I suppose I should get this out of the way: I apologize. Very shortly after thanking all of you for the incredible milestone of 50 followers (I know, I can’t believe it either!), I dropped off the map and missed a post on Monday. And for that, I sincerely apologize. And, as penance, I shall review three films all at once. So strap in, and let’s get dangerous.
Now, The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (or, as many call it, simply The Cornetto Trilogy) is a set of three unconnected British comedies that are all collaborations between Spaced alumnis Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost, along with a few other carry-overs between films. The only other connection is that a different flavor (or flavour, for the Brits who read this blog) of Cornetto ice cream cone appears in each film, strawberry in Shaun of the Dead, original in Hot Fuzz, and mint chip in The World’s End (albeit only in wrapper form). The trilogy originally was never conceived as such, only coming about as such when, after a Cornetto cone was featured in Hot Fuzz as a callback to Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright was asked on the red carpet about the connection. He jokingly responded that they represented a trilogy comparable to Krzysztof Kieślowski’s (no idea how to pronounce that by the way) Three Colors Trilogy. You know the one. I didn’t. I googled it. It goes Blue, White, Red.
Anyways, after making this joke, Wright seriously thought on it, and it ended up becoming a reality, with The World’s End wrapping up themes of growing up present in the prior films. Each of the films is funny in that they’re all genre-bending flicks worthy of the great Tarantino (who actually did a commentary on Hot Fuzz with Wright, I’ve heard it’s great, but have yet to check it out). Wright himself has described them each as a “Trojan horse”, “genre films that have a relationship comedy smuggled inside a zombie movie, a cop movie and a sci-fi movie”. So let’s talk about each of those, shall we?
Oh, Shaun of the Dead. The one that started it all. Some say this is the best of the bunch. I respectfully disagree. This was Wright and Pegg finding their footing, but, in their case, that’s them taking off running, but not quite as fast or as well as they would in later installments. Shaun of the Dead is great, and a genius send-up/satire of zombie flicks of the past and present, including a particular hilarious gag mocking 28 Days Later.
Simon Pegg is Shaun, a 30-ish slacker who leads a quiet, simple, boring life, along with his sloppy, somehow more immature best friend, Nick Frost’s Ed. Shaun’s having difficulties with his girlfriend, Liz, who wants him to grow up when zombies attack. Hilarity ensues. And by hilarity, I mean subtle, sly humour that sometimes takes a second, third, or even fourth viewing to notice. That’s a common them throughout these movies, they’re so dense, every single frame has so many things going on.
And that’s where some of SOTD’s biggest strengths lie: in it’s subtlety and human drama. It’s not quite so laugh-out-loud hilarious as the other two, but it’s still quite funny. A well-done British comedy with great performances and distinctive direction, Shaun of the Dead earns an A-.
The second, and best, film in the Cornetto Trilogy, Hot Fuzz follows Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), a workaholic London constable who has to deal with being transferred to a small town, with considerably less crime. Or is it?! Umm…I mean, or does it? Or is there? Yeah. Or is there?!
A series of “accidents” happen, and I won’t spoil where it goes from there. I won’t. I will not tell how the murder mystery portion of the plot turns out. I will not!
Whatever. So, anyways, Hot Fuzz, is, in my opinion, the best of the Cornetto Trilogy. A twisting and turning murder mystery with great action and witty dialogue, Hot Fuzz doesn’t forget to incl
ude compelling human drama to balance it out. The relationship between Sgt. Angel and Nick Frost’s Danny Butterman is great, with Simon Pegg once again nailing the comedic “straight man,” and Nick Frost shining in the role, in particular in one scene, as the pair discuss the cliches of action movies, and how they don’t apply t
o real life, then the film proceeds to later present all f those cliches in an overblown, hilarious third act. Truly a masterpiece of comedy and drama, Hot Fuzz earns an A+.
The World’s End differs slightly from its predecessors in that it is a much more laugh-out-loud kind of hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, it still retains the subtle, hidden jokes, but also gains many, much more uproarious jokes. Not necessarily a detractor, but it’s still different, you know what I mean? They’re different, right? They’re all individuals.
Anyways, in The World’s End, the roles have been flopped. Now, it’s Nick Frost playing the straight man to Simon Pegg’s man-child.
Simon Pegg is Gary King, an immature 40-year-old stuck in the past, more specifically, on a pub crawl the last day of high school, where he and his mates attempted, and failed, the Golden Mile, a legendary path taking them through all 12 pubs in their small town. He manages to convince all of them, including Nick Frost’s Andy Knightley, an estranged (for reasons later revealed) best friend. Everyone but King has moved on, and become successful, even the town, which has lost much of its personality, becoming, as the film puts it, “Starbucked.” Many, if not all, of the pubs are extremely similar and have lost their charm, and none of the people remember Gary and company. We find out this is because aliens have invaded and replaced 99% of the populace with robots. Well, not really robots.
The film continues as the (former) friends attempt to blend in by continuing the Golden Mile, battling “blanks” and becoming progressively drunker.
Now, if I’ve yet to make it clear, I love The World’s End. I think that it is one of, if not the, funniest movies I have ever seen in my life. The action is stunningly well choreographed, the effects are fantastic, the performances are great, the comedy is spot-on, and the drama goes to a surprisingly dark place, dealing with the eventual consequences of a perpetual adolescence like the one lived by King. It is seriously sad how much his seemingly wonderful life has affected him.
An outrageously hilarious, yet poignant genre-defying sci-fi flick, World’s End receives an A.
Well, there you have it. Do you agree with my thoughts? Disagree? Which of the Cornetto Trilogy is your favorite? If you’d like, comment below to let me know. If you want to, and haven’t already, check me out on Twitter @ThatOtherCritic, I will reply to any and all @ mentions. But, until that fateful day, I’ll see all y’all in the next post. Bye!