41 – The Cornetto Trilogy – Hot Fuzz

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Onto the second film in the not so official Cornetto Trilogy and if you read my previous blog seen here https://08stockdaleb.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/40-the-cornetto-trilogy-shaun-of-the-dead/ (smooth plug of a previous blog ;)) then you would know that Hot Fuzz is possibly my favourite film ever. So as far as blog posts go, this is one of the most personal for me that I’ve done so far. If that doesn’t make you want to read on then you might as well never read this blog again.

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So why is this my favourite film you ask. Or maybe you don’t but I’m answering anyway. First of all, I’ll begin with the story. I am a big fan of crime drama’s. Anything with a mystery where the audience have a chance to try to work out what might have happened really excites me as it adds that extra layer of audience participation. You can sit and watch the film and put yourselves in the position of the characters and take note of clues and information as the characters do. So this murder mystery element coupled with large scale action sequences where two characters take on a whole village and of course the hilarious comedy that you come to expect with a Pegg, Wright and Frost film creates a spectacularly satisfying film to watch.

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Also one of the reasons the whole trilogy is such a favourite of mine is that every film is set in Britain and stars a predominantly British cast. This film sees Nicholas Angel played by Pegg is a big city cop who is transferred to the countryside. This is another reason that I love this film as it then becomes a american style action thriller that is set in the British countryside. It’s rare enough to see films set in the British countryside let alone action films. This is part of the irony of the story as the village in which it’s set, Sandford, is seen as a sickly sweet community where everyone knows everyone but in reality there is a murderous group who are manipulating the village who are armed to the teeth which is so unexpected and funny to watch. A lot of the action scenes take place in very British landmarks including market squares and supermarkets which are such ordinary locations which yet again is so great to see as it is so rare to see that in films.

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The cast is a step up from Shaun of the Dead, many of the same cast are present however great additions are made in the likes of Jim Broadbent as a corrupt police officer, Timothy Dalton as the suave red herring who owns the local supermarket. There is also Olivia Colman, Cate Blanchett, Steve Coogan, Bill Bailey, Steven Merchant and the returning faces of Martin Freeman and Bill Nighy. The cast really do give great performances and every cast member gets at least one funny line to say and every joke hits home.

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Simon Pegg and Nick Frost turn in another great double act together, this time we see it develop more as Simon’s character Nicholas is quite abrasive towards Nick’s character Danny at the start of the film but as the plot progresses Danny turns Nick into a more well rounded character who isn’t just focused on his job. There was actually supposed to be a love interest for Nicholas called Victoria in the original drafts of the script however Pegg and Wright, who also wrote the film, decided the character was arbitrary and that the real ‘romance’ in the story is the ‘bromance’ between Pegg and Frost’s characters. Apparently some of Victoria’s lines were directly given to Danny with little change to them at all. I believe this was a good idea as a love interest would, as they suggested, just been a pointless addition to the film, a lot of films and television shows seem to feel it necessary to have a romantic side to the story so much so that it’s difficult to create an original love story anymore. So it was definitely a wise decision and I think it’s much more of a pleasure for the audience to see as much as possible of the Pegg and Frost dynamic that make there films so great to watch.

As usual Edgar Wright brings his signature style of very fast cuts hyperactive camera shots and editing in general that he has brought to practically every film he’s worked on. It works particularly well in this film when there is a murder being cross cut with a more average scene for example when George Merchant’s house is being exploded which is cross cut with Nicholas and Danny watching action films. This technique was used a lot in Spaced where Pegg’s character Tim would be playing video games and this would be cross cut with a more dramatic scene. Wright can make seemingly average events like a pint glass being filled with beer feel really dramatic and because of this every film he does is really interesting visually and exciting to watch even at the moments where relatively nothing interesting is actually happening.

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Now I started this post by saying that this was my favourite film ever, however I hadn’t seen Shaun of the Dead for around three years before last night and I had forgotten just how great that film was. Now that I have seen it and Hot Fuzz within the same couple of days has confused me on which one I prefer. On one hand Hot Fuzz has more action, guns, a larger cast, a murder mystery and the thrill of seeing a gun fight in a British village while on the other hand Shaun of the Dead features a really engaging survival story, more iconic scenes and a story that has a much bigger scale (i.e a huge zombie attack on the world). On reflection I now see the films as on par with each other as my favourite two films ever.

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