Last year, downy fake snow swept Queen Street, gaggles of boho-chic extras crowded around Lee’s Palace, and the blogosphere was all a-twitter about the production of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Sure, countless film shoots see Toronto’s streets cordoned off for elaborate lighting rigs and craft services tables, but how often do we see a production unabashedly set in Toronto, based on a series of comic books unabashedly set in Toronto, written and inked by a Toronto cartoonist, and starring a certified movie star hailing from Toronto (well, Brampton)? Rarely! And now you can bear witness to the fruits of director Edgar Wright’s Toronto-set everyman epic. That’s right all you Cera-heads: the Scott Pilgrim trailer is now online!
Even though some of us may be suffering from acute Cera fatigue (watching him hem, haw, and fumble around with self-conscious awkwardness got tired as soon as he did it in a loin cloth circa Year One), the Scott Pilgrim trailer looks plenty promising. Bryan Lee O’Malley’s source comics are beloved by the general hipsterati populous, but laying scenes at Honest Ed’s, Sonic Boom, and Sneaky Dee’s (as well as other spots laying beyond the Bloor-Bathurst corridor) have especially endeared them to the harsh tribunal of twentysomething Torontonians. Unfazed by this burden of expectation, Wright (the pop genius behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) marries O’Malley’s idiosyncratic style with his own hyper-kinetic auteured tendencies: split-screens, whip pans, smash cuts, and all.
For the uninitiated, O’Malleys six digest-sized comics follow the eponymous twenty-three-year-old slacker as he looks for love, work, and a decent band to jam with. It’s a pretty standard conceit for any post-teen drama. But Scott Pilgrim skips the humourless Reality Bites schtick in favour of indulging some super-powered magic realism. See, in order to win the hand of violet-haired dream girl Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who will be back in Toronto soon to film the remake/prequel of The Thing), Scott must first defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends in combat. This central conflict (well, septet of conflicts) forms the bulk of this short trailer, which has Scott (Cera) exchanging blows and clashing lightsabers with Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, and Jason Schwartzman, complete with all the BIFFs! BANGs! and KRRROWs! you’d find in a comic (or that old Adam West Batman series). Not surprisingly, Wright seems to have maintained O’Malley’s geekier flourishes, like “KO” sound effects lifted from Street Fighter arcade games, proving himself the best (and maybe only) director capable of realizing the pop culture–soaked pages of the original comics.
Fake snow from the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World set draping a Queen West sidewalk last July. Photo by Miles Story/Torontoist.
As far as all the local landmarks, the trailer gives Toronto a bit of a short shrift. There’s a few interior shots of a kind-of recognizable Lee’s Palace, a quick exterior bit showcasing Scott getting his ass kicked outside of Casa Loma, and of course the telltale red-and-white TTC buses. Otherwise the trailer is pretty heavy on showcasing the faithfully recreated battle scenes from the book. Still, it looks great, even if it does lean a bit heavily on the SFX.
Anyone super antsy to see Cera mow down on a plate of Sneak’s nachos will just have to hold their breath until the film hits theatres in August. Until then, zip over to Apple to see the high-definition trailer.