After watching the first-third of the The World’s End, you might start to believe that writer and director Edgar Wright has come down a bit from the usual over-the-top perch his previous movies sit on. The elements are all still there, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s usual rapid fire dialogue, the Manchester heavy new wave sound track, and the small English town with its local pubs. Still, something is very different.
Rather than the usual lovable slacker and slightly more together straight man the pair has become famous for playing, Pegg and Frost’s relationship has an undertone of tragedy to it in The World’s End. Pegg is a late 30s early 40s addict named Gary King, whose only truly happy memory is his last day of high school. Meanwhile, Frost plays Andy Knightley, a recovering alcoholic whose friendship with King was torn apart by a harsh betrayal.
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Written by: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman
King, in a desperate grasp to relive his long gone glory days, gets Kinghtley and their old high school gang, played by Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Hobbit), Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, V for Vendetta), and Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum), together for one last go at their old home town’s famous 12 bar pub crawl known as “The Golden Mile”. The trip however becomes a blunt and somewhat depressing look at how far into his own ego and addiction King has fallen, leaving his friends little recourse besides leaving him behind.
Then, somebody gets power slammed in a bathroom and the movie takes a sharp turn into being the most out of its mind production Edgar Wright has ever made.
Being the third installment in what has become known as “The Cornetto Trilogy”, The World’s End is a spiritual sequel to Wright’s movies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The World’s End, like it’s two predecessors, acts as both a tribute and re-imagining of geek culture standbys, in this case the The Hangover’s old friends drinking adventure story line done in the setting of Invasion of The Body Snatchers. This not only makes the movie both recognizable and unique, but also allows for a rare use of “well they’re really drunk” excuse to fill in the holes of logic experienced in this and other science fiction movies.
Pegg and Frost’s chemistry is as strong as ever in The World’s End. In fact, the role reversal of Pegg playing the dependent to Frost is so good, it begs the question whether or not they had it wrong in previous movies. The supporting cast holds their own as well, with the group transitioning well during the sudden change of tone and subject matter while never dropping the roles of men coming back to their home town. A few celebrity appearances make for good sight gags, but these are never anything more than a quick laugh amongst the rapid fire jokes.
If there is a criticism to be made, it’s in the ending. Without writing any spoilers, a small comment about ten minutes from the end film turns the ending and epilogue into a sudden and somewhat tacked on conclusion. This however, is in no way a deal breaker. The World’s End is still one of the most unique and entertaining movies of the summer. An easy must see for fans of the trio, as well as any newcomers that remain unexposed.