Edgar Wright’s third installment of the Cornetto trilogy contains the familiar ingredients that everyone has come to love: a cast of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, a fun twist on a genre, and a weird prospective on U.K living. Simon Pegg plays the unruly and the voice of the ill reasons, Gary King. King has convinced his old school friends for a promised night of drinking at their hometown of “Newton Haven” to venture into a 12 stop pub crawl called the “Golden Mile” which concludes to the pub named “The World’s End”. While King is still holding on to his young rebellious youth well into his adult years, his friends have grown into productive members of society. Andrew (Nick Frost) is a lawyer who has worked hard to become partner in a firm and hasn’t spoken to King in years. Steven (Paddy Considine) is an architect who was recently divorced, but is sleeping with a young yoga instructor. Oliver (Matrin “Bilbo” Freeman) is a real estate agent that is constantly on business mode and has no time for fun. Peter (Eddie Marsan) is a quite man that sells cars for his father and lives a simple life without drama.
The premise sounds nice and complex enough, but the real plot of the story deals with aliens, “Robots” and the invasion of earth. When King and his friends stumble upon the dark secret of “Newtown Haven” and learn about the invasion of alien robots, this only narrows their options to attempt the “Golden Mile” and get out of town.
How does a movie about five drunks and an alien invasion perform? Quite well actually. Like a beer after a shot, The World’s End is a blend of a tragedy comedy and an action sci-fi movie that somehow deals with facing rekindled friendships, facing adulthood, and punching robots in the face. The trailers might have mislead people to think this movie is a constant drunken bar fight, but it has a greater meaning than that.
The World’s End is a sleeper hit that I can say will become this year’s “Cabin In The Woods” surprise movie. If you are a big fan of Edgar Wright previous movies (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World included), and loved the randomness that was “Spaced”, then you’ll feel right at home with all the fast cutaways and zooms into random objects, the creative set-up banters, even a new twist on the Simon Pegg and Nick Frost dynamic by switching roles as Frost being the most reasonable and Pegg being the crazy one (Picture if Simon Pegg was “Ed” from Shawn of the Dead).
This movie is very aware of the silly, cliché tropes from sci-fi movies such as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “The Thing”, “The Stepford Wives”, and has a refreshing feel that leaves the audience with a pleased experience. It might not be everyone’s favorite Cornetto flavor, but it is a welcomed addition.
Summer 2013 may have saved the best for last as The World’s End is some of the most fun I’ve had at the theater this year. If you are a fan of the previous two movies in the Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), you don’t need to read anymore of this review, this movie is everything you expect and more and you should drop whatever you are doing and see it immediately. If you still need some convincing, read on.
The movie follows Gary King, played by Simon Pegg, whose whole life has been spent being obsessed with the one night he and his four friends tried and failed to complete the Golden Mile in their hometown of Newton Haven, where one drinks a pint at each of the town’s 12 pubs. All of King’s other friends have moved on into successful careers but Gary manages to manipulate and convince them all to come back and try the Golden Mile one last time. Things seemed to have changed but the gang doesn’t realize how much it as changed until about halfway into the movie, and then things get crazy. If this movie didn’t have any of the craziness of an invasion of evil robot dopplegangers and was just these five guys getting progressively more drunk, running into people from the past and hashing out their differences, it would still be a hilarious movie but the inclusion of over the top sci fi action and plot, and the dichotomy between that and low key British humor, is what makes this, and the other movies in the Cornetto Trilogy, special. One of my favorite scenes finds Gary and Steven (Paddy Considine) fighting robots outside a pub to defend their mutual love interest, Sam (Rosamund Pike) while the rest of the group is inside drinking and debating the best name to call their new robotic adversaries.
The whole main group of guys is fantastic with Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan just strengthening the rock solid comedic duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who as Chris mentioned in his review, flip flop roles with Frost becoming the straight man for this movie while Pegg is the loose cannon. All the guys get plenty of laugh out loud moments and there’s so many great running jokes that are set up early on that pay off brilliantly later in the movie. There are a ton of great cameos as well including another former Bond, Cornetto Trilogy regular Bill Nighy and most of the supporting cast from Spaced.
One thing that was evident in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz that made Edgar Wright the perfect director for Scott Pilgrim is that when it isn’t an action sequence, everything is about as normal as it can possibly be but, when shit hits the fan, it goes completely over the top and everyone is an expert at hand to hand combat. There is some fantastic choreography to fights and there is always clever twists to each sequence, like the guys using all manner of 90’s wrestling moves in their first major fight to finding out they can rip off the robots arms and legs to use as weapons and that they have to smash their heads to temporarily stop them. Of course as things get crazier and crazier, the guys are getting drunker and drunker, which only makes everything that more hilarious.
The World’s End is an over the top, hilarious ending to the Cornetto Trilogy but I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the trio of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright, as their blend of dry British humor, pop culture references and love of genre films has given us some of the best comedies of the last decade and it’s impossible to say which one is the “best”, as they all offer something unique and brilliant. If you want to have an absolute blast at the movie theater, see The World’s End immediately, preferably with a pub crawl afterward.