What can I say that hasn’t been said before?
Liz breaks up with Shaun, because Shaun has a problem committing to their relationship. Liz believes its largely due to Ed, Shaun’s friend and roommate. Then there’s a zombie (or something) outbreak, which gives Shaun the opportunity to prove himself to Liz and fix everything that’s wrong in his life.
With well over half a million ratings on IMDb, which is over 200k more than any other movie I’ve covered or I’m planning to cover in this series, I feel that this is a cult movie of such proportions that it’s hard to say anything new about it. At the same time, I don’t really follow these circles, so I can’t really tell. Also, the discussion I am aware of does tend to remain on the nerdy side trying to find all those references and the cnotinuity. Good movies are just so much more even if Wright’s way of constructing movies makes them very fascinating on surface level as well.
Edgar Wright is one of my favorite directors. Why wouldn’t he be? I’ve liked all of his movies (I haven’t seen the first one, but the rest) and Spaced. He has an idiosyncratic style, is unafraid about liking all sorts of nerdy stuff, as well as unironic about it from the beginning (certain directors around the turn of the millennium had to make sure the audience didn’t think they were taking all this nerd shit seriously, so they would wink at the audience in different ways to show that they understood how absurd it was what they were doing). His scripts are ripe with fun setups and payoffs, which make his movies endlessly rewatchable. Most importantly, they are funny and fun, but they also have heart.
Well, that might also be the problem. His movies tend to be very sympathetic towards the main character, but many of the other characters feel like props in the life of that one person. On the other hand, learning to understand other people and their feelings is a large part of Shaun of the Dead. Ed remains just a tool for Shaun throughout the movie (a link to his youth, basically), but he has to confront adulthood by taking responsibility and finally coming to terms with his step-father, with whom Shaun has had a strained relationship since childhood. In this way this does feel like a continuation of Spaced, which had similar themes of prolonged youth.
There’s also a small theme of missed opportunities. Shaun meets Yvonne couple of times. We don’t exactly know their relationship, but this is where the Spaced-thing comes in strong. Yvonne is played by Jessica Hynes (formerly Stevenson), who was the opposite for Simon Pegg’s character in Spaced. Later on we see the gang Yvonne has ended up leading and it’s one of those nerdy moments as there’s a counterpart for each member of Shaun’s crew, some of which are love interests of the actors from other shows. This seems to signify that if the people here weren’t so thick, things might have ended up differently for each of them.
Similarly, Shaun’s stepfather has been around for a very long time and Shaun has chosen to remain distant, because of his longing for own father. How different would things have been if Shaun had been able to make peace with the loss of his father and thus being able to bond with his stepfather, who has by now been around for 17 years? In the end we are our own worst enemies.