Bloggaday 25 Shaun of the Sociological Perspective of Issues
As you may remember, I had to write a paper yesterday for a class yesterday. Hmm, that may not be the most memorable part of yesterday’s Bloggaday 24. Yay for BSing a paper. On a sidenote, today is going to be a d’oh (day of hell). Here is the paper
Movie Content Analysis
In 2004, Shaun of the Dead, a zombie spoof movie came out staring Simon Peg as Shaun and Nick Frost as Ed. Despite the humorous nature of the movie, it still encompasses several social issues. We can see it dealing with alcohol use, family dynamics, unemployment, work, and aging.
The earliest and one of the most prominent issues in the film is alcohol. The very beginning of the movie is set in the Winchester bar. The movie takes this setting and introduces the characters. Shaun, the lead; Liz, the girlfriend; Ed, the best friend; and Dianne and David as the girlfriend’s friends. The film shows how prominent alcohol is in the lead character’s life as he and the Liz fight about how much time they spend in the Winchester among other problems in their relationship. After he fails to get seats at a restaurant for their three-year anniversary, Ed suggests to him, who then suggests to her that they should go to the Winchester for their anneversary. When Liz breaks up with Shaun, she tells him that “If I don't do something, I'm going to end up going into that pub every night for the rest of my life like the rest of those sad old fuckers, drinking myself to death and wondering what the hell happened.” Interestingly, during the course of the movie, Shaun and Ed go to the Winchester every day. After Shaun and Liz had broken up, he and Ed go immediately to the bar and drink. Ed even goes so far as to advise Shaun to take the next day and do nothing but drink. Once the outbreak finally affects the two main character’s lives, they decide to rescue Shaun’s mom and girlfriend and hide out at the Winchester, which offers a venue for Ed to smoke (an activity already demonized earlier in the movie). Even when the main character tries to use alcohol in a beneficial manner, using it to start a fire and create a barrier between them and the zombies, it literally backfires on them. The last of their bullets were on the bar where Shaun started the fire and begin firing.
Along with alcohol, issues with the character’s getting older and being stuck in a regressed state are strewn throughout the film. When Shaun and Ed are together, the two regress into immature guys. Shaun’s roommate even says that they are not in college any more, and that he needs to get his life together. The contrast between the two and Shaun’s roommate is best shown after Shaun and Liz break up. After getting drunk, Shaun and Ed go home and play their records at 4 in the morning. The roommate comes in and explains to them that it’s Sunday, not Saturday, and that work is in four hours. All of this comes as the main character is 29, a far cry from college days. This point is shown in the middle of the movie. After they rescued Shaun’s mom and girlfriend, his father-in-law turns into a zombie in the backseat with Shaun. When he tries to escape, he’s locked in because of the child locks. Despite Ed being out of the car, he froze and couldn’t open the door. Only when Shaun’s girlfriend gets out, does she open the door. As Shaun overcomes obstacles in the movie, he seems to win this battle of regression.
This battle of age continues and presents itself with the jobs, or lack thereof, of the main characters. Ed is unemployed except for selling the occasion bit of pot (something Shaun’s roommate did in college). Liz is head of English at a school. Shaun is working at an electronics store, the oldest employee there among teenagers. This point is reinforced when he meets an old friend who just bought a house, and when she asked him what he did now, she mentioned the last time she saw him, he was working at some electronic store.
Along with the age aspect of the movie, it also deals with family relationships throughout the movie. The most prominent and evolutionary relationship in the movie is between Shaun and Liz. Shaun starts the film very codependent on Ed, but as Shaun evolves through the movie, this relationship switches to him and Liz. The turning point in these relationships was when Liz opens the child lock door on the car. Increasingly, Ed plays less and less of a role in future zombie attacks, allowing Liz to take the role. Towards the beginning of the movie, Shaun also has a very loose relationship with his mother. His father-in-law tries to motivate him into being a better son. Until his father-in-law dies, Shaun remains very resentful of him. Just before he passes, Shaun has a revelation though and changes his mind. He also moves closer and closer to an unconditional love of his mother as the movie plays out.
We can see that the maker of the movie sees these afflictions and incapacities of dealing with life affecting everyone in life. The zombie plague itself is this in society. Towards the beginning of the movie, when these problems are affecting him the most, Shaun is seen repeatedly shambling and moaning. At the end of the movie, he is seen shambling again, but it is coupled with moderation. His girlfriend even suggests going to the Winchester, but the bar and alcohol is simply a part of the day, not the entire day or end of the day. He even plays videogames with a zombified Ed in the shed. He is successful in taking aspects of his life and compartmentalizes them. Ed as a zombie acts as one of these compartments. Other aspects of his life are adult in nature.
Many comedy movies, especially ones that are spoofs of other movies tend to be rather shallow. Shaun of the Dead does not fit this mold. Using humor, the movie deals with several issues facing society today. Among other things, it deals with alcohol use, aging, unemployment, work, and family dynamics. It deals with these problems very fluently and intellectually.
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