Guest Author - Ricardo CastaŮo IV
Director: Edgar Wright
Release Date: 24 September 2004
Running Time: 99 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Editorís Rating: 4 out of 4 Cornettos
Sometimes, movies get made. Sometimes, these movies are good. Sometimes, these movies are bad. Sometimes, the movie made is Shaun of the Dead, and the world thanks those who made it.
Sure, Iím being hyperbolic. Sure, Iím being way too preachy and flowery in my tone. But this movie seems to have a premeditated approach to itself. Nothing in this movie happens by chance or for no reason. Where this kind of detail is necessary in some thrillers or dramas, itís rarely seen in comedies, and thatís what makes this movie so memorable.
The film revolves around Shaun, a lowly minimum-wage earner with a girlfriend whoís way out of his league and aspirations of being something other than an appliance salesman. But he figures that can all wait, because heíd rather play games with his friend Ed, an even bigger slacker than Shaun with an attitude like a babyís first poop Ė lovely to the parents and family members, but disgusting to everyone else. In this case, Shaun is Edís only family.
The comedy of this film comes in how the world ends, and how the people in it react to it. To cop T.S. Eliot, it came not with a bang, but with a ďmeh,Ē and its inhabitants said ďBut Iím gonna be late for work!Ē The cinematography really deserves acknowledgement here because like I said, everything here has a purpose, and that purpose is usually to make you laugh. The background is especially rich in this film, and thatís why it takes multiple screenings to take it all in. Watching a second time make you realize that certain scenes are shot identically, but with different set pieces to accentuate the fact that the world is changing around Shaun, whether he notices it or not.
When most movies use repetition, it falls flat and annoys the audience. What, they couldnít write a couple other jokes to fill 90 minutes? Whatís the problem, is a fart joke that hard to squeak out? I just made one and it took fifteen seconds! But Shaun turns repetitions into callbacks. The same joke is still funny, and still relevant to the situation, which is usually where callbacks can fail Ė the same joke is made, but all it does is reference what happened beforehand without anything new to make the joke fresh. Itís like eating fast food 20 minutes after you get it.
Hilarity aside, the film has its moments of seriousness. I was about to take a point off of the movie because of the way it seriousness really ramps up toward the end, but thinking on it, it works perfectly in the sense of the movie. The zombies have unwittingly been carrying the gravity of the disaster around with them this entire time, but once everything starts crashing down around Shaun and friends, thatís when the laughs slow way down. Itís perfect.
Just putting it out there: I try to not write love stories to these movies every time I sit down to crank out these reviews, but Shaun of the Dead leaves me no choice. I canít find a blasted thing wrong with it. But remember folks, itís a zombie movie: thereís tons of red corn syrup. Do not bring the kids. Giggleween may make us laugh, but theyíll also gross us out. Speaking of, weíre almost to the end of this new holiday, so tune in next week for its conclusion!
**This movie is part of my personal collection. I was not compensated for this review.**