The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy is the golden standard for modern action-comedies
Even after nine years, Edgar Wright's "Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy" is one of the best works in the action-comedy genre. In a world where we get mildly funny Kevin Hart and The Rock movies with a lacklustre plot every year, the Cornetto trilogy stands out with a meaty script, memorable characters, and direction that transcends to auteurism.
The first movie, Shaun of the Dead, follows a classic zombie plot; the second one, Hot Fuzz, is a buddy cop movie; the third, The World's End, is an end-of-the-world sci-fi alien movie. The only thing linking these movies is neither the plot nor the underlying themes but random sequences with Cornettos of different flavours.
The colour of the Cornettos also works as a token of depiction for the three plots – the red one represents Shaun of the Dead, the blue represents Hot Fuzz, and the green one is The World's End, because aliens are supposed to be green.
The first time I saw Shaun of the Dead, I was caught off guard by its low-budget indie charm. It manages to be a comedy zombie movie that doesn't try to be too funny, has emotional moments here and there and finishes off in an unpredictable way.
Hot Fuzz, on the other hand, delivers one of the best buddy cop stories, beating genre clichés, and gifts us a wholesome cop duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Meanwhile, The World's End is basically a stoner movie that takes a hard sci-fi turn and presents its protagonists with ridiculous obstacles. The main character's struggles with growing up and his friendship with Frost's co-lead stay at the heart of all three movies.
What separates the Cornetto movies from their genre counterparts is that they don't take themselves too seriously. Their absurd plots don't linger on any more than it needs to. Also, the jokes are funny and have aged well. The script doesn't try to be overly funny and manages to not lose out on the underlying deeper stuff. The offbeat dialogues and eccentricity of the characters work well but don't pull back on character development. Unlike most of the Marvel movies these days that take a similar direction but end up being uninspired.
The films don't feel like a lot of funny things stitched together to make up for the lack of a real plot like most of the stuff these days. The emotional scenes work out. And you get a film that doesn't suffer from the passage of time like many of these similar (read: every The Rock movie) movies do.
The decision to make the movies an anthology works well too. Tying the plots together might have made the movies unforgettable or mediocre.
The success of the Cornetto trilogy ended up making Edgar Wright a modern powerhouse. Close pan shots, characters taking long intervals between sentences, sublime soundtrack, and the cheap plastic tint he gives to his films carries on well and makes them stand out. These are all signature Edgar Wright quirks that he went on to perfect in his newer films, making him an auteur, and we don't get this type of film usually made by auteurs.
Unlike most of the comedy action movies these days that wander into obsolescence after a year or two, the Cornetto Trilogy is worth a rewatch for years to come.
Syed Tamjid Tazwar is a contributor at Shout. Contact him at [email protected]