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Official HTF HD Review: Hot Fuzz (HIGHLY Recommended!)


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#1 of 52 Sam Posten

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Posted July 31 2007 - 05:35 AM

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HD DVD Title: Hot Fuzz (Combo format)
Rated: R
Screen format: 1080P 2.35:1 VC-1 Encoded
Studio: Universal
First theatrical release: 14 February 2007 (Ireland), 14 March US
Previously released on DVD/BluRay: Day and date with Widescreen DVD
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, and Timothy Dalton
Sound Formats: English & French Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 EX
Length: 2 Hours, 1 Minute
Subtitles: English, French



Plot: 4/5
From the team that created Shaun of the Dead comes follow-up Hot Fuzz. Whereas Shaun was envisioned as the English answer to the film Dawn of the Dead, Fuzz is meant to be both an homage to and English re-imagining of the American Buddy-Cop genre and the flip side to the English crime caper, with the Bobby getting the spotlight this time around.

Supercop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) has earned every distinction the London force can credit an officer with, with a capture and conviction rate 400% above the average. In effect, he makes the rest of the force look bad. Following the Dilbert Principle, his superiors give him a promotion, but in doing so remove him from the action in central London to what should be a much quieter locale out in the English countryside, in the town voted most desirable place to live for years running. There he teams up with underachiever (and cop film superfan) PC Danny Butterman (Frost). All is not as it seems, as a series of gruesome deaths leave Angel convinced that there is a killer on the loose in town, and he will have to use every bit of his training and intuition to track them down.

As for the acting, it’s a veritable who’s who of English greats. Dalton steals the show as smarmy grocery store owner Skinner, Bill Nighy is briefly seen as a lead London official and Paddy Considine and Rafe Spall bring great laughs as “The Andys”. Pegg and Frost, real life best friends revisit the buddy film to great success, and also push the envelope of male bonding to its extreme, and it’s obvious they get a kick out of making the audience squirm as the relationship between the two progresses.

Director Wright and co-writer Pegg completely nail their goal, producing a film that not only incorporates every classic cop story element but mixes in very Hitchcockian story telling, slick editing and scene transitions, an immersive sound mix, and perhaps most importantly one of the most hilarious and engaging gun battles ever filmed. While the actual plot runs a bit loony towards the end, it really doesn’t matter as all of the other elements are running full steam ahead and more than make up for it.

If this were a serious film the silly plot would be a major distraction, but here it’s just the kind of thing one would expect given the principals involved. Fuzz is destined to be one of those films that is remembered for its terrific action sequences, quotable lines, brisk editing, and for taking its place next to the films that it holds dear.

Sound Quality: 5+/5
From the moment the film starts, even before the action appears on screen and while the leaders showing the production credits are rolling, the sound of Hot Fuzz is aggressive, enveloping, and humming in and across every part of the room. This is surround sound in every sense of the word, with not just minor effects keys being used occasionally in the background, but a true holosonic environment that is felt the entire 2 hour run of the movie. Incredibly, during the many action sequences this gets taken to an even more mind reeling level, as bullets fly from all corners, shotguns blast with a guttural and satisfying punch, and in one key sequence an explosion can be felt to rock the room from front to back. Musically, the theme music isn’t used as dramatically as it is in some cop movies, veteran 007 Composer David Arnold has crafted a theme that fits the film perfectly, subtly underscoring the action without becoming the focal point.

I initially bought my first DVD player after being awed by one single chapter of a single movie, the “Guitar Fighter Showdown” from Desperado. The audio from the gun battles in Hot Fuzz put that to shame and that is saying a lot. Simply put, you can argue the merits of individual surround sound formats till you are blue in the face, but, content wise, I suspect that this is about as good as surround sound can hope to get in the home.

