H D - S E L E C T

A view on HD DVDs by Yunda Eddie Feng


Introduction: Hello, Beaver readers! I became a serious cineophile in 1994 when I saw Schindler's List on my birthday. I realized that movies weren't just for fun--they could be serious art, too (even mainstream popcorn flicks if they're made with skill). Although I have a BA in English, I went to grad school for an MA in Film Studies. There, I met my mentor Dr. Warren Buckland, who shares my interest in Steven Spielberg's artistry (Spielberg and art aren't mutually exclusive). I helped edit Dr. Buckland's book Directed by Steven Spielberg: Poetics of the Contemporary Hollywood Blockbuster. I also contributed a chapter to Dr. Buckland's forthcoming anthology of essays about "complex storytelling" movies--movies that avoid classical linear storylines in favor of temporal disruptions, unreliable narrators, metatheatrical/"self-aware" references, etc.

Eddie's Home Theatre:
Sharp 30-inch LCD TV (1280x768 resolution)
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player
Oppo OPDV971H SD-DVD player
Pioneer 7.1 DD/DTS receiver
Harmon Kardon speakers (5.1)

(I'm using the HD-A2's optical audio connection to obtain DTS 5.1 downmixes.)

Yunda Eddie Feng












Shaun of the Dead HD-DVD

(Edgar Wright, 2004)


Universal (USA)

2.35:1 1080p

100 minutes

Audio: DD Plus 5.1 English, DD Plus 5.1 French

Subtitles: Optional English SDH, French

Extras: two audio commentaries; Zomb-O-Meter trivia track; Storyboard Comparison; Simon Pegg’s Video Diary; Casting Tapes; Edgar & Simon’s Flip Chart; SFX Comparison; Make-up Tests; EPK Featurette; Missing Bits (deleted scenes and outtakes); still galleries; theatrical trailer; TV Bits; My Scenes

Released: 31 July 2007

HD-DVD case

37 chapters




The Film:

There is something intrinsically ridiculous about zombie movies.  No matter how scary they want to be, the spectacle of famished corpses lurching and groaning with their insatiable hunger for flesh and blood is worth at least a titter.  The British horror comedy Shaun of the Dead skillfully plays off that ridiculousness by implying that Britain may already be populated with the living dead, metaphorically speaking.


By treating the genre as a joke, this satire, whose title plays off George A. Romero’s 1979 golden oldie, Dawn of the Dead, yields ironic dramatic dividends.  As the number of zombies popping out of their graves multiplies exponentially, the monster population density on the streets of North London makes things increasingly creepy.  The motley Londoners who face down the creatures are so inept and unthinking in their response to the catastrophe that the uncharitable part of you may decide that they deserve their probable (but not guaranteed) fates during what panicked television comm

entators label Z-Day.

Excerpt from Stephen Holden, The New York Times located HERE




The 2.35:1 1080p picture has a lightly grainy look that is par for indie productions using inexpensive film stock.  Nevertheless, the image looks quite good, with solid, natural colors.  The level of sharpness and detail frequently match the more-recent Hot Fuzz.



Designed as a low-budget spoof of low-budget zombie movies, the movie’s DD Plus 5.1 English track is not very dynamic despite Shaun of the Dead’s recent vintage.  Most of the action takes place in the front center channel, though playful zombie noises pop up in the other speakers, particularly the rear ones, from time to time.  The subwoofer rumbles occasionally but never really threatens to take over the room.


You can also watch the movie with a DD Plus 5.1 French dub.  Optional English SDH and French subtitles support the audio.



There are two audio commentaries, one by director Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, the other by principal members of the cast.  All the participants express their affection for zombie movies and the production, though their energy can be a bit wearying.


You can watch the movie with the Zomb-O-Meter, which is a subtitle track with trivia about this and other zombie movies.  The “Storyboard Comparison” allows you to see how certain sequences were first envisioned.


Under the “Raw Meat” sub-category, you’ll find behind-the-scenes featurettes such as Simon Pegg’s Video Diary, Casting Tapes, Edgar & Simon’s Flip Chart, SFX Comparison, Make-up Tests, and an EPK Featurette.

Zombie Gallery is a collection of stills and posters.  Missing Bits provides a selection of deleted scenes and outtakes, and TV Bits has a handful of promos that were shown on TV.  You also get the movie’s theatrical trailer.

Finally, you can bookmark your favorite moments with “My Scenes”.


An insert advertises other Universal HD-DVDs.








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