Tag Archive for adaptation

Movie Review: Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (10/27/12)

Movie Poster: Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

Directed by Michael J. Bassett
Screenplay by Michael J. Bassett

Adelaide Clemens, Kit Harington, Deborah Kara Unger, Martin Donovan, Malcolm McDowell, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sean Bean

How long is Silent Hill: Revelation 3D? 94 minutes.
What is Silent Hill: Revelation 3D rated? R for violence and disturbing images, some language and brief nudity.

CLR Rating: 0.5/5 stars

Movie still: Silent Hill Revelation 3D

Malcolm McDowell and Adelaide Clemens in Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
© 2012 – Open Road Films

A sequel lacking in style, grace, and even the most rudimentary analysis of its own mythology (and that of the first film). The most baffling thing about this sequel is that it was made at all.

For the last three decades, filmmakers have been busily exploring the connections between video games and film; the myriad styles in which the passive viewer and the active player can intertwine; the ways in which a precise “defeat the boss, level-up” format can elevate (or destroy) a film. The gaming world facepalmed in unison when in 2006, director Christophe Gans released Silent Hill, a vague, startling movie based on the eponymous video game. Full disclosure: I’ve never been a gamer, and Konami’s Silent Hill made me bonkers. I tried playing the first one, and not only was I incapable of using the counter-intuitive control system, but the buzzing controller, ominous scenery, and seriously creepy score left me reasonably frustrated and thoroughly spooked. So of course, when the movie came out, I rushed to the theater – maybe I could enjoy it in a way that’s more natural to me!

Critics ripped apart the first Silent Hill, calling it bewildering, confused, and visually jarring. In 2006, I was deeply into feminist film study in college, and I was (and still am) intrigued by the fact that Roger Avary wrote a screenplay that featured nary a male character. Instead, Silent Hill’s speaking roles were occupied entirely by women and girls. As in Neil Marshall’s The Descent, the first iteration of Silent Hill featured women as villain, victim, and protagonist. They were flawed and maternal, insensitive and loving, and would do anything to save themselves and those they loved. Unfortunately, TriStar was deeply concerned by the lack of males and required Avary to add a guy to the mix. Enter Sean Bean’s Christopher, a grieving father chasing his wife and daughter into another dimension. Kim Coates played a small-town cop trying to protect a dark secret. You know that Facebook friend who inserts an extra question mark and exclamation point into every post because it’s just so very? That’s how the male roles in Silent Hill feel: unnecessary, pointless, and frustrating. Nonetheless, the movie was filled with severely spooky imagery, painstakingly rendered creatures, and a fascinating, essential rape-revenge theme. (Further, the first film was based loosely on the captivating ghost town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, beneath which coal fires have been burning for five decades.)

Since I’m a Silent Hill apologist, when news of the sequel began to circulate early this year, I jumped at the opportunity to review it. The 3D format is immensely frustrating when filmmakers utilize it as a moneymaker – but when it’s done right, 3D can elevate a movie from “stupid” to “stupid-but-awfully-pretty.” The first film was made before modern “three dimensions” were a viable option, but its sweeping zooms into glowing chasms, madly whipping razor wire, and massive villains wielding immense weapons lend to a feeling that Gans and cinematographer Dan Laustsen would have made great use of the technology epitomized by Avatar.

After years in development hell, a new director and writer, Michael J. Bassett, took the reins on Silent Hill: Revelation. It secured a Halloween weekend release date, a hot new TV star (Kit Harington, a.k.a. Game of Thrones’s Jon Snow), veteran actors Malcolm McDowell and Carrie-Anne Moss, and a beautiful young ingénue (Adelaide Clemens, an Australian who looks so like a young Michelle Williams that you will find yourself stunned she isn’t spouting Kevin Williamson’s precocious dialogue). It was, however, unable to secure a coherent plot, decent writing, or the necessary creativity in story and timing to make a good horror movie. While the original Silent Hill is intriguingly bizarre, simplistic but theatrically philosophical, and frustratingly plotted, the sequel is baffling and exasperating in that it ever got made at all.

