THE BREAKDOWN with SUNSHINE - Edgar Wright
Sunshine Mayfield @Mr_Sun_Shine
The Breakdown is an attempt at looking at a Director’s career through 3 different lenses. Critical and General Reception, The Financial Impact, the Defining Style.
With the upcoming release of Baby Driver (trailer located here), I thought that it might be a good time to dissect the work of the film’s director. By looking through his film projects based on critical/public reception, the financial details, and trademark style, I hope to convince you all that this auteur deserves to find his way onto your watchlist, if he hasn’t already. So below is The Breakdown: Edgar Wright
Shaun of the Dead
Rotten Tomatoes - 92%
IMDB - 8/10
Metacritic - 76
Rotten Tomatoes - 91%
IMDB - 7.9/10
Metacritic - 81
Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Rotten Tomatoes - 81%
IMDB - 7.5/10
Metacritic - 69
The World’s End
Rotten Tomatoes - 89%
IMDB - 7/10
Metacritic - 81
Average Score (An average of the 3 main rating sites on a 100pt scale) - 80.3
II. The Financial Impact:
For this financial impact of Edgar Wright, we will look at the budget of the film and compare it to the it’s worldwide grossing total, not including DVD sales.
SOTD - Budget of $5,000,000 - Grossing: $30,039,392 = +$25,039,392
HF - $10,000,000 Budget - Grossing: $80,573,774 = +$70,573,774
SPVTW - Budget of $60,000,000 - Grossing: $47,664,559 = -$12,335,441
TWE - Budget of 20,000,000 - Grossing: 46,089,287 = +$26,089,287
Total Financial Score: $109,367,012
III. The Defining Style
What does Edgar Wright do differently than his peers? I notice two main differences that I notice in the work of Wright.
His attention to detail is incredible, normally used as an homage to the genre of the film. Every cut, prop, and sound effect has a purpose. I know I know, it is easy to argue that this is the case for every director, but I would argue that Wright does this to a much higher standard than the average. If you put on a trivia track from any of Edgar Wright’s Blu-Rays/DVDs, you will see moment after moment of intentional dialogue, copied sound effects, and precise editing that directly speaks to the style of the movie. An example of this would be in his hot action cop flick “Hot Fuzz”, set in the town of Stanford, given it’s name in the movie because it is the fictional town commonly used on Police examinations. In the comic book adaptation/video game themed “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”, the love interest, Romona, has her hair change to 3 different colors throughout the movie. This directly correlates with the colors that represent the three goddesses from the Legend of Zelda series. Each movie is filled with hundreds of details similar to these that add an insane amount of depth to the worlds that he is creating.
His visual edits break away from a mundane style of storytelling. He doesn’t tell you his stories through stationary conversations, but through well-planned cuts and edits that take full advantage of the visual medium. A great breakdown of this can be seen in the video “Edgar Wright - How To Do Visual Comedy” by Every Frame a Painting. You can find it here. One of my favorite portions of this video pits two apocalyptic movies together, “Shaun of the Dead” and the Rogen/Goldberg project “This is the End”. The two movies both have scenes where the deadly events of the movie are foreshadowed on television. In “This Is The End”, the main characters talk while b-roll of news stories play on a television is cut into frame with no major connection to the characters. It works to get the point across but it plays very simply. In “Shaun of the Dead” we see a similar situation, but in this scene we see Shaun changing channels where each new station forms a perfectly formed sentence of warning throughout mundane channel surfing and it works perfectly. It is this attention to detail and storytelling that Wright does in each of his films which help separate him from the rest of the pack.
That’s a Wrap:
Edgar Wright uses well placed visual cues and details to create incredible stories that people don’t go see until they build cult followings. Though he is recieved fairly well, he is not proving to be a financial juggernaut but my hopes are that Baby Driver can prove to be more financially viable.
Years Active (Director) : 2004 - Present (13 Years)
Sunshine’s Rankings of Edgar Wright Films:
Hot Fuzz (2007) 10/10
Shaun of the Dead (2004) 9/10
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010) 8/10
The World’s End (2013) 8/10