tek's rating:

Shaun of the Dead (R)
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This came out in 2004, but I didn't see it until 2022. I wanted to see Dawn of the Dead first, just because of the play on words, but I didn't see that until 2021. There are apparently numerous references in the movie to other zombie movies, particularly "Dawn of the Dead", though I didn't manage to catch most of them. (I think the only one that was obvious to me was one from Night of the Living Dead.) "Shaun" is the first entry in the Cornetto Trilogy (aka the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy, aka the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy). The films are not directly related to each other, but they were all directed (and co-written) by Edgar Wright, and star Simon Pegg (co-writer) and Nick Frost. It is my understanding that many people consider this one of the greatest zombie movies ever made, in spite of (or in part because of) it being a comedy. Personally, I thought it was pretty good, but I didn't manage to like it as much as most critics or fans do.

It's about a Londoner named Shaun (Pegg), who has two roommates, Ed (Frost) and Pete. Ed is a bad influence on Shaun, holding him back from reaching his potential. Shaun basically sleepwalks through life, in a way that makes him sort of a metaphor for a zombie. (In fact, the film as a whole is a metaphor for people being zombie-like in the ways they live their lives.) He has a dead-end job and doesn't put enough effort into his relationship with his girlfriend, Liz, who dumps him. Throughout the early part of the film, there are amusing scenes where Shaun and Ed fail to notice zombies around them, perhaps because they expect people to act zombie-like, normally. (Though there are definitely times where Shaun is purely oblivious.) All this is rather amusing, but of course they eventually do realize there's a zombie apocalypse going on around them. By that time, Pete has already turned into a zombie, which isn't too disturbing, since he never got along with Shaun and Ed, anyway. Shaun decides he and Ed need to go pick up his mother, Barbara, and more reluctantly, his stepfather, Philip (Bill Nighy). Then he wants to pick up Liz and her roommates, David and Dianne. And he's decided the safest place for them to go is the pub they spend most of their time hanging out at, the Winchester. They face plenty of danger just getting there, and the danger only increases after they get there. And I don't think I can say any more without spoiling anything. But it does have an amusing ending.

Anyway... I feel like I should be saying more about the film's merits. Ed can be funny, but there are definitely moments when I don't like him. Shaun's a pretty good character, though. I did enjoy both his early obliviousness and his later heroics. And I liked the metaphors, and most of the humor. I'm sorry there's surely a lot I failed to pick up on about the movie, including its homages to other movies, as well as other qualities. It's the kind of movie that makes me wish I were better not only at analyzing movies, but at writing reviews.

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Cornetto Trilogy
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Shaun of the Dead * Hot Fuzz * The World's End