I’ve never been on a pub-crawl, therefore I assume they are all like this film.
The World’s End is the latest (and supposedly last) film collaboration from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright and the last in their so called ‘Cornetto trilogy’. Like their previous efforts Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, The World’s End is written (mostly) by Pegg and Wright while Wright helms the director’s chair once more, and the similarities are endless; providing The World’s End is very consistent in terms of style and humour – but is it consistent in quality? Short answer: mostly.
Both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are practically perfect so of course they would be a hard act to follow, but The World’s End manages to be almost as good as the other two.
The World’s End follows Gary King (Simon Pegg) and the group of his old school friends in his quest to go back to his home town of Newton Haven to finish the “golden mile” – a pub-crawl consisting of a pint in each of the twelve pubs in Newton Haven – something they did not finish when they were younger; when they get there however, they find that nothing has changed, yet everything has…
The film plays as a (sort-of) parody of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers and it is clear to see that Sci-fi is a massive favourite of all the key members of this production. It feels like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Shaun of the Dead and hits all the high notes you’d expect.
The film boasts an impressive cast of British talent including (obviously) Simon Pegg as the main character Gary King, Nick Frost as his (old) best friend Andy Knightley, Martin Freeman plays Oliver Chamberlain, Paddy Considine as Steven Prince, Eddie Marsan as Peter Page and Rosamund Pike as Sam Chamberlain play the main cast of characters while familiar faces like Mark Heap, David Bradley and Darren Boyd make appearances, even Pierce Brosnan turns up as their old school -teacher. And there is not a dud one in the lot, the acting in the film is absolutely top-notch from everyone involved, no matter how minor their role was, and the chemistry between each actor was fantastic to see on the big screen – you could easily tell that everybody working on the film loved it.
However, all of their characters are explained in a lengthy opening that shows what went down when they originally attempted the golden mile, and this scene also lays out the foundations of the overarching themes on display in this film: Manhood, growing up, friendship and beer. Throughout the film, constant reference is made to the past, as Gary King has not moved on from when he was a teenager while the rest of his friends have – each one finding at least moderate success with their high-flying jobs. This makes for some amusing scenes and actually makes you feel slightly sorry for Gary, who is actually quite a sad character who views that night (the original failed golden mile) as the best night of his life – which has turned out to be lonely, poor and altogether a bit rubbish.
Character though is where the film is lacking, as very occasionally there is the odd blip where some of their characters can seem a little off, or where it can seem that you are meant to know more about the characters than you do, meaning you can never really grow particularly attached to any of the characters beyond Gary King and Andy Knightley – the main characters of the piece.
Another slight issue with the film is plot. It just doesn’t quite work the same as the previous two films as it is a little too unsure with where it’s going (the ending of the film kind of helps this point in that it kind of feels a tad off with the style of the movie). However, when you do know what’s going on, the film really picks up and soars along at a fantastically mad-cap pace full of hilarious gags and genius joke-telling: “Five guys, twelve pubs, fifty pints”. “Sixty pints”. “Calm down you alchie!”
In fact, The World’s End is one of the funniest films I have seen since Hot Fuzz and it is also one the most proud to be British films I have ever seen; perhaps the worldwide market would not enjoy it as much as the domestic crowd the film is obviously aiming for, but that doesn’t matter, it seems intentional and I loved it.
What’s perhaps the star of the show more so than the fantastic acting is the direction and cinematography, from the action shots of beer (and water) being poured into their respective glasses to the brilliant fight-scenes that seem to have taken their cues from the best of Jackie Chan (see: expertly choreographed) The World’s End is a joy to watch and take in Edgar Wright and Cinematographer Bill Pope deserve awards for this film.
Speaking of the fight scenes, the film’s plot eventually revolves around “blanks” (they aren’t robots, robots are slaves, and the blanks are quite happy): replacements of people who didn’t co-operate with some kind of interplanetary take-over, and these break easily (like LEGO) and are filled with blue blood that gushes out. These fight scenes are fantastic and the first one in particular is very, very funny as none of the guys knows what the hell is going on.
The World’s End (much like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) is barmy, British fun at it’s hilarious best, backed up by awesomely gruesome fight-scenes, a good plot (if occasionally a tad off), brilliant acting, spectacular cinematography, great direction and a huge lump of fun thrown in for good measure. While perhaps not quite the classic like Shaun of the Dead, it is almost as good as Hot Fuzz, and nothing less than the best comedy since.
Simon Pegg and Edgar Wrights follow up and end of the Cornetto trilogy is fantastic, just not quite perfect.