Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: 45 Cool Easter Eggs In The Comedy Cult Classic
It's about time Scott Pilgrim got its due.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a valentine to '90s nerd culture: video games, comics, and the emergent world wide web. It was a critically acclaimed, faithful adaptation of the Bryan O'Malley comic series that inspired it. But when it was released in 2010, it was a box office bomb, making back a little over half of its $85 million dollar budget.
Directed and co-written by Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has since become a cult classic, and no wonder; it is a near-perfect cinematic experience. Too often, filmmakers use a fraction of the storytelling tools available to them. In most films, the camera is a functional bystander, only there to dispassionately record the actors' dialogue.
Wright, on the other hand, is a master at using camera work and auditory cues to tell more of a story than what is simply stated. Characters enter and leave the frame at odd moments. No two scene transitions are the same. The movie has continuous, forward momentum; the camera never stops moving. It's impossible to be bored when the filmmakers handle the act of washing hands with four different shots in a five second span. It's the type of film that rewards repeat viewings; there are so many visual and audio gags that it's impossible to catch them all.
In honor of the film's upcoming 10th anniversary on August 13 and the cast reunion table-read on July 20, here are 45 of the best Easter Eggs in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Bill Hader plays The Voice. He narrates several parts of the movie, including the beginning, when he establishes context before we meet any of the characters, and mid-way through, when he explains Scott's breakup with Envy Adams.
2. 16-Bit Zelda
The song during the establishing shot of Young Neil's house is the title theme for the Super Nintendo game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Sound effects from various games, including Zelda and Sonic the Hedgehog, are used throughout the movie.
3. Sex Bob-Omb
A Bob-Omb is an enemy type from the Mario franchise. It made its debut in the 8-bit classic Super Mario Bros. 3, where it attacked Mario with a timed explosion.
4. Soy Un Perdedor
The movie professes, both explicitly and implicitly, a love for alternative rock. The filmmakers hired Beck to write all of Sex Bob-Omb's songs.
5. Opening Credits
The movie's opening credits tell us a little something about each actor's character. Brie Larson, for example, has a broken heart graphic because her character, Envy Adams, breaks up with Scott before the events of the movie. Alison Pill has a "One-Two-Three-Four!" countdown graphic next to her name, because her character, Kim, is the drummer for Sex Bob-Omb.
The credits sequence came from a suggestion by writer/director Quentin Tarantiono, who felt the movie needed a moment to "settle in."
6. Snowy X
The filmmakers scattered multiple X's throughout the movie to allude to the "Seven Evil Exes" Scott has to defeat. You can see this snow X when Knives and Scott are walking home after their date at the arcade. It also foreshadows a metaphorical crossroads for Scott's romantic life, when he has to choose between Ramona and Knives.
7. The Kiss
Scott Pilgrim has a poster on the wall that should be recognizable to any early '00s college student. It hung on the wall of every dorm, right next to the Bob Marley poster, the Bluto poster, and the Tony Montana poster.
The photo, called "The Kiss," was taken by photographer Tanya Chalkin. It was commissioned as part of an ad campaign for Queer Company, which provided financial services for an LGBT clientele.
8. Lucas Lee Foreshadowing
The movie sets up Lucas Lee's character early on. You can see one of his movie advertisements on the newspaper that Wallace is reading.
9. Multiple Takes
The blind toss that Scott makes, throwing an Amazon package into a garbage can, was done with no special effects or trickery. It took Michael Cera 33 takes to get it right.
10. Seven X's
When Ramona gives her phone number to Scott, she includes seven X's under her number, alluding to her Seven Evil Exes.
11. Crash and the Boys
The band Crash and the Boys is named after the 1992 NES game Crash 'n' The Boys: Street Challenge. It's a sports game that crosses track competition with a street sensibility. Envy's band, The Clash at Demonhead, is also named after an NES adventure platformer of the same name.
12. Plumtree T-Shirt
Scott wears a Plumtree shirt to the Battle of the Bands at the Rockit. Plumtree is a Canadian indie rock band, and Scott Pilgrim is named after Plumtree's single of the same name.
13. Number One
Matthew Patel is Ramona's first ex-boyfriend, and appropriately, he has a single Chevron on his military jacket.
Scott delivers what is unmistakably a Shoryuken to Matthew Patel's jaw. The Dragon Punch is Ryu and Ken's signature move in the Street Fighter franchise and is performed by pressing Toward, Down, Down/Toward, and any Punch button.
15. Co-Writer Cameo
The audience member who asks if Matthew Patel is a pirate is Michael Bacall, who co-wrote the movie's screenplay.
16. KO Voice
The "KO!" announcer at the end of the Matthew Patel fight sounds nearly identical to the fight announcer from the Street Fighter Alpha series.
17. Exes and Hearts
When Scott and Ramona are riding on the bus together, you should look in the background at the passing lights. When Ramona begins the conversation, there are X's in the background. Then, as the conversation turns more romantic, those X's change to hearts.
Scott always has hearts in his background, which makes sense; he's smitten by Ramona even before she knows his name.
18. A Movie About Nothing
After Ramona and Scott make their relationship official, Scott enters Wallace's room to canned sitcom applause and the Seinfeld bass line.
19. Numbered Trailer
Lucas Lee, Ramona's second ex, has the number 2 painted on his trailer. When he exits, it's to the Universal logo theme, and he moves in sync with its musical cues.
20. Two-Fingered Point
There are multiple "2" references throughout this scene. Lucas Lee points at Scott Pilgrim with two fingers. He also says that it will take him two minutes to kick Scott's ass.
