Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on July 30th, 2007
Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) are best of buddies who share a flat with another roomie. Shaun works hard at a local electronics store, while Ed doesnâ€™t really accomplish much besides playing games. Shaun has recently become despondent after breaking it off with his girlfriend Lizzie and fails to notice that London is slowing being taken over by zombies. When Shaun realizes whatâ€™s occurring, he and Ed must work together to fight these creatures off as well as now travel to save Shaunâ€™s mum and his ex/girlfriend from these zombies.
Along the way, a few laughs are found, but the filmâ€™s main theme of trying to include romance with a comedy, just didnâ€™t overall click for me (especially when compared to their follow-up film Hot Fuzz).
Please donâ€™t get me wrong here folks. Iâ€™m not saying that Shaun of the Dead is a bad film. Itâ€™s just not as good as Hot Fuzz. Sure the first 30-40 minutes of the film are funny with Shaun and Ed enjoying their lives and trying to figure out which records to throw at the zombies (â€œThrow the Batmanâ€), but the filmâ€™s second act in the Winchester Pub just didnâ€™t do it for me. I know this is labeled as a romantic comedy and I did understand the connection between Shaun and his mum, but the sequence toward the end felt too forced. Itâ€™s almost as if the film went from satire comedy to serious comedy to satire comedy (the ending is priceless, but more on that in one minute).
Speaking of the filmâ€™s ending, the manner in which the film used the zombies at the end, was just priceless. In fact, the ending really saved the film. As I was finishing up the film, I was discussing with my brother that this wasnâ€™t as enjoyable as Hot Fuzz (we had just seen it two days previous), but the second the ending came up with the first remark of how the zombies were being used, we both lost it. The pokes at a certain â€˜Martâ€™ and pop-culture, was great.
Shaun of the Dead definitely isnâ€™t a bad film, it just isnâ€™t a great film (more of a good film). The humor, when present, works and is amusing. The characters, minus Shaun and Ed, are mostly forgettable (which is similar with Hot Fuzz, while the main plot doesnâ€™t overly work in the area where itâ€™s suppose to work. Still, the humor is enjoyable enough that fans of Hot Fuzz or other British humor will want to check this one out. Just give it a rent before purchasing to see you enjoy this one.
Presented in a 1080p, VC-1 Encoded, 2:35:1 Widescreen Aspect Ratio, Shaun of the Dead contains a transfer that is suitable for its theme.
Color usage was spot on for a majority of the film, despite a majority of the locales containing rather drab looking scenery. A lot of bolder colors, like reds and blacks, dominate the film, but I never really noticed any real bleeding or any sequence where blacks (or any color) seemed washed out. Grain was kept in check only really creeping up in a few sequences. EE wasnâ€™t noticeable at all, while the filmâ€™s print contained a few specks of dirt here and there. All in all, this is a solid enough transfer that more than suits the film.
Arriving with the standard Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, Shaun of the Dead is a surprisingly absent film audio wise.
Dialogue was easy to understand for the most part with only a few areas where it seemed to become muddled. Dynamic Range was active with a majority of the discrete effects arriving courteous of our zombie friends. Surround usage wasnâ€™t as active as Hot Fuzz, but I suppose the two are completely different films. I only noticed the surrounds kicking in during the final 30-40 minutes of the film when all the action was occurring. All in all, this is a solid enough audio track, but I just expected a bit more.
- Audio Commentary with director Edgar Wright and actor Simon Pegg: This one was quite the solid commentary. Both Wright and Pegg are informative and, despite some odd comments, are enjoyable to listen to throughout.
- Audio Commentary with Simon Pegg, Dylan Moran, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis and Kate Ashfield: Despite all the included cast members, I just couldnâ€™t find myself enjoyin this one. Even though I liked what Frost had to say out of all the participants (Pegg tended to recycle his comments from the above commentary, while the other participants were rather flat), his comments couldnâ€™t really keep my interest.
- Zomb-O-Meter: This run is similar to the track that was found on Hot Fuzz in that we get some tid-bits that pop-up during the course of the film. The filmâ€™s biggest fans will love this one.
- Missing Bits: Here we get a few deleted scenes and some outtakes. The most notable sequence is a deleted scene that explains what happened when Shaun ran off to distract the zombieâ€™s toward the end of the film.
- â€Raw Meatâ€: This one leads to a few other features such as Simon Peggâ€™s video diary and some Casting Tapes, as well as Make-Up Tests and a few making of bits. Most of the information is interesting enough for fans, but the more casual fans wonâ€™t really find much here thatâ€™ll warrant more than one viewing.
Universal has put together a good enough package for fans of the film. With upgrading video, good enough audio, and the same features as the SD counterpart, fans will want to snap this one up. The rest of you might want to stick with a rental to see if you enjoy the type of humor presented.