The World’s End (2013)

The World's EndHaving failed to complete an infamous pub-crawl in 1990, a twelve-pint extravaganza known locally as The Golden Mile, Gary King (Simon Pegg) convinces his friends to return to Newton Haven and give it another go more than twenty years later. While Andrew (Nick Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Oliver (Martin Freeman) reacquaint themselves after years apart, the self-mythologising Gary becomes convinced that all is not as it seems in his home town; why else would the populace no longer recognise him? Could it be that the town has been taken over by alien robots? Or is it just that Gary isn’t as unforgettable as he seems to believe?

The final instalment in the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, an unofficial franchise directed by Edgar Wright and co-written by Simon Pegg, The World’s End this month followed Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz into cinemas. Having already celebrated — and parodied — the zombie horror and cop movie, the creative team here turn their attention to the alien invasion genre, most obviously War Of The Worlds and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.

As before, Wright and Pegg have diligently done their research — read: watched a lot of movies — while Nick Frost has once again sat through the odd DVD in preparation. It shows, and just as the previous two films managed to tread the fine line between respect for conventions and subversion of cliche The World’s End too manages to have its cake and eat it. The second act in particular is astonishingly funny, but it also manages to be exciting, tense and interesting in its own right. You needn’t have seen the movies referenced to enjoy the film.

While Wright once again directs with gusto and flair, having really perfected his own style in 2010’s stand-alone Scott Pilgrim vs The World, it is the cast who prove the film’s biggest asset. Pegg commits entirely to the not always likeable — indeed, quasi-villainous — character of Gary King, and Freeman, Marsan and Rosamund Pike are clearly having a ball in their supporting roles. Paddy Considine, meanwhile, makes the most of the meatiest of the secondary characters, but it is Nick Frost’s who ultimately steals the show as sober lawyer turned berserker bar fighter Andrew.

Unfortunately, however, the film just doesn’t have the same instant classic feel of either Shaun Of The Dead or Hot Fuzz. Partly due to the fact that the alien invasion genre isn’t quite as formulaic as the other two, but also because The World’s End has too much else to say. The premise that it is actually the town that has changed, and not the people returning to it is a good one, and leads to some funny and surprisingly poignant beats, but the various relationships and disputes take too long to establish, and are too much work to resolve.

The World’s End is a very funny movie, but in many ways it’s a victim of the previous two movies’ successes. Over-familiarity with Wright’s foreshadowing techniques leave much of the film painfully predictable, while the punchy pacing of Scott Pilgrim leaves The World’s End feeling sluggish by comparison. It doesn’t help that Pegg is a little too successful at making King unlikeable, and it’s difficult to remain sympathetic once he has put his friends in jeopardy for the umpteenth time in one night.



About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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