Weekly Rewind: “The Cornetto Trilogy”

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PHOTO COURTESY/FLICKR COMMONS MIKE GOTTING

Michael Ambrosino, Entertainment Editor

Of the many amazing British comedies cinema has given us through the years, three of the best—all of which are directed by the brilliant Edgar Wright, who stepped into American territory last year with “Baby Driver”—are the films that make up the “Cornetto Trilogy.”

These films are “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End,” three remarkable pieces of filmmaking that are equal parts hilarious and heartfelt.

Wright’s style of comedy is very visual. The “Cornetto” films are completely devoid of improvisation—he delivers thunderstorms of laughs through creative editing, high-energy directing, strong performances from his actors and phenomenal writing.

“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End” don’t have any narrative connections; it’s not technically a proper trilogy. What connects the films are their themes of perpetual adolescence, the fact that they feature the same actors (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) and that they all have a joke about the UK ice cream treat the cornetto.

“Shaun of the Dead” is a zombie rom-com with the energy of a six-year-old kid hyped up on sugar. It’s a horror/comedy hybrid that’s more funny than it is horrifying, but you’ll be surprised how much Wright manages to move you. As fun and eccentric as “Shaun” is, it’ll sneak up on you and punch you in the stomach.

“Hot Fuzz” is a masterpiece. Easily favorite of the three, and arguably the silliest yet most violent of the three, “Hot Fuzz” is a brilliant spoof on the buddy-cop film set in a small, quiet town in West Country of England. The film is genuinely hysterically funny. It’s one of the best screenplays ever written, featuring a third-act reveal you simply will not believe until you see it. I’m laughing right now thinking about it.

As great a comedy as “The World’s End” is, it’s definitely the darkest and most emotional of the three. It’s a science-fiction film set in the home town of its three main characters, and the longer they stick around, the more they realize things aren’t quite what they seem. Underneath the explosions of wild laughs and brutal mayhem, this is really a film about nostalgia, and how staying trapped in the past can nearly destroy you.  

While this isn’t a trilogy connected by one linear story, “The World’s End” feels like a satisfying closure. It’s the most adult story in a series of films about perpetual adolescence.

Wright’s movies will simultaneously move you and make you laugh in hysterics, while also admiring remarkable work of filmmaking on display.