Movie Review: ‘The World’s End’
So here we are, at THE WORLD’S END, the final film in the Cornetto (or The Blood and Ice Cream) trilogy by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The other two films in this series are SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ. These two films are much loved by fans, and as a fan I enjoy them so much, they are basically my go to films for when I am sick or undecided on what to watch. How does THE WORLD’S END stack up? Well it feels like a blend of the two, with some new elements, however it isn’t as great as the others but still pretty good in its own right.
THE WORLD’S END of the title is the 12th pub on a pub crawl that five friends attempted to do in their earlier years. One of these friends Gary King (Simon Pegg) hasn’t really grown up since then, and sees that night as the highlight of his life. So he then decides some 20 odd years later to do that pub crawl again and he rounds up the old crew with Oliver (Martin Freeman), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Steven (Paddy Considine) and Andrew (Nick Frost). Everyone has their own lives and have grown up since, and there is a clear tension between Gary and Andrew. Despite their better judgements the friends reunite to do the pub crawl, they rediscover things about their youth and make amends in ways, however something more sinister is going on in the background as things aren’t quite what they seem.
Going back to SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Edgar Wright has certainly shown that he has been heavily influenced by INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and here it really shines. It is an interesting homage, with the strange events in the background and the real horror becoming evident later on. Of course this is a comedy and a rather well done action film, it blends the flavours of the 70s and 80s with Wrights own unique style. This feels like a combination of his previous films, and even containing some of that flair of SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD, the storytelling is quite visual and Wright makes it very exciting on the eyes. The dialogue as well is very well done and I really enjoyed the more intimate scenes between the group of friends, as they talk about the past and the present, and the underlying tensions between Gary and Andrew.
When things get crazy, they really get crazy, before we know it the film changes gears (not quite as extreme as FROM DUSK TILL DAWN) and it is like being thrown into the deep end. Sure it gradually tries to build it up but when it happens, it happens with a bang and its quite fun. The action and fight scenes are actually set up and choreographed really well, better than I have seen in some action films. You can see whats going on and its played for laughs as well as thrills. It isn’t easy to see where the film is ultimately going and that is a big plus, however the pay off isn’t as good as it should have been and for a close to a fun trilogy it really didn’t feel right.
The performances here are quite good, however I feel each person will feel differently to one in particular, that of Gary Knight played by Simon Pegg. For me he didn’t quite reach the level of complete annoyance but he was getting there. And this was done purposely, because he isn’t meant to be a likeable character, Gary is a dick plain and simple and Pegg played it perfectly. It is a different sort of role for him, in the last two films he’s played the more straight laced guy instead of the slacker. Whereas in those films Frost’s slacker character remains likeable, this one really isn’t so the dynamic was very different. For me though Nick Frost was the stand out, the straight laced character is something we haven’t really seen him do and he did a fantastic job. When it came to doing the action scenes, he became a real badass, the progression felt very natural, I believed it.
Martin Freeman didn’t have a lot to do but he did it well when he was on screen and the chemistry he shared with his fellow actors was solid. Paddy Considine is an actor that I love, and I am a big fan of, he has a bigger role here than he had in HOT FUZZ and he’s pretty good. The love he has for this group is immense and he certainly had a ball. Eddie Marsan was the quite family man who was bullied in school and he really brought forth an emotional edge and one scene in particular was really quite moving. However while he brings a lot of heart he brings in a lot of comedy as well and he was fantastic in the role, versatile he certainly is. The female element here takes the shape of Rosamund Pike, her character isn’t in it a lot but when she is on the screen she lights it up and shares chemistry with the main players. She certainly brought in a new element that changed the dynamic and that was very much welcome.
THE WORLD’S END is a fun ride, my personal preference I liked the first half over the second half but that was still fun. The ending didn’t entirely work for me however I give Wright and Pegg props for what they have done and going in a different direction. This isn’t as riddled with references as the previous films but it does contain some interesting social commentaries that I am sure those in the UK would have picked up. A decent end to a pretty great bunch of films, can’t complain about that.