Created by: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Directed by: Edgar Wright
What sets it apart:
- Kinetic direction by Wright
- Consistently hilarious lead performances
- Strong combination of visual gags and British humour
- Hollywood-style action on small town scale
- Excellent production values
- Prime examples of mid-budget filmmaking
- Prudent use of pop culture references
- Provided a refreshing alternative to the Judd Apatow/SNL style of American comedy
- Introduced Wright, Pegg and Frost as talents to be reckoned with
- United by common motif of ice cream
SHAUN OF THE DEAD
The Story: Slacker Shaun (Simon Pegg), his best friend Ed (Nick Frost) and a ragtag group of suburbanites including Shaun’s ex-girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), mother (Penelope Wilton) and stepfather (Bill Nighy) must battle their way to the local pub to wait out a zombie apocalypse, dealing with personal problems along the way.
Strengths: Boasting an intelligent, tightly crafted, highly quotable script that allows for a good deal of heart between the laughs and the action, and bolstered by a particularly strong Simon Pegg performance, Shaun of the Dead is at once the trendsetter and high point of the Cornetto Trilogy.
* * * * *
The Story: London cop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) and wannabe Bad-Boy bobby Danny (Nick Frost) investigate a series of gruesome “accidents” in Sandford, the safest town in England.
Strengths: A strong supporting cast, hilarious but superbly executed action scenes and a script that at once parodies and enjoys it’s cop film/Agatha Christie roots.
Weaknesses: an increased budget brought with it an increased running time, and there were fewer of the tender scenes that interspersed Shaun. Nevertheless, Hot Fuzz is still a cut above the rest.
* * * *
THE WORLD’S END
The Story: Alcoholic Brit-punk man-child Gary King (Simon Pegg), four of his secondary school friends (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan) and an old flame (Rosamund Pike) try to complete their hometown’s legendary pub crawl while evading alien robots.
Strengths: Simon Pegg delivers a career best performance, and Wright enlisted the cream of his repertory in the finest ensemble cast of the Cornetto Trilogy (with Nick Frost, as the straight man, going against type). The film has moments of depth that rival Shaun of the Dead, with a concept and execution that rivals Hot Fuzz.
Weaknesses: The balance between emotional moments and comedy was not fully achieved, resulting in several clashes of tone. I also felt the climax, though fitting in the context of the story, did not tie in with the, dare I say it, down-to-earth-edness of the previous installments. However, the laughs and action are top-notch as always, and the film deserves credit for its ambition, and as a bittersweet farewell to an excellent trilogy.
* * * *