaming. It's about jamming in his indie band. It's about getting from point A to point B while being entertained enough he doesn't lose interest. It's about his extremely gay relationships with girls. And it's totally about not getting exploded into a bunch of coins--YOU'RE DEAD.
The movie amazed me. There was loads of texture in the way it was shot. I haven't had the opportunity to read the graphic novels yet, but it was obvious that some shots were taken straight from the pages. One scene comes to mind--a giant blank wall that takes up the entire screen with two characters standing awkwardly in the lower corner and a light switch way up above their heads and off to the side as a visual cue that this is a wall. That is awesomely retro sooo graphic novel. The movie is also loaded with hilarious pop culture references incredibly relevant to the now 20-something "eh, whatever" generation that I grew up in.
And they nailed the living room indie rock band culture...nailed it. I know. My brother is one of those people.
As my friends and I ambled out of the theater, I heard people saying the graphic novel was better. And I'm left wondering how some of the more subtle visual and audio references could even be translated into graphic novel form. Without having read it, which I plan to correct, I can still tell you this is one of my new favorite movies ever.
If you're into some pop-culture fun and can relate with a neurotic character whose fantasy world is possibly the result of some malfunction in his brain, you will love this movie.