Visual Quality: 4.5/5
From a cinematographic perspective, Hot Fuzz takes on the very stark look that has permeated the wave of English Crime stories of the last decade, featuring blown highlights and deep areas of black. While grain is used in some scenes it was never distracting or noisy. I never noticed one bit of edge enhancement or other digital artifacts, and this is a perfectly clean transfer, no pops or scratches made their way in. While the color palette is mostly diminished due to artistic choices, there are many outdoor scenes where color is allowed to shine through and this transfer captures all that the film has to offer. Likewise, detail levels are mostly high throughout, tho not the best I’ve seen, it’s still very good, and sharpness is similarly spot on throughout. Viewers will be very happy with this transfer but I wouldn’t classify it reference material for the most part.

Extra Features: 5+/5
Hot Fuzz contains an incredible flood of extra features and it’s clear from all of them that Pegg and Wright clearly love what they are doing and having a great time doing it, and that they have embraced the digital era in doing so. First up, we find three separate commentary tracks, a half dozen trailers, a collection of promotional posters and a score of on set photos. Next, every single story board is included, chapter by chapter. Also included are a ton of out takes and deleted scenes, these were great but the audio on them seemed to be muted heavily. Besides the commentaries, there is a trivia track that runs the full length. About 30 production ‘video blogs’ ala the King Kong diaries are included (you DID catch director Peter Jackson’s cameo as a deranged Santa Claus didn’t you?) as are a half dozen Computer Generated / Compositing sequences which show not only how the signature explosion is done, but also some of the car wrecks and the church steeple through the head gag. There is the customary ‘Making of’ featurette which interviews cast and crew, as well as a few other bits and bobs, including two which, looking over the back of the box just now, I must have missed on first run through as there is just so much in there! Throughout these extras Wright kept referencing his first film, shot on Super VHS, Dead Right, and I kept saying to myself ‘It would be neat if they had included that on the extras, but theres so much else on here I guess they couldn’t fit it.” Well, that IS the final extra feature, the full one hour film from 1993, including two separate introductions and two feature length commentaries!

Overall: 5/5 (not an average)
THIS is how disks are supposed to be done. This disk doesn’t even call itself any kind of special edition or directors cut or anything fancy, this is simply the standard first release on the film and it’s clear that Wright had his finger on EVERY part of it and it was done the way he wanted from the start. A second cut at it to wring extra cash out of the fans won’t be necessary. Simply outstanding!

If you own an HD DVD player this disk simply must be in your collection, and I hope sales of it are through the roof, as HD DVD owners HAVE to support quality productions like this to encourage the studios to do it right the first time instead of nickle and diming the fans all the time. If you don’t yet own an HD DVD deck, this disk may just be the reason you are looking for to get one. Highly recommended!

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#2 of 52 Ryan Peddle

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Posted July 31 2007 - 05:45 AM

Sounds awesome. This flick has been on my radar for a long time and I will be stopping off on the way home from work to pick it up. Can't wait.

#3 of 52 Paul Arnette

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Posted July 31 2007 - 05:53 AM

If Combo Format wasn't my only HD option, I would definitely blind-buy this. As it stand now, I won't. Its become a matter of principle for me.
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#4 of 52 Tino

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Posted July 31 2007 - 06:10 AM

I wish I liked the film better as I would have bought it in a heartbeat, as I did with Shaun Of The Dead.

Since I thought it was waaaaay overrated, I think I'll just rent it first to see if it improved any in my mind. If it does, I'll buy it.
It's gonna be a hell of a ride. I'm ready. .

#5 of 52 Chris S

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Posted July 31 2007 - 06:57 AM

Thanks for the Review! I was worried that there could have been some slouching on the audio and video quality given that this is a primarily a comedy and they're not always given the highest consideration. Great to see they gave this release the polish it deserves the first time around.
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#6 of 52 Marko Berg

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Posted July 31 2007 - 07:01 AM

Thanks for the review!

I'm the opposite of Paul; since I don't have a HD DVD player yet, I'm happy that I can enjoy the film now and not have to buy it twice if it turns out I like it enough to warrant the upgrade in image and sound quality, as I will have to with many other titles.

