Director : Edgar Wright
Cast Headliners: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Rosamund Pike
Original Release Date: August 23rd, 2013 (in the US)
Seen: Late August 2013
The apocalypse has been a popular film topic over the past couple of years. Perhaps it is due to our modern troubling times, in which it seems like the event can happen any day. Some movies thought the December 2012 prediction would come true and played off that to add to their appeal. But, it didn’t happen. And thus any movies based around this theme might seem pointless. However, both This is the End and now The World’s End both show that there is a ton of potential for greatness. The World’s End takes the “apocalypse comedy”, and turns it on its head in typical Edgar Wright fashion.
This movie, as with the past two team ups of Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost, combines witty British-style comedy with a central “theme”. This is the “finale” of the so-called Cornetto trilogy, and in some ways encapsulates the themes into a final mix. With Shaun of the Dead, it was zombies, the familiar transforming into the unknown. In Hot Fuzz, it was cultists and the familiar hiding the unknown. Here, what is familiar and unknown is mixed up when space robots are involved.
But this is a comedy right, what is this talk of space robots? Any good fan of director Edgar Wright knows things start of “normal”. The opening prompt here is that back in the 90’s, the fun-time boy crew of edgy Gary (Simon Pegg), clean-cut Andy(Nick Frost), average guy Steven(Paddy Considine), charismatic Oliver/”O-man” (Martin Freeman), and paranoid Peter(Eddie Marsan)., tried to go on a pub crawl through their home town after graduation. Shenanigans happened, and things did not go as planned. Like any good comedic story, it jumps to 20 years later and re-unites the old friends. Gary is now a loser, still living in the past. He re-unites the crew for another go at the crawl, to finally reach the titular World’s End with a pint in each pub along the way. However, things get….interesting real fast.
This movie gets many things right. It’s interesting to note that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the usual Laurel and Hardy-esque laugh causing duo, are each playing characters out of type here. Pegg’s Gary is a sarcastic jerk, an anarchist, a partying rebel. Totally different than the hard worker he was in Hot Fuzz. And Frost, arguably the most funny of the duo, is shockingly serious and anti-fun here. That’s probably a nod by Edgar Wright, swapping the stereotypes of the two heroes. The dialogue between them, and all of the characters, is great. It’s witty and high-brow humor, really about the words said. Though some moments of zany-ness happen too.
The cast is filled with some great people besides Pegg and Frost, especially the characters of Steven and Oliver, and Oliver’s sister Sam (Rosamund Pike). It’s an ensemble crew for a ensemble adventure. One really gets attached to these characters, and no one is really forgotten about. That’s a rare aspect of movies sometimes. It’s not a spoiler to say that things on this pub crawl get crazier than old friends disagreeing. The space robots come, appearing as clones of the townsfolk.
Edgar Wright has a knack for making an exciting adventure. It’s great seeing the guys fighting off common people , violently, in pubs and simple streets. The action is flashy and high speed as usual, with incredible choreography. The soundtrack is pumping, with some awesome 90’s callbacks. The pace, both in epic-ness and humor, keeps ramping up as the film goes on. This is essential Wright, snappy fast editing in full awesome force.
It’s not perfect however. As funny as it is, some of the gags are repeated to the point of losing their humor. The plot starts of strong, but too feels repetitive at parts. Luckily it all ties up for the ending. And, in my opinion. Nick Frost’s wasn’t right for that role. It kind of feels weird seeing him in the movie, and only rarely laughing at him.
The World’s End is a movie which sums up the greatest trademark aspects of Edgar Wright’s filmmaking career. The laughs are great, the action is fun, and the story and characters are interesting. The formula of mashing the real and fantastical works once again, but in some ways it has reached its creative as well as spiritual limits. However, this movie is worth seeing for a lighthearted good time. The end of the World’s End is worth the wait. 8.35 out of 10