The Cornetto trilogy
Image Credit: Universal Pictures
The beautiful irony with films connected in a trilogy is that to constitute being a trio, they must in turn be both similar enough to link but different enough to progress. Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy comprising of ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’ and ‘The World’s End’ blesses us with both of these attributes and more.
All three films differ in genre and character development, but contain the same two main actors and some recurring themes.
Wright’s films were an integral part of my youth and some of the main themes such as friendship, naivety, and bravery have ensured that these films hold a special place in my heart.
The trilogies namesake and the essence of the Wall’s ice cream brand ‘Cornetto’ originates from the writer Edgar Wright using these particular ice creams to cure hangovers.
‘Hot Fuzz’ is based in a small-town police station and uses the original blue Cornetto flavour to represent the police force.
‘Shaun of the Dead’, has a creepy comedy thriller element to it, thus resulting in the red strawberry Cornetto turning up in this film, ‘Hot Fuzz’ is based in a small-town police station and uses the original blue Cornetto flavour to represent the police force. Finally, ‘The World’s End’ is their take on science fiction and the wrapper for the mint Cornetto shows up to represent this.
The clear initial similarity between each film is the recurring use of British actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, however the characters that they portray in each film differ greatly.
Pegg portrays Shaun, a customer service assistant in a struggling relationship in ‘Shaun of the Dead’, Nicholas who’s an award-winning Police Sergeant in ‘Hot Fuzz’ and Gary, a rebel clinging onto the freedom of his past in ‘The World’s End’.
For Frost, initially he is a lazy and rude friend of Shaun, in ‘Hot Fuzz’ he becomes a naïve and childlike police officer and matures in the final film to become a corporate lawyer who no longer thinks highly of Pegg’s character.
Throughout each film, Pegg and Frost find themselves in difficult situations and put aside their differences to conquer whatever problem is coming their way.
Each of the films bring in a level of action and Hollywood drama.
Despite the small-town setting accompanied by nosy neighbours and local customs, each of the films bring in a level of action and Hollywood drama to juxtapose with this.
In the midst of the drama, a scene is repeated by the two main protagonists and handled differently to suit the nuance of the films. This involves Simon Pegg jumping over a fence to escape the dangers, in the first and third films he jumps over and the fence falls with him, and in ‘Hot Fuzz’ he leaps over gracefully with Nick Frost knocking the fence down to subvert the joke.
Even though the list of differences between the films wouldn’t be as long as the similarities, the differences are vital to keeping the interest between each film so that we are recognising the actors, but the characters are fresh every time.
Gary believes himself to be above the law.
Pegg as the law-abiding Sergeant Nicholas Angel is a very different character to ‘The World’s End’s Gary King. Nicholas’ morality and sensible nature is made obvious with his surname; however, Gary believes himself to be above the law, which could be why his surname suggests a regal nature. This is similar with Nick Frost and his character of gullible and vulnerable Danny in ‘Hot Fuzz’ contrasting with Andy in the ‘The World’s End’ who is professional, bitter and guarded.
This links to the theme of growth and maturity as each of the characters grow to better their situation as the films come to a close so the endings of the films are similar, despite each film starting very differently.
For three films based on very different genres, character styles and settings, they all formulate a lot more similarities than differences. The plus side to this is I can guarantee if you love one then you’ll love them all!