The final scene of the original depicts Bean’s Christopher sensing, miserably, that his wife and adopted child are near; meanwhile Rose (Radha Mitchell) and Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) are trapped in another dimension, a purgatory of sorts (one guesses). The three inhabit the same physical space, but not the same metaphysical space. The sequel, in a stupid twist, posits that Rose found some kind of “seal” in the other dimension that allowed her to send Sharon back to ours. So, in the interim between the original and this weekend’s sequel, Christopher and Sharon have run wildly across the country, changing their names and leaving bodies behind. They have repeatedly, by a hair’s breadth, escaped members of the Order of Valtriel, a crew of religious weirdos who want to draw Sharon back to the damned town of Silent Hill, West Virginia, because she’s somehow part of a demon named Alessa. (In the original, Sharon was the product of rape – Alessa’s victimization at the hands of Silent Hill’s inhabitants propels the movie – but the sequel explains that Alessa didn’t give birth to Sharon, but somehow placed part of her soul in the orphan child. Way to ruin what was one of the most intriguing plot points of the first film, you idiots.)

The girl’s savior, another new kid in school named Vincent (Harington) is, to no one’s surprise but Sharon/Heather’s, has actually been dispatched from Silent Hill to bring her back. When the Order somehow kidnap Christopher, Heather/Sharon refuses to heed his note and follows him to purgatory with Vincent in tow. Vincent, of course, has decided that she’s not really evil after all! So he ends up in the hot seat with the Order, including his mother Claudia (Moss) and grandfather Leonard (McDowell) – both of whom are actually demons. Are you confused yet?

Pyramid Head, played in both movies by Roberto Campanella, is apparently no longer a bad guy – he’s Heather/Sharon’s guardian and executioner; further, cinematographer Maxime Alexandre evidently has no idea how to shoot him, resulting in a series of unnecessary close-ups and a failure to communicate his true strength and horror. The Dark Nurses, a horde of faceless, eyeless “naughty nurses” that ring all the interesting woman-as-nurturer/woman-as-villain bells, return, but Bassett has no idea what to do with them, either. Instead of terrifying the characters, the nurses cause the protagonists to enter into a slightly more high-stakes game of Red Light, Green Light.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some new features. There is some kind of mannequin creature, because mannequins are creepy, right? There is also a dark carnival, because clowns and carnivals? Also creepy. Finally, there’s an abandoned asylum, because of course. Inasmuch as the Resident Evil movies utilize the game format of “beat boss, level up,” the Silent Hill movies don’t feature much triumph at all – there’s just a lot of pointless running. At least in the first film, the various creatures and characters were new and well done. There was a shrewd, unsubtle (some might even say shrill) commentary on dogmatic thinking, rape, and female villains. The second film features nothing new, lacks even the most rudimentary analysis of its own mythology, and is laid out like an increasingly stupid haunted house.

As a defender of the first movie, I am in the minority. However, under no circumstances can I defend spending fifteen of your hard-earned dollars on watching this schlock in 3D – and if the trailers are any evidence, two dimensions won’t do it any favors either. I’ve already expended unnecessary energy trying to figure out its nuances, detail its plot, and explain why you shouldn’t go. TL;DR? Go see Sinister instead. Hell, Netflix The Apparition, which is also terrible. Save yourself the money, confusion, and irritation.

Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman (6/2/12)

Movie Poster: Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman

Directed by Rupert Sanders
Screenplay by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini

Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Ian McShane

How long is Snow White and the Huntsman? 127 minutes.
What is Snow White and the Huntsman rated? PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality.

CLR Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Movie Still: Snow White and the Huntsman

Charlize Theron as Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman.
Photo: Alex Bailey/©Universal Pictures

A warrior princess, an evil queen, an overly saturated fantasy world…and a lot of cliches.

When trailers premiered for the second Snow White adaptation of 2012, I was rapt. A warrior Snow White? The devastatingly sexy Charlize Theron as the evil queen? Dark armies and huge trolls and overly saturated fantasy worlds? Done!

