Film Review: The World’s End
Edgar Wright’s The World’s End is the final chapter in his Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy which also includes Shaun the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Each film pays homage to a different film genre; Shaun of the Dead honored zombie films while Hot Fuzz was a send-up of 80s and 90s action films. His latest film reunites him with his previous stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as they drunkenly try to stop an alien invasion.
Nearly twenty years after going their separate ways Gary King (Simon Pegg) reunites his childhood friends to complete the “Golden Mile,” an infamous pub crawl across twelve pubs in their childhood home of Newton Haven. What begins as an awkwardly boring trip down memory lane turns into a battle of survival as they discover the town has been taken over by robots intending not only to take over the world but to keep them from reaching their final pub – The World’s End.
Watching The World’s End gives you the familiar feeling of heading into a bar you used to visit often but something you can’t put your finger on feels different – not unlike what our heroes go through in the film. Despite the silly plot, the film’s underlying message is more mature and personal than what some audiences may be expecting. Most of the time The World’s End is successful in being either funny or serious; problems only arise when it changes gears too quickly or too often.
Problems with the pacing begin to crop up in the film’s second half and continue through its original Star Trek series style finale. There are still a lot of laughs to be had in the latter half of The World’s End but as it moves closer to its inevitable conclusion you may wish for more of the lighthearted banter heard early on.
Small complaints aside, The World’s End is one of the best comedies of 2013 thus far. It may not have the stitch-causing laughs of Shaun of the Dead, but few films do. Simon Pegg delivers a wonderfully manic performance that perfectly demonstrates his unique brand of humor. In a bold move, the usually oafish Nick Frost becomes Hardy to Pegg’s Laurel. It goes against their usual dynamic, but it pays offs many times over.
The remaining cast of The World’s End consists of Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, David Bradley, and Pierce Brosnan. Martin Freeman had small roles in both Shaun of the Dead and Hott Fuzz while Considine and Bradley both appeared in Hot Fuzz. Everyone fits their parts well, and the usually dry Rosamund Pike even sneaks in a few laughs. Sadly, unless I missed it, there isn’t so much as a wink or a nod between Brosnan and Pike who appeared together in the dreadful Die Another Day.
It’s unlikely to dethrone Shaun of the Dead as Edgar Wright’s best film in the eyes of most of his fans, but The World’s End is still very entertaining. The film is not without its flaws, but the wonderful ensemble cast works hard to successfully overcome most of the script’s larger issues. Find yourself a good theater that serves your favorite (hopefully British) beer and try to keep pace on your way to The World’s End.