Following 2004’s bloody brilliant rom-zom-com brainwave Shaun of the Dead and 2007’s action-packed comedy cop caper Hot Fuzz, booze-fuelled sci-fi The World’s End calls last orders on writer/director Edgar Wright’s hilarious and much-loved Cornetto Trilogy.
Simon Pegg stars as Gary King, a carefree drunkard approaching his forties and refusing to grow up; like a pissed-up Peter Pan. Nick Frost is Andrew Knightley, Gary’s tee-total former best friend. In the summer of 1990, the pair and three other schoolmates attempted and failed to complete the infamous Golden Mile – a legendary pub crawl that covers twelve drinking establishments across their hometown of Newton Haven.
Since then, Andy and his friends have moved on, got married and built careers, but Gary is intent on conquering the Mile. Determined, he tracks the old gang down one by one and reassembles his band of merry men for one last crack at the crawl. However, upon returning to Newton Haven, it soon becomes apparent that much has changed in this once idyllic village.
The film features an impressive ensemble cast of British stars, with several returning from previous Cornetto films, such as Paddy Considine and Martin Freeman. There are also some new faces to the trilogy, including walking caricature Eddie Marsan as the pricelessly pitiful Peter Page, and an appearance from Pierce Brosnan as the gang’s old school teacher; with whom Gary had a special bond. The World’s End also provides plenty of fan appreciation, with a multitude of cameos from stars of cult-classic TV comedy Spaced.
Edgar Wright has clearly learnt much from his time spent directing the outstanding Scott Pilgrim vs the World. The camerawork is mindblowing, particularly during the dynamic, entertaining fights between humans and the blue-blooded blankbots, who have taken over Newton Haven. The story is perhaps not as strong as Shaun of the Dead’s, but it’s an incredibly funny and richly detailed film that includes an interesting, underlying social commentary celebrating the diversity and flaws of the human race, all whilst bemoaning the ‘Starbucking’ modern society we live in. If you’re a fan of Wright’s previous work, you’ll love The World’s End; a fitting finale to a thrilling trilogy.
With The World’s End, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost dish up the final serving in their Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy and, after the incredibly satisfying Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, The World’s End acts as the delicious dessert in this three-course meal of Blood and Ice Cream.
Woven with the same apocalyptic and sinister thread of the two previous films, The World’s End is the story of five childhood friends getting back together in later life to re-attempt a pub crawl that they failed to complete in their adolescence. Andrew (Nick Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Oliver (Martin Freeman) and Peter (Eddie Marsan) are rounded up by Gary King (played brilliantly by Simon Pegg), a black-haired, shades and trenchcoat-wearing alcoholic who, unlike his four mates, is still a teen at heart. Gary takes them “home” to Newton Haven on a mostly-one-man quest to conquer the Golden Mile, but an apparent robot invasion gets in the way.
Having seemingly learned a lot from his work on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright isn’t afraid to flaunt his penchant for extravagant fight sequences in The World’s End, with plenty of time spent on man vs. robot bar brawls. Unlike many fight sequences in modern movies, however, the fights in this film feel dynamic and fluid which, alongside the multiple-stage-based linear structure (which is reflective of the boss battles in Scott Pilgrim), provides a constant sense of progression.
Fans of the hilarious sitcom Spaced, as well as the other two films in the trilogy, will no doubt spot a few familiar faces in The World’s End, which of course boosts the chemistry between the characters, making the already funny lines even funnier with their rapport. One small gripe I do have about the casting, however, is with Nick Frost’s character Andrew. With Frost being so comfortable playing Simon Pegg’s goofy sidekick in their previous work, it feels a little strange seeing him play a straight-edge humourless businessman – thankfully he does loosen up after a while.
As expected from Wright, Pegg and Frost, The World’s End doesn’t fail to provide a fitting conclusion to their decade-spanning trilogy and, although maybe not reaching the incredible heights of Shaun of the Dead, they clearly haven’t lost their ability to create visually-entertaining and quick-witted comedy.
by Gary Woodcock & Tom Woodcock