Monday, November 17, 2014
The Cornetto Trilogy!
Recently had the pleasure of finally getting to see The World's End, the final installment of the impromptu "Cornetto Trilogy" from Simon Pegg and Ed Wright. If I understand this correctly, this is the only really self-conscious part of the trilogy, the other two (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) being thematically similar but not necessarily tied together until it occurred to Pegg and Wright to finish off with his yarn about five old friends who want to reenact a pub crawl from their heady youth.
To that end and led by their charismatic, but decidedly self-absorbed leader Gary King, the others named Andy Knightly, Steven Prince, Oliver Chamberlain, and Peter Page (symbolism alert) attempt to fulfill their quest to drink twelve pints in twelve different pubs in one knight despite the discovery that their hometown has been invaded by alien robots from space.
This is a cunningly crafted story, smart and briskly paced, and wonderfully acted by a cast which is up to the demands of emotional range and action fisticuffs the parts demand. I really enjoyed this classic spin on modern life and the middle age crisis and the movie had an ending I didn't see coming at all.
Hot Fuzz from 2007 is a taut action story about a supremely dedicated police officer name Nick Angel who is just too good for his peers to keep around, so he's shipped off to the tiny hamlet of Sandford, a quiet community which seems on the surface a model town but is in fact ripe with crime and murder. That sounds pretty grim, but this is a blazingly entertaining hop, a movie that keeps its head about it all the time as the mystery unravels before our eyes.
The actors in this one is a who's who of British talents with familiar faces such as Timothy Dalton and Edward Woodward aboard to give it a proper heft. Incredibly smart and tightly edited this movie keeps you on your toes as the twists and turns are literally always popping up.
Shaun of the Dead, the movie from 2004 that started all this with a witty take on the sometimes tired zombie movie. By making this movie really about a mildly unhappy man who is missing out on love because he's too absorbed in the day-to-day details of his life we are properly distracted when a zombie plague slowly but inevitably descends on London.
Of the three films, this one holds up the least well in my estimation, since sadly it had a smaller budget than its successors and despite some incredibly deft storytelling lacks the capability to sell a truly city-wide plague. We do though get a rather bohemian version of the zombie apocalypse which for once doesn't seem to be about the special effects. I get absolutely weary of zombie movie criticism being all about the make-up, it's nice to see one in which the zombies are merely one other element in a compelling story.
These three movies, all co-written by star and director Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright respectively, co-star Nick Frost as well some other dandy actors like Martin Freeman and Paddy Considine. The movies get their trilogy title from the Cornetto ice creams which make an appearance in all three. That was a fluke in the first two, but a point in the final installment.
These are hip smart movies which take three genres I generally enjoy and giving them a compelling twist. They are indeed worth your time.