A great comedy, but perhaps not one the fans wanted. Oh well, it’s not like it’s the end of the world.
Edgar Wright is one of my favourite directors. His grasp of comedy, along with helpings of Simon Pegg on the scripting side, is unmatched at times; nobody could make me laugh more so than this pairing. Whether it’s the Cornetto Trilogy to which this film belongs, or other films such as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the majority of films he touches are pure gold. He’s got the Midas Touch, and it’s certainly showed in The World’s End, to me anyway.
Coming out of the cinema after this film was a rather awe-stricken experience; I wasn’t quite sure I’d just seen a Simon Pegg and Nick Frost film. It was somewhat different to the usual similarities in the two other films, but to me, that’s a good thing. Same is boring, and The World’s End managed to separate itself from its trilogy brothers in several ways. The most notable difference was definitely the characters of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The typical vision of the two is that Pegg plays the more serious role of the main protagonist, who despite his good-guy disposition, never gets the luck of the draw, opposed to Frost who, let’s face it, plays a bit of a dick. He’s usually the slobby, immature and dumb one. Bizarrely, the role-reversal genuinely worked for me.
Pegg is The King (Gary King), a man-child who was once the self-proclaimed King of Newton Haven. Once being the keyword, Gary refuses to let go of his past, craving a return to the days that he and his band of merry-men wreaked havoc among the village. A suffering alcoholic, he comes to the realisation that the reason his life is incomplete is because he has ‘unfinished business’ that has lead to his affinity with alcohol, The Golden Mile. A pub crawl of legends across Newton Haven, starting from The First Post, and climaxing at The World’s End. Gary and his men’s previous failure of this has haunted him (and only him) since the very day, and it’s the reason that he hasn’t made contact with any of his friends; until now.
The film continues to showcase the current, regular lives of each of King’s friends, mainly about how all of them have matured and moved on with their lives. He meets with each of them, eventually convincing them to rejoin the crew into one last adventure and a final attempt at The Golden Mile. We see some undeniably perfect chemistry between Pegg and Frost during their first reunion; it’s almost as if the two of them were made to act for each other.
Another aspect that separates The World’s End from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz is its abundance of action-packed fight scenes, as man goes toe to toe with robots… no, robots that aren’t robots. Nobots? (The eventually settled upon term is ‘blanks’). The fight scenes are actually so good that they would be entertaining to even the most die-hard Die Hard fan (other action films are available). There’s an influx of comedy into the punch-ups too; who can’t laugh at the surrealism of Nick Frost delivering a metal-crunching WWE style back-breaker to the invading robots. The intensity is maintained throughout the scenes with fast-paced kinetic cinematography.
The difference between this and the other films in the Cornetto Trilogy has caused a bit of a stir amongst fans and critics alike, and thus The World’s End has received a bit of criticism. Some people just can’t handle change, it seems.
The underlying message throughout seems to notion that even when you’ve grown up, never forget to embrace your inner-youth. It’s a positive, heart-warming message that is easily understandable from the film. It’s obviously not particularly intricate, but sometimes it’s the simple things that mean the most.
Other actors in a rather British star-studded cast include the ever impressive Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman and the voice of Bill Nighy.
It’s a step away from the norm, but it’s a step in the right direction for Wright, Pegg and Frost, and I look forward to any future collaborations.