“The Cornetto Trilogy” (aka “Shaun of the Dead” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End”)

L-R: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End

One of the greatest trilogies of all time, Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy” contains some of the greatest film comedies since the new millennium on both sides of the Atlantic.  Although each film is fundamentally different, they all contain common themes: they are usually a smart parody of a genre (Shaun of the Dead was Zombies, Hot Fuzz was Cops, and The World’s End was disaster/robot movies), they contain main performances and writing collaborations between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Wright’s cohorts on the show Spaced); Finally, the films contain an extremely high body count, a fence jumping scene, and a cornetto of some kind.  To go deeper into each film, this reviewer will now look at each individually and discuss its various merits in relation to the whole trilogy.

Shaun of the Dead (2004): The first part of the trilogy is Shaun of the Dead, one of the movies that led to the great Zombie movie revival of the early 2000s.  The movie concerns Shaun (Pegg) who likes hanging out with his drug-dealing roommate Ed (Frost) and going to the pub.  This causes a great case of arrested development within Shaun due to the fact that his girlfriend has just broken up with him, and he is stuck in a dead end job.  All of this is put on hold however because of ZOMBIES!!!!

Eventually, Shaun hatches a plan that involves Ed, Shaun’s Girlfriend, Shaun’s Mum, and Shaun’s Girlfriend’s roommates to all go to their local pub and wait out the incoming zombie horde.  Filled with great gags, plus surprising instances of serious drama (especially the scenes of Shaun with his Mum), Shaun of the Dead served as a great start to the trilogy that also launched the next film of the series.

Frost and Pegg eating a Cornetto in “Hot Fuzz”

Hot Fuzz (2007): Probably the most over the top of the entire trilogy, Hot Fuzz starts out blazing and pulls no punches.  While Shaun of the Dead certainly had moments of emotional resonance and scenes of serious drama, Hot Fuzz is firmly planted in action comedy.  Pegg plays Sgt. Nicholas Angel, recently transferred to the town of quiet town of Sanford, England where he is idolized by puppy-eyed Danny (Frost) his new partner.  While the village may appear quiet and quaint, a string of grizzly murders has over taken the town and it is up to Angel and Danny to put a stop to them.  Containing great parody sequences, which also serve as homages, Hot Fuzz is definitely the most lighthearted of the trilogy, and one that is more concerned with having fun and making people laugh; something the next one tried with a bit more of gravitas.

The World’s End (2013): The last of the trilogy, and probably the closest of emotions in relation to Shaun of the Dead, the world’s ends finds the actors and creators contemplating their own old age and whether or not you can go back to the same old tricks again.  Unlike other installments of the trilogy, Pegg is the goofy more aloof character, while Nick Frost takes up the mantle as straight man.  This creates a different dynamic and it allows Pegg and Frost to show off their acting skills and expand their horizons.  The movie concerns with slacker Gary King (Pegg) who attempts to corral all of his high school friends into tackling the famous Pub Crawl that bested them 18 years earlier.  While each of his friends have grown up and married, Gary is still the same person he was 18 years ago and takes nothing seriously.  During the pub crawl, they notice that the entire town has been replaced by robots and it is up to them to stop the robots before they takeover humanity.

While the film does have more plot lapses and feels a bit more forced than its predecessors, it is interesting to note how the dynamics have changed between the previous films in the series to this one: while the previous films all were about having fun and being able to conquer whatever obstacles were in the way, The World’s End is more about growing older and how sometimes you have to leave your old life behind in order to become a better person.

The entire series is incredible and they are definitely some of the finest comedies to be made in the first two decades of the 2000s.  Pull up a pint and watch!

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