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DVD Review: SHAUN OF THE DEAD

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PHOTOGRAPHY

SHAUN OF THE DEAD

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 100 minutes, Raw Meat, Missing Bits, TV Bits, zombie gallery, trailer, and commentaries

STUDIO: Universal/ Rogue Pictures

RELEASE DATE: 12-21-2004

PLOT: Shaun (Simon) is a slacker in a dead-end job, and he has a friend Ed (Nick Frost) who doesn't work. Shaun's girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), on the eve of a major zombie outbreak. Once Shaun and Ed figure out what is going on, Shaun goes to rescue Liz and his Mom and go to the Winchester to wait the zombies out. Like all zombie movies, nothing goes as planned.

ANALYSIS: SHAUN OF THE DEAD is the kind of movie that will be an instant cult classic to some. The zombie horror scenes were great, but the humor didn't really get going until fifty minutes (or so) into the movie. I can say only a British movie would have the main characters going to the pub to escape the zombies. I love the irony of it that the slacker is supposed to be a hero. My favorite scenes happen in the Winchester pub (bar to us folks in the USA) and the Dopplegang scene. The movie is full of references to other movies that it needs to be watched more than once.

The movie has an interesting concept that many people go through their life as zombies, and some like Shaun might not notice it at first when real zombies show up. Shaun may not notice it, but the viewer sees the tell-tale signs as the movie goes on. To Shaun, it is just another day of his life. SHAUN OF THE DEAD has lots of little touches like Peter Serafinowicz who plays Pete, Shaun's flatmate, did the voice of Darth Maul (for Star Wars- Episode I: The Phantom Menace). Simon Pegg is a big Star Wars fan. I do wish (as Simon and the director wished) that Bill Nighy was in the movie more (Bill plays Phillip, Shaun's step-dad). Even the minor characters add to the movie like Yvonne (Jessica Stevenson). SHAUN OF THE DEAD is a movie I will watch again.

VIDEO/AUDIO: SHAUN OF THE DEAD is in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Image detail is fantastic. Colors and blacks are great. A top level transfer from Universal.

You can hear the movie in English, Spanish, or French 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround with the option of Spanish or French subtitles (or even English captions).

SPECIAL FEATURES: The extras rule on this DVD. SIMON PEGG'S VIDEO DIARY is fun including a bit of a needle being inserted into Nick Frosts's butt too many times. CASTING TAPES show the actors reading the script and some having fun with bananas in front of a TV. EDGAR & SIMON'S FLIP CHART (filmed in 2001) shows the rough plot of the movie (with thumbnails). It is basically the same plot as the rough except for the exploding Jag scene. SFX COMPARISON shows before and after shots (and the all of the elements) to two scenes that had digital effects. MAKE UP TESTS show the zombies in make up, and before and after shots of CGI Eye FX. The EPK FEATURETTE is your basic promotional fluff piece with interviews, behind the scenes video, and clips from the movie.

In THE MISSING BITS section of extras, you are treated to some very funny bits including the FUNKING PETE clip (which is so funking funny). EXTENDED BITS has scenes with lines of dialogue that were cut and some deleted scenes (all with optional commentary). PLOT HOLES show in comic strip form with narration what happened in three stories that weren't resolved in the movie. OUTTAKES has the cast breaking out into laughter or goofing around. THE MAN WHO WOULD BE SHAUN has Nick and Simon do their characters in different voices.

Also included is the US theatrical Trailer for the movie and a Zombie Gallery.

COMMENTARY TRACKS: The first commentary track with director Edgar Wright and actor Simon Pegg is really funny while giving some good production info.  The other commentary track is with the cast: Simon pegg, Nick frost, Kate Ashfield, and Lucy Davis.  It is entertaining, but I like the first track the best. Both commentary tracks are very British, filled with jokes to Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Star Wars.

PREVIEWS: UNLEASHED, DRUKEN JACKASSES, SEED OF CHUCKY

MENUS: Clever simple animated menus makes these menus really jump into my top ten favorite DVD menus of 2004.

FINAL ANALYSIS: SHAUN OF THE DEAD is an interesting British movie that is ready for cult status. The DVD is packed with many enjoyable extras. Universal did a great job with the DVD of SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

this DVD Review is (c)12-22-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. No zombies were killed during the writing of this review. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia