Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (2023) Series Review
SCOTT Pilgrim and his friends return for the first time in 13 years courtesy of Netflix's animated take on the cult graphic novel. But has Netflix's mixed reputation of reinventing beloved franchises worked in their favour, or have fans reserved themselves to stick with the novels and film they are accustomed to?
On top of avoiding being kicked out of his apartment, attempting to start a band or trying to keep a steady job, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) has now fallen in love with Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the new girl to town who warns Scott about how he must defeat her seven evil exes if they wish to be a couple.
Is the plot eccentric and over-the-top? Yes - and exactly what makes Scott Pilgrim such a great idea in concept and execution. Whether it was the original graphic novel or the 2010 movie, both put heavy emphasis on the importance of Scott as a protagonist and his devotion to Ramona by attempting to defeat her evil exes. The environment around the characters compliment the insane situation they find themselves in, most notably Scott who begins his story in a down-to-earth manner by obsessing over a 10 second interaction with Ramona, gradually and naturally leading to him conquering the odds through exuberant fight sequences that wouldn't look out of place in the 16-bit age of video games.
One of the best things about the visuals is that they serve a purpose far beyond than just being nice to look at; a concept that artists in any median still fail to comprehend. Character interactions that seem like harmless fodder are not only enhanced by minor visual gags sprinkled throughout, but serve a greater purpose as the series progresses, rewarding eagle-eyed viewers for their dedication to the story in a manner that feels sincere rather than pandering. You could argue majority of flashy images are used in unnecessary places, but the quickness of their appearances make these slower scenes more engaging and make the more intense scenes even faster and enjoyable to watch.
In a wonderful surprise, most of the cast from the 2010 movie return to voice their characters for this Netflix adaptation. Sure; it'd be easy to point out specific performances like Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead for being near-perfect, but literally everybody who made their return does as good a job in this as they did under the direction of Edgar Wright. Whether it be Chris Evans as the over-confident Lucas Lee, or Ellen Wong as self-proclaimed "Scottaholic" Knives Chau, nobody feels out of place or delivers a weak performance; a strong aspect for any series that relies almost single-handily on its voice acting.
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is a welcome addition to the Scott Pilgrim universe, keeping in line with the series' core concepts while simultaneously adding twists that will keep the most well-versed of fans on their toes. Even if you're unfamiliar with Scott Pilgrim's previous adventures, Netflix's take on the beloved franchise serves as the perfect jumping off point for those who want to dip their toes into the extravagant, nostalgia-driven world of Scott Pilgrim.