In 2004, British writer and director Edgar Wright’s “Shaun of the Dead” took the world by storm. The film, marketed as a romantic comedy with zombies, was made with a budget of just $5 million and raked in over $30 million in total gross from around the world. Critics applauded the film’s boldness for its themes and self-confidence. They adored the fact that it was a fantastic zombie film that had something new to add to the genre, while paying homage to the illustrious careers of films and filmmakers, such as George A. Romero. Both Wright and the film’s stars, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, are now known internationally.
Three years later, Wright, Frost and Pegg collaborated on their next film, “Hot Fuzz.” The film told the story of a pair of police officers who are assigned to be partners and must investigate a series of grizzly and violent accidents in a small village. As with “Shaun of the Dead,” critics raved about “Hot Fuzz’s” confidence and homages to the action genre as a whole, and it was clear that both films dealt with some of the same themes and ideas. However, it was not until Wright was doing press for the film that a question about the film’s relationship to each other was asked.
“When we were promoting ‘Hot Fuzz’ someone pointed out the Cornetto connection and asked if we were going to make a trilogy. And I said, ‘Yes, it’s going to be like Kieslowski’s ‘Three Colors,’ but three flavors. So it was a silly joke in an interview that got recycled and repeated,’” Wright told reporter Tom Huddleston from London’s timeout.com.
And thus, the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy was born. Three films, all with the same themes and ideas, connected by Cornetto Ice Cream, with each Cornetto representing an aspect of the film. In Shaun, the strawberry Cornetto makes an appearance to represent the abundance of blood and gore in the film. In Fuzz, the classic blue Cornetto appeared to reflect the police officers.
“The World’s End,” the final film of the Cornetto trilogy, is now in theaters and, suffice it to say, Wright and the crew saved the best Cornetto for last.
“The World’s End” follows a group of five friends who return to their hometown to attempt to finish a pub crawl they failed to finish when they were teenagers. However, all is not as it seems in the quaint town of Newton-Haven, and the group of men find that they are in for more than they bargained for when they must fight so-called robots if they hope to survive the night.
The film stars Wright’s usual collaborators Pegg and Frost as well as Martin Freeman (“The Hobbit,” and BBC’s “Sherlock”), Eddie Marsan (“V For Vendetta”), Paddie Considine (“Hot Fuzz”) and Rosamund Pike (“Die Another Day”). All five men have a fantastic chemistry together. However, one gets the sense that with this particular Cornetto film, Frost and Pegg are more in their element than ever before. Although Frost usually plays the immature, flawed character with Pegg as the straight man, the two actors roles are reversed and it works beautifully. Although Pegg’s character Gary may be the more humorous of the two, once the action starts it’s Frost’s Andy who steals the show.
Also in their element for this outing is Wright, whose direction is nearly flawless. Wright’s keen eye for beautifully composed shots and choreographed fight scenes never ceases to amaze, and it is a guarantee that he is always doing something unique with the camera. From his long, single-take action shots to his stylized fight sequences, Wright continuously proves to show that he is one of the most creative and talented minds currently in cinema.
The same can be said for Pegg, who co-wrote the script with Wright. Both men manage to find the perfect balance between show-stopping action, laugh-out-loud comedy and touching dramatic moments. Despite masterfully done fight scenes and the signature British humor, it’s the film’s complicated and unexpected themes that make it a true winner. Despite the premise and the humor, what lies beneath is some fairly deep issues including commentary on the roles technology and social networking play in our lives as well as the fear of growing up and moving on. Although the jokes are absolutely hilarious, it’s the more touching moments that give the film its impact.
As for the signature Cornetto? Well that’s in there, too. The mint wrapper makes an appearance to represent the film’s sci-fi roots. Several other inside jokes from the series make appearances as well. Although the film’s homages and references are a bit toned down, it is still very clear that “The World’s End” is a passion project and Wright and Pegg’s love of the genre oozes off screen and is absolutely infectious.
At the end of it all, “The World’s End” is the most satisfying conclusion to one of the better and most enjoyable trilogies of all time. Not only is it the best Cornetto film, it is perhaps the best film of the summer as well. It’s a film you and your friends will surely not want to miss.
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