by Michael S. Palmer
High-Def Digest was lucky enough to attend a 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World' Blu-ray Event this past Monday at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California. Filmmaker Edgar Wright ('Shaun of the Dead', 'Hot Fuzz') was on hand along with lead actor Michael Cera ('Arrested Development') and lead actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead ('Live Free or Die Hard') to take us through a sampling of special features on the Blu-ray, available November 9. Bryan Lee O'Mally, Scott Pilgrim creator, was also in attendance to chat with press.
Because the special features themselves have been detailed previously in Aaron Peck's review, I won't list them all here, but will instead share a few fun facts, trivia, and anecdotes from the evening:
"It's not often you get to work out with Superman and Captain American in the morning." -- Director Edgar Wright on pre-film strength training with castmembers Brandon Routh and Chris Evans. In just about every special feature, you can really see how much fun the film was to make -- the camaraderie, the team spirit -- details I believe show up in the final product.
We first watched the "Test Shoot", a visual pitch Wright and his team used to earn a greenlight from Universal. Apparently, it took them three months to complete its necessary animation. Also, the stuntman featured in the "Test Shoot" body-doubled for both Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead during filming, which faked out Michael one day when walked he into the bathroom to see "Mary" peeing at a men's urinal.
Originally, the filmmakers were going to make a running gag out of not showing the film's band performing; the joke being that most music-movie bands and songs are terrible. But when they had such great music written by Beck and performed by actual musicians, they changed their minds.
A film extra went for a pee break during one scene, and it ended up affecting a CGI composite shot, so they had to go back and digitally put this person back into the scene.
Members of the press said they saw lots of Scott Pilgrim themed costumes this Halloween in Los Angeles, even a pair of Scotts traveling together. To which Michael Cera quipped "and then they ran into eight guys dressed like 'The Expendables' and got their asses kicked" (a reference to the box office contest when 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World' premiered). Mr. Wright also suggested they needed to send a Blu-ray to Sylvestor Stalone, who publicly refused to see 'Scott Pilgrim on opening weekend because it didn't (paraphrasing here) contain real action heroes.
There's tons of CG and graphics on display -- obviously -- but a number of them you won't see. In order to be more authentic to the graphic novels, Wright had his CG digital artisans remove detail -- things like satellite dishes, electric wires, signs, etc -- from their Toronto shooting locations to make the world more sparse.
Anyone who loves this:
Will love "Scott Pilgrim vs. the Censor," a 4 minute montage where the cast purposely substitutes "owl" for "ass" among others. Mr. Wright's intension was to make his own bad safe-for-TV edit of the film on purpose before TV network censors could ruin it themselves. This got a lot of laughs.
HD-junkies will drool over the 4 minute "Phantom Montage." The Phantom is a high-speed 1,000 (count 'em) 1,000 frames per second camera used to film things in ulllllltra slooooooow mmoooooootion and damn I wish everything could be filmed like that.
The film's ending was shot one year after the rest of the film because when they originally made the movie, Bryan Lee O'Mally hadn't written the ending to Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6. When Mr. O'Mally finished, Wright and team rewrote the ending to better match the comic. This wasn't a studio decision, and wasn't included in the film itself using seamless branching technology because the theatrical ending is the preferred ending.
Overall, I spent my time with the filmmakers wowed by the depth and efforts taken both in making the film itself, but also in this Blu-ray presentation from Universal Home Entertainment. Let's think about for a minute. Within a two week span, they launched back-to-back titles that, despite a collective nostalgia for the original Nintendo days, couldn't be more different. 'Back to the Future' is a revered classic (feel free to argue the sequels' merits in the HDD forums) twenty-five years separated from 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World', an impending cult classic that didn't exactly light its theatrical box office on fire (feel free to argue why in the HDD forums).
But they're both packed to the gills with special features. In collaboration with the filmmakers behind each film(s), Universal Home Entertainment is raising the bar for Blu-ray releases. Sure, there's been a few hiccups, but isn't this the quality of material for which we've all be screaming?
I'll get off my soap box now, but I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Universal and any other studio releasing quality catalogue and day-and-date Blu-rays. You're starting to do a very good job. Adding value for you customers and to the Blu-ray brand in and of itself. Keep working hard, twice as hard if you have to, because every release and every movie fan should be treated with this much respect. Good night…and good luc--
Almost forgot the best part!
After the Blu-ray disc event, we walked over to the legendary Egyptian Theatre for a special screening of 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World' which was followed by a Q&A session with Edgar Wright, Michael Cera, and Bryan Lee O'Malley moderated by…wait for it...favorite fanboy filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro.
Universal taped the interview for anyone who couldn't make it and posted it online, which I've embedded below. Enjoy!
Edgar Wright on Richard Lester:
Flash Gordon & Batman:
Celebrating the Comic Book Form:
Guillermo del Toro on Video Games:
Michael Cera on Casting Process:
Thomas Jane and Clifton Collins Jr.:
Favorite Battle Scene: