Okay, so here we go with the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright film that started off the whole shebang. Shaun of the Dead, that classic film that everyone and their mother owns (well my mom likes it in any case) truly is a spectacular romantic spoof about zombies. Let’s see if I can remember back to the first time I watched it…
Back when I first laid eyes on this film, I’m pretty sure I had no idea who Simon Pegg was. I hadn’t seen Spaced (not until much later) and I was woefully unaware of what hilarious
A wonderful cast doing it on the night.
antics lay before me in this film. Leave it to the British to be so damn clever that they turn a zombie movie into one of the funniest films of the last 10 years (soon to be followed by Hot Fuzz). The first in what hopes to be a trilogy entitled “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” (every film so far has featured a Cornetto), I laughed hysterically (or at least I think I did back in 2004) to Shaun of the Dead.
A lot of the zombies in the film are shown in other scenes, and are fans of Spaced or just happened to be around the time of shooting.
Fantastic plot ensuing. Shaun (Simon Pegg) has an average life with a girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) who expects a bit more from their relationship. Ed (Nick Frost) lives in a shared flat with Shaun and their dickish roommate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), and every night ends at the Winchester pub. After Shaun was supposed to finally arrange a nice night out, he messes up after a scrambled day at work, and Liz breaks it off with him. Planning on doing anything to get her back, Shaun and Ed wake up the next day to a zombie apocalypse. Guess things’ll be a bit more complicated than planned.
Let’s start with the filming. This movie, which, in my adolescence I thought was directed by Simon Pegg, was creatively done by Edgar Wright. With the combined writing and direction powers of
See, it’s gotta be good, she’s smiling.
Wright/Pegg, there’s nothing they couldn’t do. This movie uses interesting and dramatic quick cuts, ominously toned music at ironic parts, and comedic timing within the camera angles and cuts. It does mean a lot for a camera’s direction and cinematography to dictate the pacing and comedy of a film. This one has that. You’ll see the same thing in Hot Fuzz (a more action-y edge) and Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs The World (a review I did a while ago).
That’s some classic Nighy right there.
The cast is also full of a bunch of wonderful British actors. Of course there’s the Simon Pegg/ Nick Frost bromance/friendship duo. It’s the only couple in Hollywood that I would consciously ship together despite just being two men who are friends. You have Dylan Moran, star of Black Books and the recently reviewed A Film With Me in It. This Irish actor plays the dick and four eyes, David. But he’s a lot more than that and shows up in other Simon Pegg vehicles. I give this guy his props, he’s damn funny. There’s Lucy Davis who plays the slightly slow failed actress, Dianne. Most British comedy fans will know of her from the UK’s Office as Dawn, one of my favorites (I currently worship Ricky Gervais). There’s Bill Nighy, POTC’s Davy Jones and Underworld’s head vamp and one of my mom’s favorite British actors. A cameo is made by Rafe Spall, son of Timothy Spall as Noel, one of Shaun’s co-workers at the tech shop. He’s slimmed down a bit for other roles and most recently
The Wright stuff.
appeared in Prometheus (you gotta check him out, he’s going places).
This movie’s just a great watch and gets better every time you watch it with inside jokes and new groups of friends tuning in. (At least in my experience.) There’s nothing wrong with it, and it delivers on the horror fan and comedy fan that both dwell within me. If you’re any sort of a geek and love sci-fi/video games/movies/fantasy, this movie is for you. It’s a cricket bat to the head and worth all the injuries. 9.3 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 2004, A Film With Me In It, average life, Bill Nighy, Black Books, British comedy, bromance, cameo, camera angles, classic film, collaboration, comedy fan, cricket bat, cuts, damn clever, damn funny, David, Davy Jones, Dawn, delivers on all levels, Dianne, dick roommate, dictate the pacing, Dylan Moran, Ed, Edgar Wright, fantastic plot, fantasy, four eyes, friendship duo, funniest films of the decade, geek, gets better every time you watch it, girlfriend, great comedic writing, great filming technique, great watch, head vampire, hilarious antics, Hollywood, horror fan, Hot Fuzz, inside jokes, Irish actor, ironic, Kate Ashfield, Liz, Lucy Davis, movies, Nick Frost, Noel, ominously toned, Pete, Peter Serafinowicz, Pirates of the Caribbean, Prometheus, quick cuts, Rafe Spall, Ricky Gervais, romantic comedy spoof with zombies, sci-fi, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Shaun, Shaun of the Dead, ship together, Simon Pegg, slimmed down, Spaced, superb comedic timing, tech shop, tension, The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, Timothy Spall's son, trilogy, UK The Office, Underworld, video games, Winchester pub, wonderful British cast, zombie apocalypse, zombie movie | posted in Movies
So I sat down last night and watched this movie finally. I had thought about seeing it in theaters and decided against. I find myself in the realm of good decisions waiting for this one for DVD. Alright, so to sum up this movie. Scott has an Asian girlfriend, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) and then meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and must defeat her seven evil exes (a reoccurring joke that doesn’t seem funny). The whole movie is shot in a music infused video game style with stylized violence throughout. At first as I watched, I felt, okay, this movie could go PG. Nope. turned PG-13 pretty quickly. A sensual scene here, a swear there, and it turned in to what was a feeble attempt at a PG-13 movie. Edgar Wright did a fantastic job directing and worked well with the style he decided to pursue. Almost all the comedy comes from the visual effects and looks fantastic (one movie I would see in theaters in 3D).
Apart from this, I was greatly distressed by the level of acting in this movie. To start things off, Michael Cera was awful. He came of as a gangly, falsetto pedophile who didn’t belong in the movie. I must say I like Michael Cera, but more Youth in Revolt level acting. He lent his quips and awkward charm to the movie, but to no avail. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was fine, I think she’s beautiful and brought a solid B+ performance to the movie. I loved her in Black Xmas, but that’s for another time. (Horror movies are on a whole other level for me.) Allison Pill came off as extremely annoying, albeit she was Scott’s ex-girlfriend. Mark Webber brought the humor as the band’s erratic and easily frightened front man, although I haven’t seen Mark since Snow Day back in 2000 (that really dates my movie experiences…). Kieran Culkin was fantastic as Scott’s homosexual roommate, Wallace. If I had to compare him to any actor, I would consider him a more refined version of Tobey Maguire.
Some high points of the movie stand out to me which I wasn’t expecting at all. Jason Schwartzman’s small role towards the end was fantastic as Ramona’s strongest evil ex. Although not the typical A-list shizz that he normally does, I enjoyed his part. Let me also just say that Tom Jane’s guest appearance in the movie was badass. I won’t tell you now but, if anything, this movie is worth watching for his cameo. Mae Whitman was fantastic as Ramona’s lesbian phase. I see it as a tribute that they would include Michael Cera’s former ex-girlfriend from Arrested Development, Ann, into the mix. Bravo. To round it off, Chris Evans part was great as the cheesy action film star and all around tool. I’ve liked him in comedies ever since Not Another Teen Movie and he’s always great at it.
All in all, the movie was quite good, but mostly lacking in overall acting and delivery. To have a movie’s visual effects overtake the acting and comedy of the situations of those actors is poor, although this movie wasn’t at all about the acting really. And for that, I give it a 6.6 out of 10.
Shot from the movie.
Leave a comment | tags: Allison Pill, Ann, Arrested Development, Black Christmas, Black Xmas, Chris Evans, Edgar Wright, Ellen Wong, homosexual roommate, Jason Schwartzman, Kieran Culkin, Knives Chau, lesbian phase, Mae Whitman, Mark Webber, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael Cera, music infused, Not Another Teen Movie, poor acting, poor line delivery, Ramona Flowers, Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, seven evil exes, Shaun of the Dead, Snow Day, stylized filming, Tobey Maguire, Tom Jane, video game, visual humor, Youth in Revolt | posted in Movies