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Blu-ray Review: The Ultimate Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy (‘The World’s End’ / ‘Hot Fuzz’ / ‘Shaun of the Dead’)

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In conjunction with the release of The World’s End, Universal has also released “The Ultimate Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy,” which collects the three films by director Edgar Wright that he co-wrote with actor Simon Pegg, who played the leads: The World’s End, Hot Fuzz, and Shaun of the Dead.

Shaun of the Dead (2004) starts off appearing to be a ’90s Gex-X love story as nearly-30-year-old Shaun, loses his girlfriend because he puts so little thought into their relationship that his only ideas for dates involve going to the Winchester, the local pub, and hanging out with their friends, in particular his best friend Ed (Nick Frost), a total slacker who sleeps on Shaun’s couch to the great annoyance of his roommate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz).  The day after Liz (Kate Ashfield) breaks up with Shaun he attempts to sort out his life, but that gets put on hold because the town must deal with a zombie infestation.  Shaun and Ed determine the local pub would be the safest place to hide, so Shaun decides to round up his mother and Liz, but things don’t go according to plan as friends, loved ones, and even people he doesn’t like succumb to the monsters.

Hot Fuzz (2007) features Nicholas Angel (Pegg), a by-the-book police officer that is so gung ho and good at his job his superiors promote him to Sergeant and transfer him from London to the small country village of Sandford because he makes the rest of them look bad.  The transition to the laid-back, rural lifestyle proves difficult at the onset for the tightly wound Nicholas as his first night in town, before even starting the new job, finds him making a number of arrests, including a drunk driver.  The next morning he discovers that soused scofflaw was PC Danny Butterman (Frost), son of his new boss Inspector Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent), and gets assigned Danny as his partner.  Sandford has very little in the way of crime thanks in part to the village’s overly attentive Neighbourhood Watch Alliance, but when a series of grisly deaths occur that Nicholas believes are murders, he gets to put his skills into action.

The World’s End (2013) begins with Gary King (Pegg) organizing his old gang from high school, or whatever the UK equivalent is, for a visit to their hometown of Newton Haven for a notable pub crawl known as the Golden Mile, which constitutes drinking a beer in 12 different pubs.  They all tried one night about 20-odd years ago, but failed.  Gary thinks completing the Golden Mile will bring some him insight or closure because that night was the greatest in his life and he’s been unable to find that same level of bliss again.  Gary’s friends, Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Andy (Nick Frost) have settled down.  They have jobs; some have families.  They haven’t seen much of him or each other, but with a bit of emotional pressure from Gary, they all agree to reunite.  Once back in Newton Haven, the fellas think the town has changed, a natural occurrence many people experience when they move away to a bigger city and realize their small town isn’t as special as once thought.  But there’s something more to it.  Gary gets into a fight with a local teenager, who turns out to be a robot, and the friends discover the town has changed more than they realized.

Although the idea of a trilogy started as a joke during the Hot Fuzz press tour, the three films have similarities.  Wright and Pegg have written great scripts with intriguing characters and compelling plots.  Each film is a funny comedy set within a genre film (The World’s End/science fiction, Hot Fuzz/action, and Shaun of the Dead/zombie) that includes references to other movies.  They also deal with the thematic idea of the individual vs. society with each taking up for the individual, no matter how flawed, rather than succumbing to the group and losing one’s identity.  Wright’s directing style reveals a thorough understanding of his available tools as seen in such elements as camera placement, editing decisions, and music choices.

The Blu-rays all offer a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encodes with DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio.  The video from each movie delivers solid colors and very good detail.  The audio offers a satisfying surround experience.  Each disc is overloaded with extras that put most releases to shame.  I am not going to list them all, but just identify the highlights.  They are in SD unless noted.

Shaun of the Dead has four commentaries, one with the creative team of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright; one with actors Pegg, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Kate Ashfield, and Lucy Davis; one with actors Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton, who played his parents, which was previously only available on the R2 DVD; and one comprised of the actors who played zombies.  Under “Missing Bits” are Extended Bits (13 min) and Outtakes (10 min), which are self-explanatory and Plot Holes (3 min), which uses sketches to help cover information that may have been left out of the story.  Under “Raw Meat,” there are video diaries from Simon Pegg (12 min), Lucy Davis (12 min), and Joe Cornish (10 min).  There are the phony “TV Bits” that appear in the film, trailers, and different galleries. 

Hot Fuzz has five commentaries from Pegg and Wright; one with actors Pegg, Frost, Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Kevin Eldon, and Olivia Colman; one with Wright and fellow director Quentin Tarantino; one with actors Kenneth Cranham, Timothy Dalton, Paul Freeman, and Edward Woodward; and onw with police officers Andy Leafe and Nick Endland who served as consultants on the film.  There are “Inadmissible: Deleted Scenes” (20 min), Outtakes (10 min), the behind-the-scenes “Conclusive: We Made Hot Fuzz” (29 min), 13 Video Blogs (30 min), and “Hearsay: Plot Holes & Comparisons” (9 min). “Falsified: Dead Right” (40 min) is a film by 18-year-old college student Edgar Wright influenced by Dirty Harry.  It comes with two commentaries, one by Wright and one by Pegg and Frost, and even a making-of featurette (10 min).  The Fuzzball Rally (71 min) follows Wright, Pegg, Frost, and Joe Cornish during their American press tours and reveals their silly behavior as it wore on

The World’s End has commentaries from Wright and Pegg; Wright with Director of Photography Bill Pope, and one with actors Pegg, Frost and Paddy Considine.  “Completing the Golden Mile – The Making of The World’s End” (HD, 48 min) covers aspects like how the script was created.  With a bigger budget, the film also had to be bigger in scale.  “Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of The World’s End” (HD, 28 min) is the main piece devoted to this, but there are also looks at Animatics (11 min), VFX Breakdown (HD, 9 min) and Stunt Tapes of “Bathroom Fight” (3 min), “Twinbot Fight” (2 min) and “Beehive Fight” (4 min).  There’s even a look at the “Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy” (5 min).

For fans of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and these movies that don’t own any of them on Blu-ray yet, “The Ultimate Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy” is must to add to your video library as it will long be remembered and cited among the great movie trilogies of all time.  Plus, there are the hours upon hours of movie minutia to explore.  These are Blu-rays assembled by people who love movies and Blu-rays.

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS