Review: The World’s End


Director:Edgar Wright

Cast:Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Rosamund Pike

Running Time:109 Minutes


All good things must come to an end. The last film in the epic Cornetto Trilogy, The World's End is a still funny but marked departure from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Go see this movie if you want to enjoy a good, quirky sci-fi film, and you'll be happy. If you're just looking for easy laughs, you might be disappointed.

The film tells the story of Gary King (Simon Pegg) and his boyhood best friends Andy (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Shane (Darren Boyd), and Steven (Paddy Considine). When the lads graduated from whatever the English equivalent of high school is (it's either 5th form or the Tower of London, I forget), they went on their town's pub crawl"”the Golden Mile. 12 pints, 12 pubs, one night of mayhem.

They didn't get very far back in the 90s. But grown up (at least physically), Gary tries to reunite the lads to give it another go, and things seem to be going pretty well until they notice something oddly different about their hometown.

Cue eerie music!

The clearest way The World's End is different from its spiritual ancestors is in its giant role reversal"”Simon Pegg now plays the goofy, clowny, man-child while Nick Frost is the straight-laced one. The move may have been intended to breathe new life into the series or maybe they just said, "What the hell, let's try this." There isn't anything wrong with the new performance or dynamic "“ it's just different.

The World's End also departs from the previous two films in that it is less of a spoof. While good films in their own right, Shaun and Hot Fuzz were sendups of the zombie and cop genres. The World's End is not quite a spoof of scifi"”it's on a more serious level. It's somewhere in between loving pastiche (O.S.S 117 style) and a straight genre film.

The writers were inspired by British "social science fiction""”particularly the work of John Wyndham (a great and under-appreciated author that any Anglophile or scifi geek will enjoy). Their work turns into a loving tribute to that style of tale in equal amounts, if not more so, than roasting. And both of these are examples of what you need to know about this movie, especially if you loved the first two films.

The point of this movie isn't to make you laugh"”at least not in the same, gut busting way as the first two did. You are supposed to be surprised here, to be amused and befuddled and in a kind of amazed awe of the film. 

Focusing on these changes isn't meant to suggest that there aren't many welcome continuities"”hardcore fans will have fun looking for the hidden references and connections to the first two films, and there are some truly hilarious jokes in here as well (the bit about Alexandre Dumas is a classic).

But the way to truly enjoy this movie is to abandon any preconceived notions about what this team should be bringing you. If you can do that, and your tastes run towards well done science fiction stories with a touch of self-referential absurdity, a ticket to The World's End is money well spent. 


About Tim Wainwright


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