Scott Pilgrim vs. the World movie and video game soundtrack review

Movie: Released Aug 13th, 2010

Soundtrack – Released Aug, 10th, 2010.  MSRP $11.99  iTunes and Amazon

Video Game: PSN and XBLA for $9.99

Soundtrack – Released Aug 24th, 2010 on iTunes

As one of the hosts of the Amplified Gamers I thought it would be a cool idea to write a piece on the soundtrack of the Scott Pilgrim vs. The world video game and movie.  You’ll find many other sites reviewing the movie or the game…but I wanted to focus on the music.  So far this year, both the Scott Pilgrim movie and the game soundtrack are some of the best in both formats of media. I had gone into this movie with very little knowledge of the source material, but came out seeing probably one of the best video game movies ever.  Story as summarized by graphic novelist Bryan Lee O’Malley:

“Scott Pilgrim’s life is so awesome.  He’s 23 years old, in a rock band, “between jobs” and dating a cute high school girl.  Everything’s fantastic until a seriously mind-blowing dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties.  But the path to Ms. Flowers isn’t covered in rose pedals.  Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends stand in the way between Scott and true happiness.  Can Scott beat the bad guys and get the girl without turning his precious little life upside-down?”

The movie is based on this graphic novel which started back in 2004 with the 6th and final volume being released this past July of 2010.  I’ve read all 6 volumes and couldn’t stop reading until I finished.  There are so many memorable characters and scenes which surprisingly get worked into the movie in a very good way…better than most novels/stories adapted onto the big screen.  Also recently released is a downloadable 8-bit beat’em up style video game which follows the story of the graphic novel.  Most of the characters/settings within the game are more based off the graphic novel and are visually a better representation to the original work than the movie.  The graphic novels continually reference old school video games throughout, especially focusing on old school NES gaming.  In volume 6 of the graphic novels you will find Scott Pilgrim in a depressive state continually sucked into playing his PSPGO.  Things like health bars, 1-ups, and defeated ex-boyfriends turning into coins continually pop up in the graphic novels which make the 8-bit style of video game based of the graphic novels perfect.  If you’re a fan of video games you’ll definitely get a chuckle throughout all aspects of the Scott Pilgrim series, whether it is the novels, movie, game, or the music.

So I’m going to break things up in two parts:  1) The video game soundtrack and 2) The movie soundtrack.  I will be including YouTube clips for a lot of my references.  Just written words won’t due, where as I think a small clip is needed.  Don’t worry, I’m not posting the entire song and copyright law allows me to post a clip for review/instructional purposes.  Plus I’m sure you’ll find that entire versions of these songs are floating all over YouTube ;)   However, I highly recommend picking these soundtracks up in store or online.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game Soundtrack

This video game soundtrack is definitely on my list of best of the year.  The tunes are all rocking and mirror the feel of the graphic novel source material so well.  If you type on PS3 the following code on the Mario 3-esque map you’ll unlock the pathway leading to Joseph’s room/radio tower:  L1, L1, R1, R1, L1, L1, L1, R1, R1, R1, L1, R1.  This will allow you to play all the sound effects and music tracks in the game.  You have to love when games allow you to listen to the soundtrack in game…more games need to do this.

The video game music was written by the chiptune punk band called Anamanaguchi.  Based on what I’ve read they use a hacked out NES and Game boy to create their music.  But what probably helps bring the cool rock beats to the Scott Pilgrim video game is their use of live real instruments on top of synthesized music to create what you hear on the soundtrack.  The first track I’d like to review is the title track from the opening of the game.  If this track doesn’t scream 8-bit goodness, I don’t know what does.  This plays when you start up the game up, during the opening animations, and encompasses the soundtrack very well.

Another track is from the 1st level of the game which takes place on the snowy streets of Toronto.  Once again you can get the feel of how this soundtrack takes the punk/rock/indie feeling of the graphic novels and the movie and uses this to create a very cool sounding modern 8-bit video game sound.   Many of the tracks take you back and make you reminisce back to the old 8-bit video game gaming era.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World:  Movie Original Soundtrack

From the very start of the movie you get a sense of how awesome this movie is going to be.  They turned the Universal pictures opening into an 8-bit video game musical number.  This was so cool and already got me laughing and giddy right from the start.

One of the most recognizable songs on the soundtrack is “We are Sex Bob-Omb” by Sex-Bob-omb.  Scott Pilgrim is the bassist of a newer indie band and this song is played a few times and starts off with Kim Pine, drummer and Scott’s high school ex-girlfriend, yelling as she always does before they start playing “WE ARE SEX BOB-OMB!!!”

This track and a lot of the tracks on the album have a very punk/rock/indie feel to them.  This suits the film/graphic novel very well as Ramona and a lot of the characters have sort of a hipster feel to them and this music definitely suits the attitude of things.  You get a sense of how Scott, Kim and Stephen (members of the band) are in their early twenties and are trying to be cool and play hip/rocking songs.  They almost never succeed as they are always messing up and not always sounding very good.  But you do get cool throwback moments in the movie such as Michael Cera’s Scott Pilgrim character playing Final Fantasy music on bass.

The next track is titled “Black Sheep” by the band Metric:

Now this important track in the movie and scene in the graphic novel is probably one of my favorites off the album.  One of Scott’s ex-girlfriends, Envy Adams, is now the lead singer of a very popular band called The Clash at Demonhead.   They broke up and she started to cheat on him with a guy called Todd.    Her bassist boyfriend is named Todd and is one of Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends who Scott must defeat.  During the story, Scott and Ramona don’t realize that both Todd(s) are one in the same and it is not until they listen to this song being played live at the club in which they both realize Scott’s next ex-boyfriend opponent is one they both know.

I’ve already gone on too long, but the rest of the soundtrack is fantastic and definitely worth a purchase.  Check it out on Amazon or iTunes and see if it’s your type of music.  There are a lot of bands on this album and is one of the best movie soundtracks of the year.

Summary:

Definitely check out both of these soundtracks.  The game soundtrack does a great job of encompassing the feel of early 8-bit gaming while taking into consideration the graphic novel material the game is based on.  The original soundtrack is also a must buy if you’re a fan of the movie or enjoy this type of music which is featured in the film.

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