Wednesday, March 14, 2007

dreamrot's favorite movies week: day 3: Shaun of the Dead

It was at some point in the summer of 2004 when I first started hearing about Shaun of the Dead. I don't exactly recall when I first heard about it, but I remember the anticipation as it neared it's release. I remember hearing more and more about how great it was, and seeing previews that just looked amazing. And I remember talking about it with other movie nerds.

It wasn't until it came out on DVD though that I finally saw it. My love for the movie was immediate and all encompassing. This was everything I could have wanted from a movie. Blood, guts, zombies, comedy, Philip. These were the kind of jokes that I made. The characters made choices I would make. I didn't have to try to understand the movie, I'd practically been living it in Detroit without the zombies. I didn't have to "get it," it got me.

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles

Look at your life. You do the same things day after day. It's easier to go to the same place that you know you like than to try something new and take a chance. You're in a rut. Get up, go to work, eat dinner, go to bed, was, rinse, repeat.

Shaun and Liz are on a date of sorts. They're out. At the bar. Again. The same bar they always go to. Liz would like to do something different, but Shaun likes the comfort and familiarity. Shaun tells Liz that they'll go someplace nice tomorrow, and when he fucks that up, she breaks up with him.

Shaun resolves to get his shit together and get Liz back, but there's something that might get in the way of his plans, a metric shit ton of zombies. Shaun has to save his mom, his friends and his favorite bar from the threat of death.

I'm not going to do the play by play on this one, sorry. Let's skip to the best part, what I liked.

There was an accident, then, everybody died. Trouble was... they didn't stay dead.

Director Edgar Wright does a great job of foreshadowing through out the movie. People who you right off as extras and don't pay attention to come back as zombies. The two trips Shaun makes to the store are shot nearly identically with the exception of the destruction the second time and Shaun is completely oblivious to it all.

The characters are all stereotypical enough to be familiar while at the same time unique enough to be believable. I love how the movie sort of toys with your normal zombie cliches. I love how for all of the jokes and humor in the movie that there is never a moment where the zombies are not treated dead seriously. It would be so easy to make the zombies act stupid and funny, but the zombies behave like zombies should. Shaun spends the movie trying to be the hero but is constantly coming up just short. He doesn't save the day. He doesn't manage to save all of his friends. He doesn't save his mom. He essentially fails at everything except winning Liz back, but it's so easy to relate to him because he tried. If he had succeeded at everything you'd think "That's so great! He won!" but instead, you don't give it a second thought. It turned out the way it turned out. Sure he got his girl back, but look at what it cost.

That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit

Ultimately, Shaun wants to change his life. But he doesn't! Everything just stays the same, except he's got a story to tell. There's a certain tragedy and realism to that that I just love.

I don't do this often, but as far as I'm concerned, Shaun of the Dead deserves and gets 10 slices of fried gold out of 10.