Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead is clever and witty, somewhat reminiscent of Spaced and for a good reason – the film references are plain to see and the comedy is relevant and relatable whilst always being hilarious. Make no mistake, this is not a spoof. It makes no effort in trying to make fun out of the genre, but intends to be it’s own stand alone film with a unique plot.
Pegg co-writes alongside the producer of Spaced, Wright, to give us one of the best, most memorable comedy films in ages. It combines a multitude of genres; horror, thriller, romance and of course, comedy. This successful blend makes for one tasty shake.
It takes the time to develop the characters, giving us people we care about. It makes the moments all that bit more funny as well as enjoyable. And when we lose a character, we care. We have some form of attachment to them, unlike any other zombie horror. It is a simple premise, in reality, but original and filmed and acted out brilliantly.
Shaun, an underachieving and un-ambitious man lives a life without direction much to the annoyance of his co-workers, housemate and girlfriend. Life passes by blissfully for Shaun, his oblivious nature and lack of desire to do anything other than go to the Winchester pub with best pal Ed has seen his girlfriend, Liz, want out. When the zombies rise, Shaun seeks to rescue and repair his relationship with Liz and save his mother before it’s too late. Taking refuge in the dreaded Winchester, the group give us an enjoyable, zombie ridden, joke filled ride.
There is a lot of British humour here and one must remember that it is primarily a comedy, but there are violent moments too, all of which are enjoyable in their own way. The direction of this film is brilliantly crafted and undeniably smart, from the vinyl throwing scene to the jukebox scene, it was spot on.
Three Sentence Reviews of past Pegg: Moving on to the traditional three sentences, don’t want to be straying to far away from the norm, aye!
Big Nothing (2006)
Pegg’s first movie with Schwimmer features more film references that Pegg is known for in what is an original crime adventure that is blackly funny, smart and generally entertaining. It isn’t by any means the best of Simon Pegg who appears to be, with his American accent and working on a film with Schwimmer, trying to appeal to a wider audience, namely America, but the fact and point is, the two work well here to provide something that is interesting and fun and underrated. Featuring some good, funny moments and an enjoyable plot, this crime thriller comedy gives us something good to enjoy.
Run Fatboy Run (2007)
Run Fatboy Run has its moments, sometimes funny but always predictable. Pegg does well in his role, giving another good performance, but the film fails to deliver anything new in its plot or develop the characters properly in what really is quite a poorly written film. Schwimmer doesn’t exactly do a great job in directing the film, giving it no real individuality and I just left wishing it had more British humour – harsh at 2 stars maybe, but it’s poor and easy to forget.
Pegg joins up with Frost once again as two of the biggest sci-fi geeks go looking for aliens and find more than they bargained for; Paul. An alien who’s name gives the impression of normality, but an alien who takes the two on a fantastically enjoyable journey filled with superb performances and a thoroughly enjoyable plot. After earlier films such as Big Nothing, Run Fatboy Run and Mission Impossible, Pegg has finally been able to penetrate the American market but there is disappointment here, however, in that it wasn’t as comical as expected – but maybe that’s just me with high expectations because of their previous work – it felt like it was missing some of the Pegg/Frost humour from earlier work and it doesn’t help that I dislike Seth Rogen, either.