My Ranking of Edgar Wright's Work
I recently saw Baby Driver by Edgar Wright (it's excellent, go see it) and decided to rank his work in order of favorite to least favorite. This list includes the show Spaced, which he directed every episode of but did not write, and excludes his debut film A Fist Full of Fingers because I haven't been able to find it.
6. Baby Driver
Full disclaimer, the only reason I'm ranking this last is because I've only seen it once but I LOVED it. The cast is phenomenal once again. Jaimee Foxx and Jon Hamm play excellent criminals, Ansel Efort gives a great, initially subtle but then desperate performance, and CJ Jones does a wonderful job as Baby's deaf foster father. Edgar Wright strays a little bit from his typical directing style, but applies it where it counts. The car chases, especially the one at the start of the movie, are some of the best I've seen. As great as the car chases and action scenes are, the movie as some of Edgar Wright's best poignant scenes of his career - especially those between Baby and his foster father Joe. Of course I have to mention how phenomenal the soundtrack of the movie is and how well the music is utilized during the movie. It's as good, if not a little better, than how the music is used in Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. This is a really great movie that I highly recommend, and I'm sure the more times I see it the higher up this list it will end up.
5. The World's End
The third film in the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, while the "worst" film of the trilogy, is still a great movie. When I first saw it I really liked it and it's grown on me even more the more I've watched it. It brilliantly takes the "getting the gang back together for one last ride" movie set up and turns it on its head by introducing aliens and robots (but don't call them robots though). I think Simon Pegg gives his best performance of the trilogy in this movie as Gary King. The supporting cast is brilliant as usual (who doesn't love a bunch of Martin Freeman?). And there's another James Bond in this, with Pierce Brosnan playing a robot (don't call them robots though).
Edgar didn't write for the show, but he directed every episode. It's a really great show written and created by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson (who had a cameo as Yvonne in Shaun of the Dead). The show is the Cornetto Trilogy meets British sitcom and it works out excellently. The show tackles sitcom clichés and turns them on their head, brings in geekdom and voices the frustration of geeks (especially their rage against The Phantom Menace), and celebrates ridiculous characters while utilizing Edgar Wright's signature directing style. The only thing that sucks about this show is that there were only 14 episodes.
3. Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Edgar Wright's first (technically) and so far only (unfortunately) foray into comic book movies. Actually it's adapted from a graphic novel, but regardless. I say technically his first because even though he had been writing, or finished writing, Ant-Man, Scott Pilgrim actually got released. Obviously Ant-Man came out, but it wasn't Edgar Wright's version regardless of how much of his script ended up being used for the movie.
This is the best video game movie ever made (not that there's any good competition, but still) and it's not even based on a game. Much like the buddy-cop and action genres were perfect for Edgar's directing style, so too was this video gameish movie. The rapid fire witty dialogue, quick cuts, and impeccably timed visual comedy he's known for blended seamlessly with the script for this movie. The visuals, sound effects, and background gags/easter eggs perfectly fit the tone of Scott Pilgrim. Even the short animated prequel was great.
It's just a shame it was mismarketed and didn't do well at the box office like it deserved to. Thankfully it killed on DVD.
2. Shaun of the Dead
The movie that launched Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost internationally. Yes, Pegg was on two episodes of Band of Brothers, but Shaun of the Dead is what really gained him an international presence. It also just so happened to be the first of Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy.
There have been many comedy-zombie movies over the years, but few have pulled it off as well as Shaun of the Dead. The movie is excellently written, cast, and acted. It's so great that you don't even notice Shaun and Ed tell you the entire plot and events of the movie right in the beginning at the Winchester the first time you watch it. Or maybe you're just finding that out now.
Unlike Hot Fuzz, the humor outshines the action/violence in this movie but that's not a bad thing because it fits for Shaun of the Dead and the lesser action is made up for with gore. And of course it wouldn't be an Edgar Wright or Simon Pegg production without a TON of homages/references to the great zombie movies, especially those made by the recently passed George A. Romero.
1. Hot Fuzz
What can be said of this movie that hasn't already been said since its release? In my opinion it is not only Edgar Wright's best work, but it also one of the best comedy action movies of all time. Everything in it is excellent. The script, direction, casting, performances, everything. I fell in love with this movie from the very beginning when all of Sergeant Angel's superiors were brought in to explain him being transferred because he was making everyone look bad.
The buddy-cop and action genres were perfect for Edgar's directing style and it enhances an already excellent script. The rapid fire witty dialogue, quick cuts, and impeccably timed visual comedy he's known for mesh so well with the genre. Plus it packs in so many homages and references not only to the classic cop movies, but his previous works as well. Oh, and there's a lot of gratuitous blood. Plus it had a James Bond (Timothy Dalton) and The Hound (Rory McCann)! Aside from those two, the rest of the supporting characters steal the scene every time there on screen as Edgar Wright always gives his side characters an opportunity to shine.
It's doesn't happen often that the second film in a trilogy is the best one, obviously there are exceptions with Hot Fuzz being one of them.
Let me know your ranking of Edgar Wright's work, your favorite characters from his movies or Spaced, and what your favorite moments are!