#7 of 52 Sam Posten

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Posted July 31 2007 - 07:07 AM

Paul, I'm there with you on the Combo issue. Universal have clearly chosen to release EVERY new release in Combo format so you can basically forget any of their releases until either they change or you do. Shop around and I bet you can get this title very reasonably. The more Combo disks get sold, the cheaper the format gets for everyone, hate to sound defeatist or like a shill, but it's sad but true!

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#8 of 52 Paul Arnette

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Posted July 31 2007 - 07:12 AM

Sam, I think may troll the used sections of sites like this one for a bit first. That way I'm bound to get it cheaper, and I don't feel like I contributed to the problem (as much). Posted Image
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#9 of 52 ppltd

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Posted July 31 2007 - 12:51 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Posten
Paul, I'm there with you on the Combo issue. Universal have clearly chosen to release EVERY new release in Combo format so you can basically forget any of their releases until either they change or you do. Shop around and I bet you can get this title very reasonably. The more Combo disks get sold, the cheaper the format gets for everyone, hate to sound defeatist or like a shill, but it's sad but true!
I recieved my copy over the weekend and had no time to watch it. As I am travelling this week, I took it along, and because of the Combo nature of the release, will be able to watch it on my Portable DVD player some time this week. If it isn't evident, I have no issue at all with the Combos, as long as they are restricted to new releases only. Universal is doing the right thing here, IMO.

Now to the review. What can I say, Sam, another fine review. This is one of my favorite films of the last 6 or 7 months and I am glad to hear that Universal has done it right. First Dante's Peak, and now Hot Fuzz. Here's hoping Shaun of the Dead also gets this type of first class treatment.
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#10 of 52 Sam Posten

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Posted July 31 2007 - 03:03 PM

Watching Shaun late tonight =)

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#11 of 52 Archangel

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Posted July 31 2007 - 03:11 PM

If I can find it at the right price I may pick it up on a blind buy.

#12 of 52 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted August 01 2007 - 02:24 AM

I watched this last night and loved every bloody minute of it. Absolutely hilarious and totally British, through and through!

I had a silly grin on my face the whole time watching this, it made me feel like I was back home in the UK. So funny! I can't type out my favorite line, however, as I don't wish to be crude in this thread. Suffice to say, like Sam, I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who loves a laugh!

Neil
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#13 of 52 Ryan Peddle

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Posted August 01 2007 - 03:11 AM

I am all for the combo formats. I have not experienced one single issue with them and I am willing to pay the extra $4 on it because then I can use it in my portable dvd player, and in the car, and I can let my bluray buddy borrow it to watch the DVD side.

I think to boycott the title simply because it is a combo is a bit crazy since Uni is the only HDDVD exclusive studio, and the one studio that purchases would seriously help the format.

But to each his own. I have a need for the combo discs and only have one HD player in the house.

I also watched the first 10 mins of the movie last night just to see what the PQ was like (considering all the clamouring I have heard about it)...one word...WOW.

On my 92" screen with my Optoma HD70 it looks mindboggling. It is as sharp if not sharper than Corpse Bride. And for a live action movie that is saying something.

Hats off to the film makers as they have put a lot of effort into this disc and I hope it becomes a best seller and a benchmark for future releases. Uni, please think of this disc when Knocked Up is released.

#14 of 52 Mark Cappelletty

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Posted August 01 2007 - 04:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Peddle
I am all for the combo formats. I have not experienced one single issue with them and I am willing to pay the extra $4 on it because then I can use it in my portable dvd player, and in the car, and I can let my bluray buddy borrow it to watch the DVD side.

I think to boycott the title simply because it is a combo is a bit crazy since Uni is the only HDDVD exclusive studio, and the one studio that purchases would seriously help the format.

But to each his own. I have a need for the combo discs and only have one HD player in the house.

I also watched the first 10 mins of the movie last night just to see what the PQ was like (considering all the clamouring I have heard about it)...one word...WOW.

On my 92" screen with my Optoma HD70 it looks mindboggling. It is as sharp if not sharper than Corpse Bride. And for a live action movie that is saying something.

