It’s not hard for co-writer/director Edgar Wright to be proud of his adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World; in fact, the loyal fans who made it a cult favorite would back that call in a heartbeat. But even when reflecting on the 10th, and soon to be 11th, anniversary of the film, there was an unexpected compliment that Wright paid to not only his own work, but also that of the crew of professional wizards that helped complete the finished product. You see, even after deeply loving Scott Pilgrim and knowing the movie so intimately, he’s still surprised by how brilliantly it all came together.
As I spoke with Edgar Wright in preparation for the Dolby Cinema re-release of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, he told me a lot about his experience revisiting the film that, upon initial release, looked like box office poison. Though as any one can attest after a decade of epic epicness, the film pretty much holds up like a charm. Which makes the fact that the folks at Universal asked Wright for what they could do with the property all the more exciting, as his suggestion of a 10th anniversary reissue was happily granted.
There was just one last, really big thing that needed to happen: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World had to be reborn. As Dolby Cinema and AMC Theaters were the partners that gave this big celebration its crucial venue, a new remaster of the film had to be crafted. The results were worth the efforts, as Edgar Wright recounted seeing Scott Pilgrim in its new Dolby Atmos and Vision print for the first time:
I just had to watch it, so last year, I guess before Christmas, whilst I was finishing up two other movies,one afternoon I had to go and watch Scott Pilgrim as well. I sat in the Dolby Cinema in Soho Square, and was like, ‘Oh my god, it just looks so incredible.’ … I just watched it and I’d go ‘ How the hell did we do that?’ And not to sort of brag, because I could say this more about the work of Bill Pope and Double Negative and Frazier Churchill, who did the visual effects, [but] I don’t really know what I’d do differently now, visually. I don’t really know how you could make it look better than it does. Which is an unusual thing to say about a film that’s 10 years old. Like, I don’t know how I would better the visual effects, or the cut of the movie. So for me, just watching [Scott Pilgrim] that removed, and watching it again, better than it’s ever looked and sounded before, I was like, ‘Ok, wow. Great. I’m down.’
The process for cleaning up Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was, quite possibly, one of the easiest remasters that could be spoken for. The reason for that claim is because Edgar Wright worked with the same crew that helped him make the movie in the first place. What’s even more unexpected about Wright’s glowing praise of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is that he actually can’t think of anything that he’d do differently, especially in terms of the visual language used to bring Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic masterpiece to life.
If there’s anywhere a movie has the potential to age itself, it’s in the visuals, as some films are very contemporary beasts. Even Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has its own artifacts that technically timestamp the story’s reality, in a world of AOL, flip phones and Spike TV. But considering that the geeky nostalgia is also present in the total package, those aspects don’t stick out as detrimental, as Scott Pilgrim itself is a subject of such nostalgic thinking.
Still, the hyperkinetic fights hold up, the soundtrack still puts a smile on the viewer’s face, and after almost 11 years, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is closer to becoming a cult classic in the long run. Thanks to the care and love that Edgar Wright and all involved in the project put into the pot, the years have only made fans come back for more again and again. We may not get a sequel, but the original will always be there for us to cherish as we sing along and quote our favorite moments.
You can get your latest helping of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, as the 10th anniversary reissue is currently in Dolby Cinemas at AMC Theaters. But you’d better get to the theater near you by Thursday, as it looks like that run will be giving way to a new engagement in standard AMC theaters. Trust me, the Dolby Cinema version is worth the extra time and effort.