Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is now streaming on Netflix.
Edgar Wright is probably best known for his Cornetto trilogy of films starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. However, in 2010 the filmmaker brought us Scott Pilgrim vs the World, a box-office bomb that has since evolved into a highly regarded cult-classic. While fans have longed for a return to that video game infused world, the odds were seemingly stacked against it. Thirteen year old fantasy films that lose money aren’t typically a first-choice when it comes to green-lighting a sequel. Now, thanks to Netflix, Scott Pilgrim gets an extra-life with the animated series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off Plot
Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 20-something slacker with an indie-band. When he meets the mysterious Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), it seems his life may be taking a turn for the best. That is, of course, until The League of Evil Exes, a group of Ramona’s ex-significant others, set out to destroy him.
Michael Cera’s return was all it took to get me excited about the anime adaptation of the beloved comic series. I have nothing against the Japanese animation style, but I’m admittedly somewhat of a stranger to anime, or an acquaintance at best. However, it’s a visual style that lends itself to the material and story-structure perfectly. The blending of comic book and video game aesthetic brings the story to life in a way that feels fresh and exciting.
Despite the return of Edgar Wright as an executive producer, and a returning voice-cast that includes Chris Evans and Brie Larson respectively, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off sets itself apart from its live-action counterpart by telling an alternate version of the story that fans know and love. Rather than utilizing each episode to depict a battle against a different evil-ex (which is what I anticipated), the story shifts its focus to Ramona and imagines a world where the events of the film played out is a significantly different manner.
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is surprisingly effective, not only in its wildly imaginative depictions, but in successfully conveying truly heartfelt and emotional aspects of a story that often feels reminiscent of a Looney Tunes cartoon. The early moments between Scott and Ramona are especially memorable, resurrecting that fluttering feeling that accompanies young love. Balancing sincere, personal emotion with over-the-top absurdism isn’t easy; however, taking the story into an animated world allows certain freedoms that work in the story’s favor, even if the live-action original felt inherently cartoonish itself.
While I wasn’t expecting — or even asking for — a new chapter in the world of Scott Pilgrim, the Netflix series fills a void I didn’t know was there. Creative writing, on-point voice acting and gorgeous animation collide, bringing an explosively entertaining reimagining to life. Oh, and there’s some fantastic use of Johnny Cash, which never hurts.