21. Photo Booth
During the phone conversation between Envy and Scott, pay attention to the background. You can see a sequential series of photobooth strips. It concludes with Envy leaving the frame, thus dumping Scott.
22. Traffic Signs
When Scott is looking over his shoulder after fighting Lucas Lee, there's a head-on shot that shows seven crossing signs, one for each ex that Scott has to fight.
23. Xavier's School
Scott rips an X-Men patch off his jacket sleeve. Several of Ramona's exes have mutant-like powers. Matthew Patel has flamethrowing abilities like Pyro (although Pyro could not generate the flame on his own whereas Matthew can), and Roxy Richter has teleportation powers similar to Nightcrawler (complete with wisps of black smoke).
24. No Blinking!
Edgar Wright asked Brie Larson to film all of her scenes without blinking, in order to give her character an anime-esque quality.
25. The Infinite Sadness
The chapter break's name is taken from the Smashing Pumpkins' 1995 album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Its hit singles included "Bullet with Butterfly Wings," "1979," "Zero," "Tonight Tonight," and "33."
26. Surprised Face
When Knives finds out that Scott dated Envy, she gets a "surprised" face, an emoticon composed of a colon followed by a lower-case o.
27. A Hole In The Moon
Ramona says that Todd, her third ex, punched a hole in the moon for her. This is no exaggeration. Whenever the camera scrolls up to the moon during the movie, you can see the hole in its upper-left side.
28. Multiple Threes
Todd is the third of Ramona's exes, and he wears a painted number 3 on his T-shirt. You can also see a 3 tacked on the back wall via a flyer.
29. Trash Can
During the Todd fight, Scott gets thrown into the back alley of the club, which also has multiple 3's painted on a trash can.
30. Pumpkins Fan
Scott Pilgrim is evidently a Smashing Pumpkins fan. In the first scene of the movie, he's wearing a shirt with the SP heart logo. During the fight against Todd, he's wearing Billy Corgan's iconic Zero shirt, which the frontman wore in the music video for "Bullet with Butterfly Wings."
31. Four Bar
The bar where Scott fights Roxy, Ramona's fourth ex, has a giant number 4 over its doorway.
32. Soul Calibur Tribute
Roxy has a bladed whip similar to the one that Ivy Valentine uses in the Soul Calibur franchise and the Belmont family uses in the Castlevania franchise.
33. Laminated Card
Ramona comments, sarcastically, that she'll give Scott a laminate of all the exes he has to fight. Minutes later, she gives him a list, and if you look closely, it's laminated.
34. Fantastic Four And One-Third
Scott wears a Fantastic Four and One-Third Shirt at a midway point: after his fight with Roxy (the fourth ex) and before his fight with the Katayanagi Twins (the fifth and sixth exes).
35. Guitar Hero
During his Amp vs. Amp battle against the Katayanagi Twins, Scott Pilgrim wears the bass logo from the Guitar Hero franchise on his T-shirt.
36. Turn it Up To 11
The Katayanagi Twins have a volume knob that goes up to eleven, a reference to the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. Also, the twins are Ramona's fifth and sixth exes--5+6=11.
37. Green-Eyed Monster
The Katayanagi battle pits the Twins' dragons--a possible reference to the Double Dragons franchise--against a massive green-eyed monster. A green-eyed monster is often used in popular culture as a metaphor for jealousy. Scott has jealousy stemming from his insecurity over Ramona's past, and accordingly, his eyes turn green during the battle.
38. Chaos Theatre
The Chaos Theater is a location in the Super Nintendo RPG Earthbound. It is located in the digital town of Twoson.
39. Exploding Into Coins
When Scott defeats his opponents, they explode into coins. This is a video game trope that was popularized in the NES game River City Ransom, and was later memorably applied in the Wii hit No More Heroes (which also featured an energy beam sword).
40. Better Than The Comic?
When Scott Pilgrim heads into the Chaos Theater, you can overhear Michael Comeau saying, "The comic book is better than the movie." It's a meta-joke, since this movie is an adaptation of Bryan O'Malley's comic series.
41. Plus Seven
As Ramona's seventh ex, Gideon is surrounded by references to the number 7. His beam sword, for example, has +7 stat buffs.
42. Nearly Dead
When Knives, Ramona, Gideon, or Scott take damage during the final battle, they start to blink red. In arcade games, especially beat 'em ups like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons, flashing or turning red was a visual cue that the end-stage boss was close to defeat.
43. Triforce Power
Gideon's logo looks like the Triforce from The Legend of Zelda franchise. The Triforce is an enchanted relic made up of three golden triangles--Power, Wisdom, and Courage--that form a bigger triangle when joined at their corners.
44. Subspace Travel
The free-standing, fast-travel doors throughout the movie are reminiscent of the subspace doors in NES classic Super Mario Bros. 2, which transported Mario to a parallel dark dimension. Mario conjured these subspace doors by dropping a beaker of Potion, and he occasionally used them to warp to later levels. The star on the door is a reference to the Nintendo 64 launch game Super Mario 64, which used stars as a currency to unlock differently tiered doors in Peach's castle.
45. Scott Pilgrim Sprite
After the end credits, a video game sprite version of Scott Pilgrim destroys "The End." Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game was released on the Playstation Network (and later on XBox Live) three days before the release of the film. Critically acclaimed, the game is currently delisted and unavailable to download, although both O'Malley and Wright have pushed for its re-release.