Shaun of the Dead / Hot Fuzz Blu-ray Reviews

ShaunHotSquareBetween 1994 and 2004, British comedy films had one thing in common: Richard Curtis. If he didn’t write the hits (Four Weddings, Notting Hill), he rewrote them (Bridget Jones’s Diary). Then, three chums (writer-actor Simon Pegg, writer-director Edgar Wright, and actor-muse-mascot Nick Frost), with a terrific, pop culture-savvy sitcom behind them (Spaced), convinced Working Title to make a “romantic comedy with zombies” or “rom-com-zom”, in which the titular loser (Pegg) strives to keep his relationship going, even as the world ends. Packed with ideas, references and more jokes than you could shake a cricket bat at, Shaun of the Dead was that rare beast: a comedy funny from beginning to end, and a massive hit to boot – as Frost would put it, “fried gold”. It was a hard act to follow, but three years later the trio were back, lampooning the buddy-cop genre in Hot Fuzz. As with its comedy-horror forebear, which was gory and funny enough to satisfy horror fans and comedy crowds, Hot Fuzz had its cake and ate it, combining proper Hollywood-style action with good gags and a Wicker Man-esque quality which was quintessentially English. Such was the care put into the original DVD releases that neither film benefits much from the Blu-ray treatment, although Hot Fuzz’s deliberately Michael Bay-esque third act is enriched by the HD mastering, and the sound makes your ears bleed.

EXTRAS: All of the extras from Shaun of the Dead (deleted and extended bits, TV skits, video diaries, multiple commentaries, pop-up trivia, storyboards, even a ‘zom com’ commentary by the zombies) and Hot Fuzz (not-so-hot deleted scenes, special effects featurettes, video blogs, trivia track, ‘making of’, four commentaries, including one by Wright and Quentin Tarantino) are here, but having them on a single disc hardly merits the upgrade.

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