Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Double Movie Review: Life of of Brian + Scott Pilgrim

Today, rather than reviewing one movie at a time, I will do a comparison of two comedies that I watched recently: one that I really like, and one that really bugs me.

First off, let me write a little about the movie I saw first, "Monty Python's: Life of Brian". For many years I've been a big fan of the TV show "Monty Python's Flying Circus", but it's only recently that I've developed a taste for their movies as well. "Life of Brian" is a story mainly revolving around a man named Brian (obviously), who just happened to be born at the same time as Jesus.

What I liked about watching this movie was that it had so many funny parts that my siblings and I hit rewind to see them over again, and the story was a good one too. Also, I liked seeing the 6 core actors, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam, play many different parts throughout the movie, with the exception of Graham Chapman who only played Brian.
The jokes were clever and made me laugh a lot, and the sets + costumes used in "Life of Brian" were so good that it made me believe I was taking a look at what life was like in ancient Judea back in the 1st century AD. Back in the day when this movie was first released, it stirred up some major controversy in religious circles, causing it to be banned in many cities in America and Europe, even those that didn't even have movie theaters within their boundaries (oddly enough :P). I believe that it was because of this that the movie became so popular, and today it's still seen as one of the best British comedies of all time.

Next, my review for the 2010 Action/Comedy, "Scott Pilgrim VS. The World". Before going on, you should know that I've never read the graphic-novel series (by Bryan Lee O'Malley) that the movie is based on, so I'm only judging the movie for it's own merits and not whether it's true to it's original source or not.
Besides the fact that it stars Michael Cera, who's usually in pretty good movies, and that the tone of the film was bright and creative, and seemed to have a video-game theme to it, I did not like this film as much as "Life of Brian".

The story goes that Scott Pilgrim falls in love with the girl of his dreams (literally, he dreamed about her before they met), and in order to keep being her boyfriend, he must defeat her seven evil exes who have all joined up to try and kill him. Pretty original, I'll admit. Still, the parts where Scott is fighting the ex-boyfriends (and 1 ex-girlfriend even) were more exaggerated than realistic, and the strange part is that nobody in the crowds during the fights pay any attention or make a big deal out of them. Add to the fact that Scott Pilgrim is just your average nerd/rock-star wannabe with questionable martial arts skills, and you've got yourself a pretty unbelievable plot.

For me, it was distracting to see most of the sound-effects accompanied by comic-book-esque onomatopoeia (words that mean the sounds they make), whenever a phone rang or a punch was thrown, but hey, that just reinforces the fact that the world within the movie is not our own. What reinforces it even more are the characters' personalities and actions. Scott Pilgrim just seems so nerdy and socially-challenged, and he doesn't seem to have many redeemable qualities like kindness or interest in other people besides himself, so I feel less inclined to "root" for his character.

Also the girl that he falls in love with, Ramona, is so mysterious and aloof that I don't see what the big attraction is, besides the fact that he dreamed about her before they met and the fact that she changes her hair-color every week and 1/2.

Still, I feel that if I bash this movie too much I might forget what I actually liked about it. I enjoyed listening to the soundtrack of the movie (Scott Pilgrim's band is called "Sex Bob-omb", which I thought was pretty creative) and I appreciated the filmography and artistic-style of the film. The attempt to integrate video-game elements into the story was an earnest one, but I think if I liked the story a bit more, I would've been more into it.

In short, "Life of Brian" 1, "Scott Pilgrim" 0. If you have an opinion you'd like to share about either of these movies, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

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