There are plenty of minor elements in the movie Scott Pilgrim vs The World that zip by in the background of the plot from familiar video game sound effects to tropes to blink-and-you'll-miss-it gags, but one of the most interesting aspects that most people miss when watching the film has to be the heavy use of numbers as icons and themes. The best part is that these numbers are hidden right in plain sight. Cracked has a list of "7 Movies That Put Insane Work Into Details You Didn't Notice"; Mr. Pilgrim's antics clock in at number five.
Everybody knows Scott Pilgrim was as full of video game references as it was quirky women with inexplicable girl-boners for Canadians. What you may not have noticed, however, were the recurring number themes running throughout: Remember how Scott fights seven "evil exes," and progresses through their seven respective levels? Well, each one of those exes is himself a number, and everything about him reflects that fact. Scott is the exception, so he's zero: He gets called zero, he drinks Coke Zero and he wears a shirt with "zero" on it.
Matthew Patel, the first evil ex, has only one eye (or at least it appears that way, because of his haircut, which we'll call the Emo Combover). He poses by pointing in the air (with one hand) and gets called "that one guy." Lucas Lee, the second, stays in trailer #2 and says it'll take "two minutes to kick your ass" and that the staircase he grinds down has "like 200 steps." Todd Ingram is in a three-piece band and, like Scott, also wears his number on his shirt.
The Roxy Richter fight happens in a club called "4," the Katayanagi twins (numbers 5 and 6) turn their music up to 11 and have five syllables in their last name (six with the first name) and the final, seventh boss is Gideon (whose name starts with G, the seventh letter of the alphabet). All right, you know what? This all seems like reaching. Even we're not buying it anymore. Nobody's that crazy about numbers, save for Rain Men and certain species of felted vampire.
This is probably all just weird coincidence.
Except director Edgar Wright verified every one of those claims; it was all his insane pet project during filming. It turned the corner from subtle to overt during the final showdown, starting from the moment Scott walks into the club.
I'm tellin' ya, that movie has layers upon layers. I caught it on HBO late one night last week when I was falling asleep and still found new elements that I'd not noticed on previous viewings. It's really a shame that it didn't do better at the box office. The Cracked list has plenty of non-gaming items on it that are worth a look as well including bits from The Matrix and Ghostbusters (it turns out that Dan Aykroyd is a second-generation demon hunter), but the Pilgrim material struck me as the most meticulous and best hidden gag of anything else offered.