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Five Things To Watch In Preparation For "Baby Driver"

After the close call of Ant-Man, June 28 marks Edgar Wright’s return to the big screen since 2013’s The World’s End. As with every Wright film, Baby Driver is packed with great editing, a wonderful soundtrack and about as much fun as you can expect at the movies. But Wright's films are also unapologetically full of references and homages to the entertainment that inspired him. Before seeing Wright's latest film in a few weeks, check out these five things to prepare you for the greatness that is Baby Driver.

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"Bellbottoms" by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

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In a post-screening Q&A at this year’s SXSW, Wright explained to moderator Robert Rodriguez that the first ideas for Baby Driver came to him when he was just 21. Wright stated that when he first movie to London, he “just listened to ‘Bellbottoms’ over and over and over again. I started to visualize a car chase that would go along with the music.” Fittingly, “Bellbottoms” scores the opening of Baby Driver, bringing to fruition the core idea that Wright had 22 years ago.

But this anecdote also shows the wonderful melding of film and music that Wright has utilized over his career. Who can forget the Queen-scored fight at The Winchester Pub in Shaun of the Dead, or the way Wright’s impeccable editing around music has influenced all of his films since? It’s this combination of audio and visual that brings Wright’s greatest strengths to the forefront in Baby Driver.

“Blue Song” by Mint Royale

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Even prior to his directorial debut with Shaun of the Dead, Wright was already working out some of the ideas that would eventually become Baby Driver. In 2002, Wright directed the video for “Blue Song” by the Manchester band Mint Royale. Wright said “I sort of used my opening scene for that video,” which features Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt from Mighty Boosh as well as Michael Smiley from Spaced and frequent Wright collaborator Nick Frost.

“Blue Song” features Fielding as a getaway driver for a bank robbery. Yet instead of following the action within the bank, Wright decides to stay with Fielding in the car, as he dances and sings along to Mint Royale on his dash-mounted CD player. The video is an excellent intro into the world of Wright, a tightly directed, toe-tapping scene that is action-packed, despite the action occurring completely off screen.

"The Driver"

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Wright has stated that Walter Hill’s 1978 film The Driver was a direct influence on Baby Driver, as the film focuses on a character known as The Driver (Ryan O’Neal) who drives getaway cars for robberies. He’s impossible to catch, yet The Detective (Bruce Dern) is attempting to be the first, creating a set-up robbery to snatch The Driver.

If this sounds familiar, The Driver also heavily influenced Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive, right down to its nameless characters and double-crosses. But both Refn’s Drive and Wright’s Baby Driver share similar DNA, with impeccably choreographed car maneuvers with excellent curated soundtracks. Inspiring both Refn and Wright, The Driver might be the most influential car chase film of the 2010s.

Edgar Wright’s “holy trinity” of 90s heist movies

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When discussing his influences for Baby Driver, Wright always falls back to what he calls the “holy trinity” of 90s heist movies: Point Break, Reservoir Dogs and Heat. If you’re going to be influenced by any directors, you can’t do much better than Kathryn Bigelow, Michael Mann, and Wright’s friend Quentin Tarantino.

These three films have certainly led the way for the heist films, leading to everything from the Fast and Furious franchise to Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. But besides time period and style similarities, they’re also insanely fun and endlessly rewatchable. Wright knows how to make a damn fine film that deserves to be watched dozens of times, without ever losing its greatness.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"

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Because, c’mon, like you need a reason to rewatch Scotty P.

As previously mentioned, Baby Driver takes the car chase genre and almost shifts it into musical territory. Over his career, Wright has taken several beloved genres and flipped them with completely new ideas. He’s brought the malaise of navigating your 20s to the zombie film (Shaun of the Dead), showed the influence of film and friendships into the world of action comedy (Hot Fuzz) and made middle age a significant part of an alien apocalypse (The World’s End).

Wright’s third film, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a flurry of edits, phenomenal musical cues and a surprisingly effective romance that tugs at the heartstrings. It’s also proof that Wright can basically do whatever the hell he wants. Wright never fits into any specific genre, but rather combines any influence he can into one cohesive story. Somehow, Wright can make Super Mario references, Beck songs and Vegan Police all tie together into one of the best comedies in years.

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