Studying Hot Fuzz (Studying Films)
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By the power of Greyskull! In their second big-screen collaboration after Shaun of the Dead (2004), with Hot Fuzz (2007) director and co-writer Edgar Wright and co-writer and star Simon Pegg took aim at the conventions of the Hollywood action movie, transplanting gratuitous slo-mo action sequences into the English village supermarket and local pub. In this first critical study of arguably the most influential British film-makers to emerge this century, Neil Archer considers to what extent a modestly funded film such as this can be considered 'British' at all, given its international success and distribution by an American studio, and how far that success depends upon what he calls its 'cultural specificity'. He considers the film as a parody of the action movie genre, and discusses exactly how parody works – not just in relation to the conventions of the action film but also in the depiction of English space. Exactly what and who is Hot Fuzz poking fun at?
Force. The clever use of the 1982 Adam Ant hit ‘Goody Two Shoes’ in the soundtrack seems to be having a bit of fun at Angel’s expense; we might also note that Angel’s number, as seen on his shoulder, is 777, the godly alternative to Satan’s 666. But the sequence also celebrates Angel’s work in its stylistic, kinetic verve. Equally, given the confident and inventive way the sequence embraces the aesthetics of contemporary Hollywood movies, it is hard in this instance to suggest that the latter are
plot, as one person after another is horribly slain by the respectable members of the Neighbourhood Watch Association, indicates the way its parodic reference points cut both ways. In this case, it is the excesses, absurdities and unrealistic nature of English television that is here the subject matter of parody. The instructive lesson of Hot Fuzz is that all things are ripe for appropriation, both the ‘big’ and the ‘small’, the ‘global’ and the ‘local’. This is because neither of them really
between fans and stars, but by becoming global media events’ reinforce the power of celebrity – and hence the fundamental difference between stars and fans – even more. 69. Elana Shefrin, ‘Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Participatory Fandom: Mapping New Congruencies between the Internet and Media Entertainment Culture,’ Critical Studies in Mass Communication 21 (2004), pp.261-81. 70. Suzanne Scott and Henry Jenkins, ‘Textual Poachers, Twenty Years Later: A Conversation between Henry
is under threat from some form of violent alien life, and the rest of the film follows their efforts to negotiate both these monsters and the other ‘monsters’ – crazed criminals, other gangs and, in the end, the police – that they contend with on a day-to-day basis. Cornish’s intent to play out an alien-invasion narrative within the very specific confines of an inner-city estate partly recalls both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, mainly in the sense of mixing genre with location. The film draws
detail at Wright and Pegg’s long-awaited The World’s End. Casting a critical eye over these other films, as I will show, helps us to see a bit more clearly what gives Hot Fuzz its particular character, often through its difference to those other films that are supposedly its close relations. A last point before we move on. If I don’t spend much time in this book discussing some of the circumstances around Hot Fuzz’s production, this is largely because of space. But it’s also because much of this