Everyone, everywhere, knows “Whistle While You Work” and the breathy, snub-nosed Disney princess, along with her seven faithful dwarves. But Disney’s first film (and all thereafter, from The Little Mermaid to The Hunchback of Notre Dame) glosses over the original Grimms’ tale so it’s nearly unrecognizable. The world could use a harder, darker version, I thought – aside from the truly awful one with Sigourney Weaver and Sam Neill. And hey, Kristen Stewart has a bad rap. Snow White and the Huntsman features Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth (where did these Hemsworth brothers come from, and why did it happen all at once?), as the titular Huntsman, and Stewart (Twilight’s Bella Swan) plays the princess. Charlize Theron, who is no stranger to uglification (she won an Oscar for gaining 40 pounds to play Aileen Wuornos in Monster), is every bit the chilly, throaty, bitter queen. Unfortunately, attempts at humor fall flat, shots at depth fall short, and ravishing romance? Not a chance.

Snow White and the Huntsman opens as any fairy tale should: with a gorgeous queen sidling through a beautiful, snow-blanketed courtyard. In this version, instead of sewing at the window, the queen admires a brilliant rose blooming despite the frozen earth. When the rose (rather than the spinning wheel) pricks her finger, three crimson drops of blood fall to the ivory snow. How she wishes she had a daughter with lips red as blood, skin white as snow, and hair black as the raven’s wing! Shortly thereafter (no sex in fairy tales!) she gives birth to none other than Snow White, before perishing when Snow White is still a child. The princess is revered throughout the kingdom, the narrator explains, for her beauty as much as her defiant spirit. The King, racked with grief, allows himself to be seduced by a stunningly beautiful woman named Ravenna – whose heart proves to be as hard and cold as her beauty is breathtaking. Apparently feeling a kinship with Snow White, Ravenna (whose parents were killed when she was young) imprisons the princess instead of killing her. Ravenna, cursed/blessed by her mother with youth, vanity, and exquisiteness, asks her enchanted mirror, “Who is the fairest of them all?” It is always her – and she remains the fairest by sucking the youth and beauty from lovely young things. But ten years later, Snow White comes of age and becomes (of course) the fairest of them all.

The events of the movie take place when Snow White escapes from the north tower in a Shawshank-like trip through the sewers (can you imagine Disney’s titular character drenched in excrement?) – and straight into the Dark Forest. This version of the Dark Forest features hallucinations, poison fungus, maggots, masses of dung beetles, and winged demons. Ravenna sends the Huntsman, a grieving widower, into the Forest on the promise that she’ll bring his wife back to him. Of course, he comes to his senses before capturing Snow White. As in any good romance, he tries to leave her, but realizes he cannot; he becomes her greatest protector, despite the fact that the two hardly interact and have very little to like about one another aside from their mutual desperation.

The Disney version of the fairy tale featured musical numbers by adorable dwarves with personality (dwarfality?) quirks to match their names. This one also features dwarves, this time played by A-list actors shrunk via CGI to miniscule proportions. Toby Jones, Nick Frost, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, and Eddie Marsan inhabit the little guys – not that they have much to work with. The dwarves are usually played for laughs, and the writers of Snow White and the Huntsman struggle for some humor (how could you not laugh with Nick Frost?!). It just doesn’t pan out.

The dwarves do, however, live in Sanctuary, the land of the fairies. The Disney princess was so cute that even bunnies and fawns gather and birds flit and chirp upon her shoulders. It’s cheesy and ridiculous – but Snow White and the Huntsman does it one better. The whole world seems to come alive as the princess walks by, and though that includes the flora and fauna stretching to meet her grasp, it doesn’t feel silly. To the movie’s credit, it feels right. The princess, the dwarves teach the Huntsman, is indeed “life itself,” and they decide they’ll fight for her until they die.

All of this is interspersed with shots of Ravenna screaming at her subjects (Theron actually tore a stomach muscle during filming), staring evilly into her enchanted mirror, and surrounding herself with grimly circling ravens. Ravenna’s brother does her bidding, following Snow White and her Huntsman…at least until the Huntsman murders him. Ravenna is then forced to take the guise of Snow White’s childhood friend William to entice her to eat that poisoned apple with which we’re all so familiar. (There’s a lot of apple imagery in Stewart’s film career, it seems.)

