The long awaited film from super-team Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg has finally hit American theaters. From the minds that created Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, this final film completes their loosely-tied together trilogy with a film about a town filled with robots made of blue gunk, and five friends on a mission to get plastered. Does the final film of the Cornetto trilogy satisfy like a delicious fresh cone on a hot summer day, or is it more of a frost-bitten monstrosity hidden in the depths of the freezer for too long?
Let’s take a look at The World’s End.
The film takes place in a small town in England, where five friends (or at least former friends) go back to finish the “Golden Mile” – a pub crawl with 12 different locations with the final bar being “The World’s End,” that they failed to complete in high school. Lead by Gary King, a man who is stuck in the past to avoid facing the future, the gang discovers that nearly everyone in their town has been turned into a robot (though they despise the term) that tries to convert them to the alien doctrine, or replace them. It’s up to the group of friends to survive the night all while getting plastered and dealing with some sticky emotional issues.
As far as the comedy goes, this film is pretty funny, though less so than Shaun of the Dead in my opinion. It’s an absurdist, action comedy, so if that falls into your definition of comedy then you’ll have a good time. The movie is well done, and carries a message about the stamping out of individuality and quirkiness in the small towns of England, as shown by all the pubs looking exactly the same, with the same menus, and same drinks. Coming from a culture where bars and pubs are a huge thing, I can understand where the film is coming from – they are local places that really attest to the character of a town, and their conformity to a set standard is really something to be mourned. This issue of course goes beyond just drinking establishments – it extends to many different institutions in British life, even down to the jobs these friends have. Like many sci-fi films, it is able to bring a point to the table amongst the flying robot heads.
This film is a reverse of most of the aspects of the other two films. Simon Pegg plays the goof while Nick Frost is the straight man, the ending is a reverse of the other two endings in the previous films, the use of a group versus the use of a duo, and of course, a lack of family ties (while there is a mother, we never see or hear her, and she is merely mentioned as a plot point). However, in all three films we see villains with similar ideological goals – conversion and assimilation – finally seeing it come full circle and really dealing with why it’s wrong to be one unified society without any differentiating characteristics even if humanity as a whole would be better off.
Enough on the implications of the plot – let’s talk about the construction of the film. The acting is strong all around, and there’s even a surprise appearance by Pierce Brosnan. Pegg and Frost do well in their reversed roles, which it definitely a plus since it could have been a disaster. The cinematography is strong, using the typical grainy footages for the flashbacks and the warm browns and neutral grays to denote the colorless, bland place the town has become. In fact, making the robot insides an electric blue was a great idea because it acts as a better contrast than red blood would have been. The action is well choreographed, albeit blurry from time to time, and the pacing can seem a bit rushed as they go from bar to bar. The director’s vision is clear, and like the other two movies, looks as great as it is funny. I wish we could have seen more of the post-blank world but beggars can’t be choosers, but at least they played up the contrasts between nostalgia and reality well.
The World’s End is a enjoyable, laugh-out-loud movie that also carries with it a message about the society it comes from. It’s a must see if you are a fan of the previous two films in the trilogy, especially because it serves as a fun and unexpected wrap up. If you are a sci-fi and/or comedy fan, definitely check this one out while it’s in theaters because it deserves to be seen on the big screen.
– Great story.
– Good laughs.
– Great cinematography.
– Some things could be better explained.
– Pacing can feel a little rushed at times (though not often).