The World’s End

The World's End photo starrating-3andahalfstars.jpgFive middle-aged men who were boyhood chums reunite to take part in a pub crawl they never finished when they were in high school. FYI: The legal drinking age is 18 in the UK for shocked American readers. Known as the Golden Mile, the 12 pubs are situated in Newton Haven. You see it’s really eternal man-child Gary King (Pegg), the self appointed leader of the group, that has re-assembled the old gang. Having grown up and moved on, the group has begrudgingly acquiesced after being tricked into showing up. They haven’t hung out simultaneously since their school days. Gary and Andy have actually been estranged because of an accident on that fateful night.

This is the third entry directed by Edgar Wright and written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who also star. The 3 films were nicknamed The Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy. For the uninitiated, the word “Cornetto” is a brand of ice cream in the UK similar to Nestlé’s Drumsticks. Shaun of the Dead presents strawberry signifying blood and gore, Hot Fuzz features classic Cornetto with a blue wrapper representing the police and The World’s End highlights green mint chocolate chip with a nod to sci-fi. None of this is important to appreciate this tale. I only mention it because I’ve yet to read a review that explains this bit of obscurity for the audience.

The World’s End is a humorous romp that suitably entertains on its own merits. It’s probably the least funny of the three, but that’s comparing it to two very enjoyable classics. It percolates with a refreshing wit rarely seen in run-of-the-mill comedies. And it’s not necessary to have seen the other two films. Still, for those who are familiar, this entry is sure to hold more gratification. For example Simon Pegg, who usually represents the straight man to Nick Frost’s wild displays, switches temperaments this go around. There are in-jokes that connect each of these pictures together. Aficionados of Edgar Wright’s will delight in the kind of repartee with which followers have become accustomed. At first much of the humor depends on Gary’s inability to grown up as contrasted with the other four’s more responsible, conventional mentalities.

The World’s End spotlights some nuanced character-building immersed in a story shift that had my eyes wide, mouth agape. The fab five mesh well as an ensemble. There is a genuine camaraderie here as it initially unfolds out like a reunion of old friends and nostalgia. They are eminently believable as reunited buddies hanging out. There are some nicely affecting moments where these individuals are fleshed out. Then a midway reveal flips the script to a complete 180 genre switch. The focus expands from nostalgic drama to science fiction. It’s an amusing disclosure that subverts expectations. I won’t explain more than that but if you’re interested in being surprised, don’t watch the trailer. This allows our “Five Musketeers” to display their impressive athletic skills in lively fight scenes. I loved the shock but here’s where things deteriorate. Subsequent uneven pacing had me checking my watch during the final third. It can even drag a little near the end. However all in all this is an entertaining comedy with a solid screenplay. Fans of the trilogy will be quoting the witty one liners with joy.

“A man of your legendary prowess drinking f—ing rain! It’s like a lion eating hummus.” –Gary King after his friend Andy orders tap water in a bar.

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26 Responses to “The World’s End”

  1. Good review Mark. While it wasn’t my favorite of the trilogy, it’s still well worth the watch if mostly because these guys seem to really be enjoying themselves. And it’s hard to just deny ourselves of that same enjoyment.

  2. hahaha that quote you used was one of my favorites for sure. yeah, this was just a gas (there’s a good old British expression). i’ll have to go seek out the previous two before I can accurately respond to whether or not this might be the weakest in the three, but i have a feeling you’re right. there ware quite a few moments where the good jokes and moments were spread far apart here whereas I remember Shaun of the Dead almost being a complete laughing fit non-stop, beginning to end. still, i like the way this “trilogy” went out. i’ll miss them in this format, for sure.

  3. Nice review Mark, same score as me on this one. I was actually a little disappointed by it, I just didn’t laugh that much. I thought a lot of the script felt forced.

    • I read your review and am somewhat surprised we gave it the same star rating because you definitely sound, as you say, quite disappointed by the film. I did laugh a lot throughout the film. Perhaps not as much as the other two films in the trilogy, but more than I would with the average comedy. There are a lot of funny one-liners. I enjoyed it, overall.

  4. I. LOVED. IT. 😀

    …yeah, that seems sufficient. ^_^ haha

    Good review, amigo. Possibly the most powerful moment in the entire movie (hell, the entire series) was the sequence involving the line “It’s all I have!”

    • Ah yes, Gary’s response to Andy’s question: Why is Gary so obsessed with finally conquering the 12-bar pub crawl that he failed to achieve in his youth? His utter despair was surprisingly heartbreaking.

  5. Nice review. I liked this more than you did, it’s in my top 3 thus far of the year. I thought it was the most mature of the Cornetto trilogy.

  6. Good review. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it for the most part. For some reason, this one has actually really gone up in my estimation since seeing it a month ago…. Do still like it more than Hot Fuzz. Still agree the ending is weak, though.

  7. First of all, thanks for explaining the meaning of the “Cornetto Trilogy”. I like that. Now for the movie. I thought it was good, but not great. It had a lot of funny parts, but kinda dragged in the middle. I give this 3 stars

  8. I didn’t laugh on this one as much as I did on the other two, in fact some of the jokes are pretty ho-hum. I love the cast though but I feel that this trilogy didn’t really end on a high note.

    • I agree with you that it’s the least of the three, but still pretty good. I sort of view each movie as its own separate entity. The stories aren’t connected for example. As such, I never watched these as a connected trilogy. For me, they are just lighthearted romps that entertain for the moment.

  9. Still have not had a chance to view this one yet but am looking forward to checking it out.

  10. Spot on review Mark. Lead up to the final act was really good but the final 15 minutes (though funny at times) dragged.

    • When we heard Bill Nighy as “the big lamp”, it was funny at first. But the scene went on for too long. He kept talking and after awhile I was ready to turn out the lights.

  11. Great review Mark. I believe I explained the Cornetto piece in my review and my interview with Frost, Wright, and Pegg, but not quite in the same detail as you. Kudos. I agree that World’s End isn’t quite as consistently funny as Shaun and Fuzz, although it’s still an action-packed ride that’s very satisfying. There’s very clever homage, especially to the ’70s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Plus as you mention, the chmistry between The Five Musketeers is strong. For me the ending didn’t really match the rest of the series in tone. That was the biggest letdown for me. Otherwise it’s a blast. Love your use of the hummus quote at the end.

  12. I actually enjoyed this movie the most out of the 3 (saw Shaun of the Dead only a couple of weeks ago for the first time)

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