After a kiss reawakens Snow White (though it may not be the kiss you’re expecting, which is slightly obnoxious), she rallies her men with a speech – and I do like Stewart, but this scene was horrible – and rides off to war with them. While previous Snow Whites have been pretty little princesses, this one wears leather pants beneath her skirts and looks “fetching in maille.” It’s one of the movie’s redeeming factors. And who should be the one to defeat the dark queen, but the princess herself? For Stewart, who’s been stuck playing weak, pathetic, husk Bella for years now, the role must’ve seemed a brilliant departure.

Snow White and the Huntsman falls into the category of fairy tale romance, certainly. It’s darker and uglier than some, and definitely worse than many. Its attitude toward men is pretty unforgiving, and its characters have about as much depth as a backyard pool. Theron appears to have a lot of fun with her role, though Hemsworth and Stewart have zilch chemistry. Nonetheless, it features some enjoyable moments, lovely effects, and pretty cinematography. Finally, Charlize Theron is a delight to watch under any circumstances. It can go down in history with movies like First Knight – not great, definitely stretching the lines of “adaptation,” but fun nonetheless. Come on, it’s summer. What do you expect?

Movie Review: The Secret World of Arrietty (2/18/12)

Movie Poster: The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty

Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki

Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett

How long is The Secret World of Arrietty? 94 minutes.
What is The Secret World of Arrietty rated? G (a few discussions of dying and mortality).

CLR Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Movie Still: The Secret World of Arrietty

In Ghibli’s latest, a different perspective
helps assuage the February doldrums.

Studio Ghibli, the company responsible for such well-loved animated pictures as Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, has done it again. It’s just sort of a different “it.” Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty is based on Mary Norton’s 1952 children’s book The Borrowers. The combination of a British children’s story and Japanese setting make the movie a very odd combination of cultural artifacts and wrinkles in time. Kids’ stories about bravery, about overcoming one’s biggest fear, are a dime a dozen – but subdued, sweetly evocative ones are about as rare as good action flicks.

Many of us read The Borrowers as kids – but if not, you’ve probably seen any number of the film adaptations (which, one assumes, is why the studio didn’t call this one The Borrowers: Let’s Try This Once More). It’s about the Clocks, a family of tiny people who live in the walls of a Big People home. Father Pod (voiced in the American version by Will Arnett), mother Homily (Amy Poehler), and spirited teenage daughter Arrietty (Bridgit Mendler) leave the confines of their home only to “borrow” small things the “human beans” won’t miss: sugar cubes, buttons, cookies. When human bean Aunt Jessica brings home her sickly nephew Shawn (David Henrie), the Clocks’ world explodes. During her first Borrowing, Arrietty is spotted by Shawn. What ensues, as you’d assume, is a gentle friendship punctuated by danger in the form of bitter housekeeper Hara (Carol Burnett).

Arrietty doesn’t bother with 3D, and as a result it feels elderly, a bit nostalgic – and I mean that in the best way possible. In tone, it’s like a sunnier version of Don Bluth’s 1980s animated masterpieces (particularly The Secret of NIMH). Its animation, particularly scenes in the garden outside Aunt Jessica’s house, is absolutely gorgeous: peonies and wildflowers leap from the screen in vibrant watercolor, a decrepit bridge arcs over a tiny stream, and a fat, grouchy kitty stalks among the wildlife. It makes you want to be there.

The interiors of the walls, where the Clocks fend off cockroaches and crickets for food, are rendered with lush detail; a ladder of staples and a bridge of nails become perfectly sized for climbing. When the tiny Arrietty first peeks into the vastness of the human beans’ kitchen, the wind whooshes through her ears: it’s an immense place, as massive as the Grand Canyon to her. As human beans ourselves, we in the audience get to experience our world from a different perspective. When Arrietty finds a discarded needle, she picks it up and it makes a chunk! noise, as though she were removing the venerable sword from the stone; when she sheathes it in her dress, it makes the familiar metallic scrape we associate with blades. The cat, Nina, is a monster (much like Dragon in Bluth’s NIMH) the likes of which humans will never have to encounter (we hope, anyway). Of course, Nina eventually decides the Borrowers are not worth eating and helps to bring Arrietty and Shawn together for a final goodbye (someone at Ghibli loves cats).

