42 – The Cornetto Trilogy – The World’s End

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The World’s End is the most recent film directed by Edgar Wright, and written by himself and Simon Pegg. Before I watched this film I was really worried that it wasn’t going to be up to the same standards of the other two films. I think these worries were misplaced as I actually enjoyed the film. The plot of the film focuses on Gary King (Pegg) who reunites with his four childhood friends and drags them along on a pub crawl around their home town of Newton Haven which coincides with an alien invasion and the pub crawl becomes a desperate attempt to survive the night.

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My main criticism from the start is that the first half of the film was a bit dull and without any major laughs. Most of this first half was introducing the characters which takes a while when there are 5 main ones and foreshadowing, but this isn’t like the foreshadowing that was so brilliant in Shaun of the Dead it’s just not as clever. There was still humour but just not as much as you’d come to expect from a film from this trilogy. It’s only when the robots appear that the film starts getting really interesting.

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The film certainly gets interesting once these robots or blanks, as they get named, there are some seriously awesome fight scenes. The fight scenes are the BEST thing about this film. They are so well done as they are fast and brutal while being hilarious at the same time. Nick Frost definitely stood out in these sequences as he is so aggressive in the scenes and it’s when his character who has gone from being restrained and mature to super violent and angry.

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The cast is great as usual. This time there is the six central characters of Gary, Andy, Oliver, Peter, Steven and Samantha played by Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine and Rosamund Pike. It’s great to see this film have such a great selection of actors in a team or the five musketeers as Gary calls them. Also the Pegg and Frost dynamic is mixed up a bit in this film as Pegg is more of the goofball and Frost is the more mature and sensible one which is refreshing to see and allows for new comedy. There are some great cameos in this film as well as you’d expect but like Hot Fuzz this film’s best addition to the cast is a former bond. This time it’s Pierce Brosnan who plays a drama teacher turned robot and delivers a great and funny performance in this film. I also loved seeing Mark Heap turn up as a landlord and deliver some of his usual strange acting style to the film.

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There are some great sci fi concepts in this film in the form of how the aliens ‘invade’ the planet and how there plan is morally ambiguous and I’m still questioning wherever or not they were evil and should have been stopped from finishing their scheming, and that coming from a doctor who fan who has pretty much seen every way an alien civilisation could invade a planet is a big deal. But also the sort of robot lego man like Blanks were a really great design and culminate the zombies from Shaun of the Dead with the community manipulating N.W.A who disguise themselves within a small society and control it for themselves. The first moment where one of the Blanks lose their head and you see what they’re like for the first time was really awesome and the way they can sort of mix and match their body parts and their heads break like eggs was really original and visually impressive to watch.

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I love the way this film has more of a quest as the focus of the story which resembles the fight for survival in Shaun of the Dead. It’s even more interesting in this as Simon Pegg’s character Gary has an a different motivation to the rest of the group which is all he has got left and is desperate to succeed no matter what, this goes against the other characters who just want to survive. But then underneath those core quests there is Gary King’s mid life crisis and how the other men in the group have grown up and moved on and he is left behind trying as hard as possible to relive his youth. Nick Frosts character Andy was wounded by Gary in the past but still sympathises with him to the extent that he chases him to The World’s End and tries to save him from himself. Gary’s quest to The World’s End inadvertently ends the world as they know it. It’s a really captivating and interesting story to watch and I’m prepared to say it’s a step up from Hot Fuzz even if the presentation of the story at the start is a bit dull.

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Reviewing this trilogy has been fun for me as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz have always been some of my favourite films and as I said I was seriously worried about watching the film as I honestly expected it to be terrible. But this film once it gets going is excellent and it was a joy to watch. I would be prepared to put it on par with the other two as it was a great new story with brilliant visuals and great fight scenes. As far as picking my favourite from the trilogy goes I think my mind has slightly been changed since re watching these films. I always would have used to say Hot Fuzz, but I’ve changed my mind. Each film has it’s merits, Shaun of the Dead is a gripping Londoners horror film that is extremely original and unlike any other zombie film that has been made, Hot Fuzz is an engaging crime thriller that entices my own love for murder mystery style stories but brings it to the British countryside which makes it even more special for me and The World’s End builds upon the comedy in the first two but add’s seriously cool fight scenes and the most interesting Pegg and Frost dynamic to date (including the only fight scene between the pair). So I’ve now decided that rather than one of the films being my favourite, they all are. The Cornetto Trilogy started off as a joke in an interview but for me at least has earned it’s place as my favourite film series ever and re-watching the first two and finally watching The World’s End has been a real joy for me and I will most likely keep re-watching them for years to come.

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35 – Spaced

The World’s End, Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead form the half joke title of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy which were all directed by Edgar Wright, produced by Nira Park and star Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. However before these feature films there was a series called Spaced on channel 4.

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Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy - The Worlds End Shortcut

I finally decided to watch the series this weekend. I have been tempted for a long time as Hot Fuzz is probably my favourite film or at least the film I have re watched the most times. So I finally decided to give the series a chance.

I’m glad I did. This series was actually written by Jessica Stevenson, who also stars in the series, and Simon Pegg who as you might expect also stars. Everything that is great about Shaun of the Dead is present in this series and tenfold at that. The humour is even more ridiculous and the way the series is shot is just as bizarre and unique as Shaun of the Dead. Edgar Wright appears to have a real skill at adding drama and tension to scenes where relatively nothing out of the ordinary is happening but the audience is tricked into expecting something. Often in this series a character will slowly walk around a flat with tense music building up only to discover nothing, similar to the first appearance of Shaun in Shaun of the Dead where you think he is a zombie but ultimately is just yawning.

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The series follows aspiring comic book artist Tim (Simon Pegg) and work shy writer Daisy (Jessica Stevenson), both are incredibly likeable and relatable characters. What’s not so relatable is the rest of the characters though which notably include Mike (Nick Frost) who was discharged from the territorial army because he stole a tank in an effort to invade Paris.

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The dialogue is also brilliantly written and so are the characters themselves. One great character is a man who lives downstairs called Brian who is played by Mark Heap who I personally know for playing another strange neighbour in Friday Night Dinner. I didn’t think it possible but Mark Heap is even more off the chain in this series and is even more strange and hilarious to watch. He plays a very weird aspiring artist, in one episode in an attempt to not adhere to the stereotype of painting with a brush he uses his own genitals.

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The rest of the cast all deliver a more subtle performances but they are still ridiculously funny performances. There is a whole bunch of cameos as well including Bill Bailey, Ricky Gervais, John Simm, Keith Allen, David Walliams and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss.

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One of the reasons I enjoyed the IT Crowd, Graham Lineham’s geeky british comedy was because of the pop culture references and this one has them in abundance. One such moment was where Tim is noticeably upset and Daisy claims that it’s been so many months and that he should have got over it, leading the audience to think it’s his recent break up, but ultimately he’s actually upset about how bad the Phantom Menace was. There is also a great nod to Scooby Doo where Tim and Daisy appear like Shaggy and Velma, and many more. Even the way it is filmed is reminiscent of sci fi and horror films.

Overall if you loved Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz or The World’s End (which I haven’t actually seen yet but is arriving this week :D) then you will love this series.

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