Hats off to the film makers as they have put a lot of effort into this disc and I hope it becomes a best seller and a benchmark for future releases. Uni, please think of this disc when Knocked Up is released.

I totally concur with the review and your assessment of Combo discs-- I'm going on a family vacation and bringing 300 and HOT FUZZ with me and happy to be able to view the standard-DVD side while away from my home theater.

My only beef is that the audio on the extras -- at least through my Xbox 360 add-on -- seems very low. I had to crank the audio WAY up to hear "The Man Who Would Be Fuzz" and the outtakes, which sound fine on the regular DVD side. This could be just an Xbox player anomaly, though.

If Universal can cram a HD-DVD full of extras, why does Paramount leave off content from the forthcoming FACE/OFF HD-DVD?

Also, has anyone seen the SHAUN OF THE DEAD HD-DVD? I'm on the fence about it-- the PQ on the standard-def DVD looks good upscaled and I don't really want to spend $20 for a hair's-breadth difference in sharpness and clarity.

#15 of 52 Bleddyn Williams

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Posted August 01 2007 - 04:42 AM

Thanks for the nice review Sam. Your enthusiasm for the disc comes through loud and clear!

I don't think its been mentioned yet, but there is a 30 minute featurette devoted to the guys US promotional tour. This is only on the DVD side, so be sure to check it out!

The one issue I have with what is in some ways a dream disc (quality film presentation, no nasty omissions on the extras) is that when you watch for example one of the trailers on the HD side, it takes so long to get back to the menu! Watch a 30-second trailer, and then spend about the same time getting back to the menu. For this reason, I would watch whatever extras are on the DVD side first, as you will be able to get through them much more quickly, then watch the HD side-only ones afterwards.

Can't wait to watch this and dive into the extras. With this, Shaun, 300 and Darkman in one week, its an embarrassment of HD DVD riches! Posted Image

#16 of 52 Bleddyn Williams

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Posted August 01 2007 - 04:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Cappelletty
If Universal can cram a HD-DVD full of extras, why does Paramount leave off content from the forthcoming FACE/OFF HD-DVD?

Yes - I'm very sceptical about the "space issues" that seem to preclude equal releases across both formats.

#17 of 52 Bleddyn Williams

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Posted August 01 2007 - 04:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
If Combo Format wasn't my only HD option, I would definitely blind-buy this. As it stand now, I won't. Its become a matter of principle for me.

Paul, I wouldn't let the fact that its a combo deprive you of the fun of a film you want to see.

Good luck finding a price you can live with, so you can enjoy the disc!

I personally have no problem with combos.

#18 of 52 ppltd

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Posted August 01 2007 - 05:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Peddle
I think to boycott the title simply because it is a combo is a bit crazy since Uni is the only HDDVD exclusive studio, and the one studio that purchases would seriously help the format.
I have no problem at all with someone not buying the disk because it is a Combo, but I think most protests are coming from people that don't even own or buy HD DVD disks. Posted Image

Paul is of course excluded from the above comment.Posted Image
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#19 of 52 Jesper

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Posted August 01 2007 - 05:22 AM

Thanks for review Sam, I have just ordered mine today.. Can't wait for this one.. Posted Image
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#20 of 52 Paul Arnette

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Posted August 01 2007 - 06:01 AM

Quote:
Paul is of course excluded from the above comment.Posted Image

lol Thanks for the exclusion. Posted Image I do buy HD DVDs every now and then.

Actually, lately I've been buying more than usual because there are finally some Univesal titles of interest to me (e.g. Streets of Fire (though that didn't turn out so well for me personally Posted Image), Being John Malkovich, and Shaun of the Dead, as well as Dawn of the Dead and Heroes pre-orders).

I did break down and buy this title just a few minutes ago. Its received such positive word-of-mouth both as a film and a HD DVD I couldn't resist any longer. But I would really prefer the option to buy an HD DVD only version of the film. I don't travel much, and when I do the last thing my wife is going to let me do is watch more movies. Posted Image
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.





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