Scott Pilgrim vs Archetypal Analysis

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Scott Pilgrim vs Archetypal Analysis

Post  AlanRichardson on Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:43 am

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Scott Pilgrim vs The World is an action comedy released in 2010. It tells the story of Scott Pilgrim, a young man born and raised in Toronto. Scott meets the girl of his dreams and is forced to fight and defeat her 7 evil exes in order to be with her. The film offers a variety of lively, animated characters with strong personalities and motivation. Scott’s struggles, both internal and external provide several examples of situational Jungian archetypes. Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a strong example of Jung’s literary theory applied to a modern media.

Symbolic Archetypes
Water vs Desert is somewhat present. Water is seldom seen in the film, however the desert features prominently. Whenever Scott is having a personal crisis, he imagines himself alone, wandering the desert, praying for salvation from his isolation. Upon his temporary death he is transported to the desert until he realizes his errors and how he must confront his own problems before he can focus on Ramona’s.
Heaven vs Hell is present when Scott ventures downward into the deep basement of Gideon’s club to confront the film’s devil figure.
Battle between Good and Evil is the main symbolic archetype of the film. Scott’s opponents are repeatedly referred to as the evil exes, as opposed to just the exes. They all show bad intent towards Ramona. They are mainly dressed in black and other dark colors, where as Scott often wears lighter clothing. The exes are always shown as either being menacing and ill-tempered, or trying to fake kindness in order to manipulate Scott and his friends.

Situational Archetypes
Many parts of the film’s story follow Jung’s situational archetypes. Scott’s quest overall is to find love and happiness, following his previous heartbreak. He initially tries to do this by dating various girls, trying to fill the emptiness he feels. When he meets Ramona Flowers he realizes she is both literally and figuratively the girl of his dreams, and therefore the key to his happiness.
The task Scott undertakes is defeating Ramona’s exes. He is confronted by each ex one at a time over the course of the film (with the exception of the twins, who battle him simultaneously.) This task serves as the one main obstacle in the way of his future with Ramona.
Scott’s unhealable wound in the film is his emotional stress and self-loathing following being dumped by Envy. The breakup happens a year prior to the start of the film, and is mentioned several times. This wound seems to disappear only once he has confronted Envy and realizes that he no longer misses her or wants her, and that he was really the one that was out of her league.
Scott’s fall is when he becomes overwhelmed by Ramona’s past. They agree that everyone has baggage, but hers (the exes) becomes too much for him to bear. He scorns her for her mistakes and they part ways. She returns to Gideon and he goes home to stew in his misery.
The ritual could be seen as Gideon’s club’s grand opening. Scott arrives there to reclaim Ramona, as Gideon attempts to celebrate taking her back. This also serves as the moment Scott’s band realizes they have outgrown him.
Death and Rebirth feature prominently. After defeating the twins Scott had “gotten a life” in the form of a 1Up (extra life). Later, he is defeated fighting Gideon and find himself in limbo, in the form of a desert. Once he realizes he has been mistaken the whole time, and must take responsibility for his own mistakes, he is reborn a few moments before he had entered the club. He then returns to the club stronger, and is more successful in his second attempt to defeat Gideon.
The magic weapon also features prominently in the climax of the film. Scott initially declares he has the power of love, before pulling a magic sword from his own chest, but it proves not strong enough. When he returns following his death and rebirth he declares he’s fighting for himself, and gains the power of self-respect. The sword he pulls from himself this time glows brighter and stronger, and proves enough to defeat Gideon.
The initiation is present in the story towards the end. Scott realized more and more throughout his adventure that he acts as a child. He is unemployed, immature, shrugs off responsibilities such as band practice and dates Knives, a high school girl, for the first half of the movie. At the climax of the movie Scott is forced to confront his mistakes and take responsibility. He acknowledges and apologizes for treating his former girlfriends as he had, disrespectfully and without remorse. He apologized to Knives for cheating on her, and to Ramona, as he realizes by cheating on Knives with her, he was cheating on her as well. He accepts his exclusion from the band and states that his replacement is better than him anyway. His revelation that the actions he once shrugged off as nuisances and technicalities had real consequences on people, and held weight in his life proves he had matured into adulthood. The necessity of growing up and taking responsibility serves as the moral of the film.

Character Archetypes
Scott clearly represents the archetype of the hero. Almost nothing is mentioned of his childhood, although he does point out his childhood home. The fact that this house is across the street from his current home further exemplifies his immaturity. Scott fights the beast, in the form of the seven exes, to free Ramona from their hold on her life, as well as to win her for himself. Although he had a social following throughout most of the film, he is shown as falling out with his friends and becoming exiled from the group, specifically his band. Following this he attempts to confront Gideon, only to be struck down. This occurs atop a mountainous structure inside Gideon’s club. This follows the tradition of the hero being defeated upon the top of a hill.
The mentor of the film is Wallace. He is Scott’s elder by only a few years, but shows much greater maturity and insight. He often gives Scott advice, even to the point of forcing him through threats and bribery, although these scenarios always prove to be in Scott’s favor. Wallace serves as a patriarch to a degree, as he provides the sole income for their household and seems to take care of many household tasks. He exhibits great influence, even command over Scott, as a father would.
Ramona represents the outcast. Following the seven failed relationships with her exes in the United States, she is forced to leave in order to escape their influence on her. She eventually finds herself in Toronto. She presents herself mysteriously to those she meets in order to remain detached for when she will likely have to leave again.
Gideon is the devil figure. He appears to reclaim Ramona for himself, as he is the leader of the evil exes. Before Scott has the chance to confront him, he approaches Scott and offers him a truce. As he seems to already be winning Ramona back, he tells Scott that to try and reclaim her would be futile. He is the owner of a prominent record label and offers Scott and his band a contract on the condition that they can be friends. Scott rejects this offer, vowing to defeat Gideon. His band takes the contract anyway, exiling him in his misery.
The Damsel in Distress also applies to Ramona. She is the only real prize to be won between Scott and the exes. Scott’s goal is to free her from their control.
The Unfaithful Wife in the story would be Envy. Little is known about her other than the fact that she felt she outgrew her relationship with Scott and cheated on him and eventually left him for the bassist of her own band.

