Monday, August 16, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Secret Weapon: Killer Music from Beck & Others

When I saw a screening of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" the week before last at a preview screening, I had no idea what to expect. Having never heard of the graphic novel on which the movie is based, all I knew about the film was a brief glance at the poster showing Michael Cera playing an electric guitar.

It turns out that I really enjoyed "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," on several levels. It was funny and original, and had many sweet moments involving Cera (Scott Pilgrim) and his love interests. The story involves Pilgrim, the bass player in the garage-rock band Sex Bob-Omb, and his obsessive pursuit of a woman he sees in passing. The woman, Ramona, has a tangled past history of lovers that gives Scott Pilgrim a lot more than he bargained for.

One of the unexpected pleasures of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" was the role that music played throughout. Since Pilgrim is in a band you'd expect music to be a major element, and I noted that for a struggling rock band, Pilgrim's outfit made some pretty catchy tunes.

There's a good reason why: I noticed in the closing credits that the movie featured songs by Frank Black (of the Pixies), and many songs were written by Beck. But some other indie rock heavy-hitters were brought in to write or perform music, particularly the Canadian bands Metric and Broken Social Scene (one of whose songs runs just three seconds).

It's a fun movie, and the songs really are an integral part of it. I may listen to the soundtrack album and see if the tunes hold up on their own, apart from their use in the movie.

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