Are you ever too old to watch certain types of movies? Some of the early reviews coming out of Comic-Con, including one from our own Todd Gilchrist, suggested that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World might not connect as well with viewers unless they're part of "a generation of moviegoers that is acclimated to music video-era storytelling." The implication becomes: 'Hey, old farts over 30, you're too old to "get" this movie.' (Our second review, by Scott Weinberg, also touches upon this claim.)
To be fair, Todd's review should be read in its entirety, since I don't want to put words in his mouth, and that way you can see the tiny quote placed in the proper context of a much longer evaluation as he expressed his reaction to the movie. Other critics have been much more forceful by insisting only a limited audience will enjoy the movie and "get" the references. Still, it's a good question.
It may indeed be a "generational" thing as far as age is concerned, but I tend to think it's more about a certain sensibility, in the same way that "slow cinema" came under fire not long ago. Vadim Rizov provided an insightful roundup at IFC's Independent Eye blog on the backlash against arthouse films filled with slow, languorous master takes, and concluded by referring to Sturgeon's Law ("Ninety percent of everything is crud") and observing: "The problem isn't the mode, it's the average product. The exceptions are always what matter." Is that what's happening with Scott Pilgrim?
As a member of the middle-aged generation, I'm extra sensitive to any suggestion that I won't appreciate a movie because I'm too old to appreciate it, in the same way that a younger person might bristle at the idea that they might not like a movie I love because they're too young to appreciate it. This is where it gets tricky.
In my case, I've loved Edgar Wright's previous movies (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), and loved Spaced, the Brit TV show he directed. I've read and thoroughly enjoyed the first two Scott Pilgrim books by Bryan Lee O'Malley. I'm primed to enjoy the movie, even though I'm probably far outside the "target audience," and my only regret at this point is that I've missed attending three advance screenings!
So, yes, I think the marketing of the movie is one thing -- the studio marketers are charged with creating the biggest buzz with the biggest potential audience, and that audience (really, for just about any movie nowadays) is overwhelmingly younger and part of that "generation of moviegoers that is acclimated to music video-era storytelling."
How do you feel about the issue? Blown out of proportion? Something that happens with every movie? If you're younger, do you resent the idea that you're expected to like the movie, even if you have no interest in the subject matter? If you're older, do you choose to see movies based on their content or on their marketing? Sound off!