The Shadow
The shadow features quite literally in the film. Once Scott has defeated Gideon, he is approached by Nega-Scott, who is identical to him except completely gray and black, with glowing red eyes. Scott knows he has brought this enemy upon himself, so when Ramona and Knives offer to help him fight Nega-Scott, he declines saying that this is something he has to face alone. Because he has already repented and understood his dark side, Nega-Scott does not actually fight him. They are seen exiting together in a friendly conversation. This is for comedic effect, but still represents Scott’s overcoming of his dark side. Once he has passed Nega-Scott, he is finally allowed to reunite with Ramona and complete his adventure.

Conclusion
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is rich with Jungian archetypal imagery, and would be nearly empty without it. It combines humor with heavily stylzed action to create an incredibly enjoyable film, especially recognizable to residents of its Toronto setting.

Now, for your amusement, here is a bunny rabbit albino

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Situational Archetype-The Initiation. Elycia SFA

Post  ElyciaSFA on Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:20 pm

I think this is a great review of the movie. The only think I would add is another Situational Archetype: The Initiation which "usually takes the form of an initiation into adult life. The adolescent come into his/her maturity with new awareness and problems along with the new hope for the community. This awakening is often the climax of the story".
In the movie, Scott realizes he wants to be with Ramona, that she is the girl of his dreams, this symbolises the adolescent coming into maturity with new awareness. The initiation into adult life is the fact that he has to defeat all of Ramona's evil ex's in order to be with her.

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Scott Pilgram Response- Stefan Till

Post  Stefantill on Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:22 pm

I agree with alot of the content within this essay about Scott Pilgram, and you have done so with great grammar and spelling. However, I disagree with what you had to say in the Symbolic Archetypes-Water vs Desert about water barely being in Scott Pilgram. I believe that there was a lot of water throughout the movie in the form of snow. The snow has been able to provide much "life" for Scott, for example; his first date took place outside in the snow, which started a wonderful relationship. Another example would be how the majority of the fights took place indoors. Although there were a few occasions when Scott met his enemies outdoors, I don't feel that those moments apply. When Scott was ready to face the celebrity with the beard outdoors near Castle Loma, you will notice that the lights shining on the area melted the snow and the battle only took place within the melted area, creating a place of death where they fought. Everyone else was standing in the snow away from them in a place of life. Even when Scott is attacked by Roxy (the evil ex-girlfriend) in the snow, he doesn't end up fighting her.

This is a very good essay Alan and I enjoyed responding to it.
Stay classy San Diego. Stefan Out

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Re: Scott Pilgrim vs Archetypal Analysis

Post  Elliot Selby on Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:36 pm

Richardsons use of Good v. Evil seems perfectly fitting to the film, and really does dominate in terms of symbolic archetypes. However, his evaluation of some of the other archetypes is very curious, and perhaps is an allusion to the depth of the film. Furthermore, it does raise the question as to whether a situation archetype can have only one of the two battling forces, for example water vs. desert without the water. The description of Scott Pilgram as the hero seems perfectly fitting, and it does appear that Richardson has evidenced this fully. It would be interesting to think further about Gideon as the devil, or perhaps if he is simply a troubled soul.

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Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - The Temptress

Post  Misha2828 on Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:15 pm

This is a great analysis, and you covered pretty much everything. However, I do believe you missed the character archetype of Ramona as the temptress. From the moment he sees her in his dream, Scott is attracted to Ramona. Even though he is a good guy who has been cheated on before, he cheats on Knives to be with Ramona. Throughout the film, he seems to be falling downhill because of Ramona and her exes, and even though he comes back to life and is better for it, he is killed by Gideon because of her.

This was really great, and I enjoyed reading it.
Misha Harding

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Re: Scott Pilgrim vs Archetypal Analysis

Post  kara on Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:13 pm

I agree with Alan and Misha that Ramona acts as the Outcast, the Damsel in Distress, and The Temptress. I also see her and Scott as "Star-Crossed Lovers" throughout much of the movie. Star-Crossed Lovers are "engaged in a love affair that is fated to end tragically for one or both due to the disapproval of the society, friends, family or some tragic situation." Scott and Ramona's relationship is threatened due to the opposition of Ramona's exes. Throughout the film, these exes appear and try to prevent Scott and Ramona from seeing each other, which would result in the unhappiness of both. By this definition, Scott and Ramona qualify as star-crossed lovers.

That was a funny movie!

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Re: Scott Pilgrim vs Archetypal Analysis

Post  JamesNaunton on Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:09 pm

I adore your analysis Alan and I think you hit the nail on the head with the archetypes you chose. I would have mentioned Young Neil as being the trickster of the story, based on the fact that he doesn't do very much in the film other than crack jokes. I would have also tried to tackle Nega Scott as being a part of Scott's shadow, even though Nega Scott's role is not very major in the film.

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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:00 pm

Alan - very impressive and very through. Well done! Between you and the fantastic responses, I don't think I can add anything, except I sadly still haven't seen this movie Smile I have been chastised by more than one person for not seeing yet. I'll put it high on my list. I was impressed and appreciated the fact that you covered so many archetypes. I may use this as a model template in future years. Cheers!
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