Shaun Of The Dead

Cover Art and Menu: 8/10
There are several alternate movie posters in the gallery on the DVD, which of course is what the cover is made up of, the original American movie poster. It’s ok, not amazing or anything, but then again, this is an over the top, tongue in cheek kind of flick so the poster/cover doesn’t have to be profound or anything.

Features: 7/10

  • Missing Bits (Outtakes) –  Several flubs by the cast, as if you don’t know what outtakes are already 🙂 There are several clips, which is a nice thing since most DVD’s either don’t include them at all or when they do they give us like 2 or 3 just to give the illusion of more extras.
  • Raw Meat (Casting Tapes) – These are original tapes from when the cast were either trying out for their parts or rehearsing scenes in pre production. I’m glad they added these bits because it’s revealing as to how a movie really does get made and how much effort it put into it that we hardly ever see.
  • TV Bits (Includes a interview with Coldplay) – In the movie the lead characters often end up watching TV and these are some of the manufactured shows you only see clips of in the film. We get to see the full versions as avid DVD enthusiasts.
  • Un-Censored Commentary – The writer/star and director are funny and excited about this film so it’s great to listen to what often ends up as a rambling memory session of their experiences while making the movie, but it’s still really good to listen to. They don’t take themselves too seriously but still are totally devoted to this story and you can tell they just love it.
  • Photo Gallery – Behind the scenes of cast and crew, semi-interesting but I would like to see hundreds of these if they are going to give us any, give us a full treatment. They are just images after all, they don’t take up much space on the disc.

The Movie: 8/10:
This is one of those movies that within about 2 minutes I am in love with for some mysterious reason. I can’t decide if it’s Simon Pegg that did it for me or just what feels like the filmmakers taking a close look at boring dreary daily life. I am always interested in how mundane everyone’s lives really are even though we all would like to think we have cornered the market on keeping things exciting.

Some people have said they don’t get the reference to the fact that all the people in the film seem like zombies, that they all just look “normal”. Well, there ya go!

The idea that we go through our daily routines with little real regard for what’s happening around us is not a new idea, we can all agree. What is new is that this is a story that can be told with the flair of a zombie thriller and still make room for real characters who are interesting, sympathetic, funny, charming, and quite brave (or stupid, however you see it).

Oh, sorry, didn’t you know it had zombies in it? Now you do. I won’t be cliché and say it’s a love story with zombies, but um, that is what it is. At the heart of the story is a man and woman stuck in a grind of going to their local pub and not much else happens in their lives. She is bored and wants something new. He’s perfectly content to have a pint and hang out with his friend who is basically a loser. This sedentary life is the thing that causes the inevitable good bye from his girlfriend.

Haven’t we all felt a bit trapped in a drudgery of being in a rut? How better to break free than by rescuing your ex-girlfriend, her obnoxious friends, your mother, zombie stepfather, and your loser best friend from being devoured by the living dead?

I’m not going to debate the level of cinematic genius this film brings to the history of film making. I have heard some reviewers and critics say this is not a very good zombie movie, and some say it’s not a very well thought out love story….give me a break. This is, for lack of a better term, a romp of good movie watching fun. The writer/star Simon Pegg and his co-writer/director Edgar Wright were not trying to make their way to awards ceremonies or go down as brilliant film makers (I haven’t asked them personally, but I really don’t think they were). They wrote a bizarre story about a guy and a girl and they threw in a classic macabre twist that puts a smile on many movie lovers’ faces.

It could be a brilliant commentary on the state of society in Great Britain, on relationships, on growing up, or any number of other juicy character driven story telling tools of the trade. Or, it could be a romantic comedy with zombies. You be the judge.

The acting is at times stagy and over the top, but who cares. The zombies are very traditionally stiff, disjointed and often lose parts of themselves along the way, and ear here, a leg and /or guts there. I would like to have seen some innovative zombie action, but that’s a lot to ask since none of us have ever actually seen a zombie, yet. The writing is hilarious and as you wade through the outrageous situations our heroes and heroines get into, it magnifies the humor that much more. A pair of friends squabbling over throwing out old albums and why one refuses to let go of the original pressing of New Order’s Blue Monday is comical enough. Add in the fact that they are about to impale a couple of zombies with said albums and yet insist on arguing about it anyway, call me old fashioned and boring, but that’s just plain funny.

Given the gross factor I don’t recommend kids watching this movie, unless you regularly serve them up gory flicks and horror stories as a family tradition. For anyone else who likes a good laugh, lots of action, and a little bit of a commentary on life, go get it now. Go on, what are you waiting for? You don’t actually think you have to read the rest of this review do you? It’s just drivel about the DVD price, the scores and a nod to Universal pictures. I won’t know you skipped it, now or will I ?

Value: 8/10
Small movie = big DVD price. We all know this is my favorite aspect of being a DVD collector. Um, that was sarcasm in case you didn’t notice. For around $22 you can pick up Shaun of the Dead online, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wait a while and hopefully the price will drop. They crammed a few extras on the disc, and the movie is great, but it’s not a package worth more then twenty bucks, sorry folks. If you think you’ll like it, rent it. Blockbuster now says they won’t charge you a late fee if you keep it a couple of extra das, so there ya go!!!

Overall Score 8/10