Hiyao Miyazaki, one of the most renowned Japanese directors of our time, contributed to Arrietty only with “planning and screenplay,” leaving the director’s chair to Hiromasa Yonebayashi. Yonebayashi’s film comes with less “comic madcappery” than other Ghibli films, to quote a friend. Hara is a bit of a nutbar, and Homily is a screaming worrywart, but the movie offers few big laughs and fewer totally bizarre moments. It seems like Yonebayashi strove to make a film that would appeal to a worldwide audience and sacrificed some of the wackiness in the process.movie Allegiant

The setting and plot of the movie are timely and timeless, oddly non-specific. Although the garden and the cars in the film are undoubtedly Japanese, the cottage in which Shawn and the Clocks live is peculiarly Victorian in style. Artful crown molding, dark hardwood floors, grandfather clocks, and lush carpets fill the home, though its inhabitants wear Japanese sandals. A gorgeously outfitted dollhouse, replete with miniature Victorian décor, is a dream home for the Borrowers. Further, a visitor whips out a smartphone to look up a pest control company, but Hara uses a rotary phone to call them. We are here in 2012, the movie seems to say, but this place is floating in the past, bobbing between cultures. It’s lovely to watch.

Arrietty doesn’t tug the heartstrings quite like many Disney pictures do – there is danger and intrigue, but the film’s major focus is friendship and love. Shawn’s ailing heart and divorcing parents force him into a life of leisurely misery, while Arrietty’s family’s paranoia keeps her from adventure. When the two discover each other, they bring one another hope and relief. There’s another message here: have faith, and don’t meddle for personal gain. Hara, Jessica, and Shawn each have very different responses to the existence of tiny people, and the movie asks us to contemplate which one we would have: greedy excitement? Smiling acceptance despite lack of concrete evidence? Curiosity and a quiet desire to help?

Arrietty enjoyed a nationwide release due to Disney’s help, but it probably won’t break the box office. It’s smart, quietly poetic, and gently funny. One wonders if it’ll find its audience: kids are likely to find it unexciting, and adults (except the nerdy ones who’ll see any Ghibli movie) are likely to expect something it isn’t. In any case, it’s a lovingly animated movie that transposes your perspective, makes you think about believing in magic. It’s a cure for the February blues.

Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (8/14/10)

Movie Poster: Scott Pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Directed by Edgar Wright
Screenplay by Michael Bacall and Edgar Wright

Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim
Alison Pill as Kim Pine
Mark Webber as Stephen Stills
Johnny Simmons as Young Neil
Ellen Wong as Knives Chau
Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells
Anna Kendrick as Stacey Pilgrim
Aubrey Plaza as Julie Powers
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers

CLR Rating: 4/5 stars

Movie Still: Scott Pilgrim

Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona V. Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Edgar Wright and lovable slacker Scott Pilgrim are a match made in hipster, gamer heaven. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is the most fun you’ll have in a theater this summer.

Scott Pilgrim may be a “ladykiller wannabe” with no cash, aspirations of rock stardom, and a slightly emo outlook, but he’s also the most awesome thing in theaters this weekend. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), who also cowrote the screenplay with Michael Bacall, adapted Scott Pilgrim vs. the World from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series of graphic novels. Wright’s style is frenetic, energetic, slightly spastic, and his favorite subject is lovable, bumbling slackers who end up saving the day—though these roles generally go to Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, or both. Wright and Scott Pilgrim are a match made in hipster, gamer heaven.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is an unemployed, 22-year-old bassist in Toronto, Canada with a rating of awesome. He platonically shares a bed with his gay roommate Wallace (Kieran Culkin), dates a seventeen-year-old named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), and is still in mourning after his last big breakup. His band Sex Bob-Omb practices all the time, and drummer Kim Pine (Allison Pill), singer Stephen Stills (Mark Webber), and hanger on Young Neil (Johnny Simmons) are eye-rollingly used to Scott’s abundant girl problems. When Scott meets the girl of his dreams—literally, as he’s dreamt about her—he’s in for trouble. Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is the hipster ideal. Her short, brightly hued hair (purple, blue, and green in the movie), contrast tights, red lips, and cynical, no-nonsense attitude make her inaccessibly lovely.

