The World's End

Amidst a summer of blockbusters that’s been heavy on the bust aspect, The World’s End is a thoughtfully hilarious film that definitely delivers as an apocalyptic comedy. But that should come as no surprise since this is the third collaborative brainchild of the Cornetto trilogy from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost—forming the final leg of the tripod with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

In terms of these three films, The World’s End fits nicely in the middle as the juicy cream center of the ice cream sandwich that is the Cornetto trilogy. While Shaun of the Dead was just a perfect 5-star film, Hot Fuzz couldn’t quite live up to that prowess (I’d give it about 4 stars so it’s still a creative, above-average comedy), but The World’s End is an improvement over the last endeavor. These movies all heavily satirize their respective genres so you should know what to expect going into seeing The World’s End. If this is your first Edgar Wright experience, then strap in and enjoy the frenzied, bat shit crazy pace of The World’s End.

Trilogy

No time is wasted as the opening monologue rehashes the memory of five childhood friends attempting an epic pub crawl called the Golden Mile in their hometown. This story is told through the perspective of the main character Gary King (played by Simon Pegg). Even though they failed to complete the pub crawl, this was the greatest day of Gary King’s life. It all went downhill from there. And so the story begins.

Like any delusional individual in the depths of their desperate downhill spiral, why not try to get the gang back together to give the pub crawl another go? The beginning of The World’s End reads like a humorous rendition of an episode of Intervention—except their friends act as enablers once again.

I don’t want to give away too much with this review because the experience will be better if you know as little as possible, but Gary King successfully convinces his friends to reunite 20 years after their first failed attempt at the pub crawl. Even though The World’s End starts off strong, I was hoping they would have raced past sobriety sooner because it was considerably funnier once the drinking commenced.

If you’ve seen any of the previews, then you know some type of alien/robot invasion takes place in this charming, quaint small town. That’s still probably saying too much. But this set-up provides some great comedic fodder and a keen eye will spot some nice callbacks to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. You should also notice familiar shooting locations from these previous movies if you pay close enough attention.

Crew

Although it should go without saying, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are fucking fantastic with their unparalleled chemistry on display once again. Out of this trilogy, The World’s End makes the best use of their supporting cast thanks to the performances of Martin Freeman as Oliver and Eddie Marsan as Peter. The writing and direction of Edgar Wright just ties everything together so beautifully (like a good rug does with a room), which is essential considering the extreme tonal shifts that are executed.

I saw The World’s End about a week ago now and it continues to resound and reverberate inside my head. At this point, only Pacific Rim has necessitated a second viewing in the theaters, but I think The World’s End may join it if nothing else worthwhile comes out in the next week or so. I’d favorably compare this movie with This Is the End, but I’d give The World’s End the edge for its re-watchability and creativity.

Another viewing would also help reveal some of the story hidden in the names of each pub. I always appreciate that extra effort and dedication to the supremely ridiculous. A lot of the art and writing I do is for my own enjoyment and any additional eyes are just an added bonus—but thank you…yes, you. Listed below are the names of each pub where a pint needs to be consumed as part of the Golden Mile. Interestingly enough, which Wright has mentioned that each name relates to the storyline.

The Names of the 12 Pubs in The World’s End:
1. The First Post
2. The Old Familiar
3. The Famous Cock
4. The Cross Hands
5. The Good Companions
6. The Trusty Servant
7. The Two Headed Dog
8. The Mermaid
9. The Beehive
10. The King’s Head
11. The Hole in the Wall
12. The World’s End

It is no coincidence that the last pub shares the movie’s namesake.

Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the 12 pubs also serve as a step in the recovery process of Alcoholics Anonymous—especially since Gary King is sitting in AA in the opening recalling his glory days attempting the Golden Mile. I would have been fine with this stripped down to 8-10 pubs because there was no fucking way to remember each name in sequence of the pub crawl.

And if there are any drawbacks, the end of The World’s End isn’t as crisp as the other 90 or so minutes. But Hot Fuzz shared those same issues and I still thoroughly enjoyed it for what it was with a set of reasonable expectations in anticipation of watching. You certainly don’t have to see Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz before The World’s End because it is not an actually trilogy, but if you’re a clean slate, I’d advise watching Shaun of the Dead, The World’s End, and Hot Fuzz in that order.

If you don’t like this movie, you need to develop a sense of humor. The World’s End should be applauded for going beyond the mere conventions of the sci-fi genre because it settles into a nice absurdist niche. I would love to give this a perfect rating, but there are some aspects that I’d edit or alter if given the option.

I can’t believe I can’t give 5 stars to a movie that showcases the Rock Bottom in a pivotal scene (popping off a character’s head against a urinal) and the Most Electrifying Move in Sports Entertainment. If Dwayne Johnson made a cameo, I couldn’t stop myself from giving The World’s End a flawless victory. Hell, even the wispy strand of hair from The People’s Eyebrow would have pushed me over the top.

Go out and watch this in the theater.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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