Written by Tom Smith-Wrinch.
Edgar Wright has now become a household name within the cinematic world. And rightfully so. His ascent from directing British TV to cult comedies to full-blown studio films has been a joy to watch. But as a wise man once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. As his profile has increased, so have his budgets. With the release of his new film Last Night in Soho, one must ask where his latest star-studded spectacle ranks amongst his other iconic filmic editions. That said, here are Edgar Wright’s films, ranked.
6.) The World’s End
Whilst this may not come as a surprise to most, it certainly left many audiences disappointed in 2013. Labelled as the unofficial end of what has come to be known as The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy. The film follows Gary King (Simon Pegg) as he attempts to reunite his old school pals for one last night of revelry in their hometown. They follow a classic pub crawl that combines nostalgic longing with outright sci-fi in an Invasion of the Body Snatchers parody. Pegg and Frost play against their normal character archetypes and the film feels rather rushed in its explanations. Wright initially wrote the script when he was just 21 with a draft entitled Crawl chronicling, you guessed it, a pub crawl. Yes, the film makes some poignant comments on revisiting your past, estrangement and friendship. Yet it somehow lacks the punch of the director’s previous instalments. Third time unlucky it seems.
5.) Last Night in Soho
Edgar Wright’s most recent film isn’t exactly his usual comical style. He takes us on a warped time trip to Central London during the swinging sixties. From here, we follow a brilliant Thomasin McKenzie as she uncovers a murder-mystery style of events taking place within Wright’s colourful and gorgeously stylised vintage milieu. The director does his best to not locate his film in any particular genre which is most intriguing when one understands the complexities of the movie. His visual craft and penchant for cinematic storytelling are finely honed in his latest piece. Although lacking the vivacious bite of his other works, offers a dazzlingly original concept whilst commenting on the corruptive nature of the Big Smoke. Not quite his usual work but that said, certainly not his worst.
4.) Baby Driver
If you were ever struggling for song suggestions then you can be sure to fill your boots with Wright’s 2017 slick blockbuster. Baby Driver is a film that combines both The Fast and the Furious genre with the musical melodies of Pitch Perfect. It works purely because it is so Edgar Wright. Every sequence is perfectly timed to Wright’s Grammy-nominated soundtrack. Which is fantastic in that it is clearly just a compilation of Wright’s favourite songs worked into some sort of thematic order. Ansel Elgort is the film’s leading protagonist, Baby, who acts as the impassive yet furiously quick getaway driver for Kevin Spacey’s bank robbing team. Whilst you could argue that the heist genre has indeed been done to death. Wright’s penchant for music provides audiences with an audio-visual treat that hits all the right notes. Just try listening to Bell Bottoms on your next drive and not get a speeding ticket.
3.) Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
This 2010 comic-book adaptation from the same name is arguably Wright’s first major international feature. With a cast of Michael Cera, Chris Evans, Brie Larson and Mary Elizabeth-Winstead it certainly marks a turn away from the director’s usual motley crew. In order to continue dating his girlfriend Ramona Flowers, Scott (Cera) must defeat her seven evil exes. This may sound like a task of rather herculean proportions however Wright’s intricate use of transitions and action makes this epic an explosion of colour and chaos. According to his rather large fan club, Wright apparently never uses the same shot twice. This is true of this fun, stylised and wonderfully composed movie. Wright flexes his directorial prowess within each sequence as every fight scene is inventively distinct. The pop culture genre is where Wright thrives best whereby he communicates his inventiveness and knowledge of the culture whilst constantly keeping the movie at a manageable pace. If you want full-blown comic immersion, with stomach-cramping lines such as “You once were a ve-gone but now you will be-gone”, then this is the film for you.
2.) Shaun of the Dead
Ah, Wright’s first full feature length film and the picture that put him on the cinematic map. Shaun is arguably one of Wright’s best characters, a simple man of simple tastes who wants nothing more than to live out his days playing video games and drinking at his local pub, The Winchester. Unfortunately, man-eating creatures tend to disrupt such reveries. Wright apparently had the idea for this movie following a Resident Evil binge, emerging bleary-eyed and wondering what it would be like if a British person woke up to a hoard full of ravenous zombies. The concept is relatively simple however the execution is pure brilliance. Each character brings something to the blood-soaked table. Pegg and Frost’s chemistry throughout marks the beginning of a beautiful on-screen relationship that carries into Wright’s other classics. Littered with iconic movie moments (beating a zombie with pool cues to the melodic tones of Queen) and highly original concepts, this fun, flesh-filled horror-comedy deserves a spot near Wright’s cinematic pinnacle. Now how’s that for a slice of fried gold?
1.) Hot Fuzz
Now then, what do we have here? This film is what one might call a rarity in managing to avoid the much-maligned curse of ‘sequelitis’. Not only does Wright manage the expectations of his previous instalment, but he also thoroughly exceeds them. We follow the buddy-cop adventures of Sergeant Angel (or is it Angle?) and his faithful partner PC Danny Butterman, as they uncover a sinister plot brewing within the quaint British village of Sandford. Cinematic references, awesome action sequences, iconic quotes (believe us, there are lots), a star-studded cast and an innuendo-riddled Olivia Colman give this 2007 addition to the Cornetto Trilogy a deserved top spot in Wright’s filmography. In a film about the ‘greater good’, Wright deftly reveals how he can make the good just that much greater. Guilty as charged officer.