Scott, ever the charmer, constantly puts his foot in his mouth around Ramona, but starts dating her anyway. Little does Scott know, before he gets anywhere with Ramona, he has to defeat her seven evil exes. Scott fights Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha), who has asymmetrical hair, dresses like a pirate, and pauses mid-battle for a Baliwood song and dance. Scott has a clash of the egos with Lucas Lee (Chris Evans, who purposely overacts better than almost anyone in Hollywood), an action star who dated Ramona in the ninth grade. Then there’s Roxy Richter (Mae Whitman), who was part of what Scott calls Ramona’s “sexy phase.” Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh, better known to most as Superman) poses a larger problem: he’s in a sell-out band with Scott’s horrible ex-girlfriend Envy (Brie Larson), formerly known as Natalie. Then there are the Katayanagi twins (Keita Saitou and Shota Saito), who create dancing dragons of sound with their synthesizers; and finally, there’s smarmy record exec and all-around jackass Gideon Gordon Graves (Jason Schwartzman), who planted a microchip in Ramona’s neck to keep her by his side. Before he can date Ramona, Scott has to defeat them all.

O’Malley’s books are a loving, ridiculous embrace of videogame culture. While the movie sticks pretty close to comic format, it’s also an oddly pleasing mixture of various geek media. Split screen and frames are a visual cue that the movie’s a comic brought to life (and at one point someone mutters, “They say the comic book’s much better”). Each character has a floating rating on a scale of awesomeness; when Scott urinates a pee bar appears in the upper corner of the screen, showing progress from full to empty bladder; Scott gets power-ups and new lives. Each fight starts like Mortal Kombat, characters poised on either side of the screen while a glowing “vs” spins between them. The fights themselves are a silly homage to the unreality of violence in videogames. Heavy on martial arts, flying through the air, and smashing through buildings, the battles are light on blood and bruises. In the Pilgrim-verse, like in Mortal Kombat and Super Mario, if you lose a life, you get to replay the level from the beginning.

As any avid gamer will tell you, there’s something comforting about having infinite lives and the ability to get thrown through a wall without getting hurt. There’s also something slightly creepy about ultraviolence without consequence (the scare tactics in the media would have you believe this is why “kids today” bring knives to school), and battles to the death to win a girl as if she’s a prize (think Princess Toadstool in Super Mario Brothers). Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is an insanely self-aware piece of filmmaking, though, and its charm lies in its ability to subvert the gaming tropes it uses so lovingly. When a character dies, change tinkles to the floor around him and a score flashes up. “Oh hey, coins!” Scott cries at one point, grabbing at the change.

O’Malley and Wright also managed to stick their thumbs right smack dab on the hipster counterculture, poking fun at garage bands with inflated egos, unemployed emo kids who manage to make scruffiness adorable, and skinny-jeans clad boys who write navel-gazing songs about dream girls who don’t want them. Those of us who’ve met that holier-than-thou vegan kid will rejoice at the line, “Didn’t you know being vegan just makes you better than most people?” When Thomas Jane and Clifton Collins pop onscreen briefly as the Vegan Police, arresting a character for breaking vegan edge, you might clap. Finally, the use of the word “hipster” in a movie means we can all quit calling skinny-jeans clad, asymmetrically hair-styled emo kids hipsters, right? They’ll have to adopt a new name.

Scott Pilgrim as played by Michael Cera is still very much Michael Cera, the slightly twee, indie man-boy who wooed audiences with his infinite awkwardness in “Arrested Development,” Juno, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Heart. The other roles are small caricatures—and they will make you laugh. Allison Pill’s hooded eyes, monotone voice, and penchant for miming shooting herself in the head will make you smile. Chris Evans’ and Brandon Routh’s all-American pretty boy looks and overacting are pitch-perfect. Wright’s directorial and cinematic style is perfectly suited for a story with such frenetic, nonstop energy. He does slackers and gamers better than anyone else working right now, and he knows the material from whence the story comes. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World combines hilarious writing, great fight scenes, tongue-in-cheek reference, and a fast-paced story with lovable characters, and it’s by far the most fun you’ll have in a theater this summer.