I just saw Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in theaters this morning, so now I have to tell you why I think this was probably the best movie of the summer. Here’s what I think.Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a movie based upon the graphic novel series of the same name, which I have to admit right now to having not read yet. It’s a tale about a guy who likes a girl and has to overcome insurmountable obstacles to be with her, which is definitely not a new concept. The appeal of the movie is in the telling and the style, however, both of which are pulled off with astounding finesse.

For starters, the entire movie takes on the color of a video game, a comic book, or both. Throughout, there are intentionally pixelated graphics, text overlays and tooltips, onomatopoeia captions, and musical clips from games like The Legend of Zelda. There are even animated and illustrated flashbacks as though to remind you by grabbing you by the shoulders and gleefully shouting in your face, “THIS IS A MOVIE! IT IS NOT REAL! ISN’T IT AWESOME?” And it is all of those things, flawlessly and continuously.

The way Kill Bill forcefully broke the audience out of, “I’m watching a movie that’s supposed to feel real” with its wild colors, completely non-sequitor soundtrack, 4th frame crossing, and so on in order to purposefully delineate itself as entertainment, Scott Pilgrim does this with geek culture. Ramona Flowers, Scott’s love interest, is literally introduced through a dream sequence before he meets her in “real life.” The first real battle of the movie happens when a crazy hipster flies smashing through the ceiling of a live music venue to challenge Scott to a duel to the death, complete with “speed lines” to show how fast he’s moving, one of Scott’s friends yelling, “Fight!” to start the match, and the letters “VS.” appearing on screen before the combat begins in earnest. Everyone who’s defeated in the movie bursts into coins as a score pops up. As the audience, you are perpetually bombarded with stimuli that show you that this is indeed just a movie and you are here to be entertained, not dragged on some drama or made to introspect into your own life somehow.

I mean seriously; Ramona whips out a gigantic sledgehammer from her purse at some point. Seriously.

No, seriously.

If the aspect of an entertaining style was all there was to it, Scott Pilgrim would be boring, but it certainly is not. The casting is excellent, with Michael Cera actually being the perfect choice to play Scott Pilgrim, Mary Elizabeth Winstead doing a great job as Ramona Flowers, and every other member of the supporting cast fitting in like jigsaw pieces. From there, the dialogue is quick, snappy, and absolutely hilarious, with lines like, “He punched the highlights right out of her hair!” or, “‘Did you really see a future with her?’ ‘What, like jetpacks?'” I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing, sometimes hysterically, at how witty and crisp, and well-timed all of the dialogue was. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is easily the most quotable movie I’ve seen since Anchorman.

Beyond all of that, Scott Pilgrim is truly the first gaming movie to finally get it right. There’s enough movie to make it something worth watching and there are enough gaming culture nods and tropes to still make it feel true to what gaming’s all about. With coins, power-ups, extra lives, continues, tooltips and captions, health meters, pop-up VS. titles, glowing weapons, and special powers galore, this is really the flawless fusion of movies and gaming and as close as you can get to being a video game while still being a movie (whereas Heavy Rain, for instance, would be the other side, or as close as you can get to a movie while still being a game).

Take the witty dialogue, the colorful images, the gaming references, the blisteringly fast plot, and a refreshing tear away from the standards of the movie industry and you truly have yourself a real masterpiece in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Comparing it to Inception is in some apples to oranges and criminal, but they are ultimately both theatrical movies and I have to say that dollar for dollar I was more entertained by Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Well done.

Coming soon: A review of the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World video game for the PS3, available now on PSN for $9.99.

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