The first and most important thing you must understand about Scott Pilgrim is that it is a love letter to fans of video games. In fact, you could make an argument that it belongs among the best video game movies made, even though it did not come from a video game. Granted, the competition is fairly slim. Oddly, I have found in my travels that not everyone is a long-time fan of video games! I know, I was shocked too, but it is true. To those people, this movie will be the equivalent of someone that is tone deaf watching Moulin Rouge. The majority of the movie will simply fall flat and come off as bewildering, rather than the cleaver homage to 8-bit NES-style games that it is. If you don’t know what an 8-bit game is, then this movie is not for you.
Based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six-part graphic novel, the story is straightforward enough. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl date. Boy is attacked by a string of super powered-exes who want to kill him, and he must fight for his love as well as his own survival. Pretty standard fare. If you have seen the trailers, you probably have a fairly good idea of what the plot holds.
My mom- who does not even own a computer- will not appreciate this movie. If your favorite movie is an obscure Argentina silent film about the loss of love, or whatever, walk away. If you have never seen a video games before, then Scott Pilgrim CLEARLY isn’t for you.
If you leave this film wondering how Scott could have learned his fighting moves, then you missed the entire point of the film. The movie itself is a game, from beginning to end. It follows a certain game-like pattern in plot, it obeys the rules of gaming, and the climax of the movie is based around video games in so many ways, that even casual gamers will recognize it. The movie even manages to bring a logical explanation for having fight music.
You don’t have to currently be an avid gamer, but you either have to have a fond nostalgic remembrance of the early days of video games, or at least be willing to accept it in order to enjoy this movie. That will endear Scott Pilgrim vs. the World to some, while alienating others.