Plot: Gary King (Simon Pegg), a “40-year-old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens” coerces his childhood friends (Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan) to relive the “best night of their lives” from 20 years prior. They reluctantly join King on his quest to complete “The Golden Mile” a 12 pub bar crawl in their hometown of Newton Haven (which they failed to complete as young men). During their lager-inspired quest they begin to notice a great deal has changed in their childhood town…and that great deal just happens to be a body-snatching plot hatched by aliens.
The end credits for a movie is usually the signal for an audience to begin its debating period. Was the movie any good? Who gave the best performance? What you would have done differently? This is a ritual this reviewer has come to enjoy as much as seeing a film itself.
Yet, there are very few films, that evoke just these five words…”I’ve gotta see this again.”
The World’s End, the final installment of the beloved “Cornetto Trilogy,” is one of maybe five films in my 31 years of existence that have evoked this feeling. I saw this film, for free at an advanced press junket and I still feel excited that it’s being released today. I want to run out the movies, gather up my fellow Cornetto-fans and see this film again. Yes, plop down my lack of hard-earned money to see a film I’ve already viewed for free.
And that’s the brilliance of the writing of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright — these two know how to write movies in a way that hits you on so many levels. They layer the hell out of the plot, almost forcing you to go back and view the film for a second, third, fourth time, just so you get all the jokes, references, foreshadowing. It’s been a few years now, go back and watch Shaun of the Dead and be on the look for all the foreshadowing, it’s absolutely insane and yet delivered in such a subtle way. Yet, it’s not just literary devices and trickery that make their writing so good. The two always know how to, even in the most absurd situations, like the end of the world, to incorporate real-life emotions and issues that speak universally to its audience. Growing up, the trials and tribulations of male friendship, mid-life crisis, addiction, clinging to the faded glory of youth — all issues addressed in this film. And addressed in a brilliant, unapologetic, and 100% sincere way. It’s as if the writers know who you are, what you’re experiencing and just have found a cool and funny way to put it on film.
If you wanted, this whole review could be dedicated to the emotional, philosophical and intellectual reasons why The World’s End is such a good film, but instead, let’s bring the noise.
The World’s End is a surprisingly thrilling and action-packed comedy. Yes, there was plenty of action in Shaun and Fuzz, but when you’ve got a fight choreographer who studied under Jackie Chan putting your fight scenes together, the action goes to a whole other level. The actors, most of whom haven’t been in too many scraps during their film career, handle it more than adequately and it’s believable…drunk muscles are a real thing, right? In terms of suspense, on more than one occasion, scratch that, probably for a good 30 minutes of the film, this reviewer found himself literally almost at the edge of his seat; white knuckling his arm rest during the expansive chase sequences.
The film is also absolutely funny as all hell too. If you’re a fan of the earlier Cornetto films, you know what you’re in for. It’s the amazing comedic chemistry of Pegg and Frost, terrific sight site gags, winks and nods to other films and that dry British humor amongst the craziest of circumstances that’ll have you rolling. Also, the rest of the crew — Marsan, Considine and Freeman shine in their respective roles and when the whole gang is together — gold. Martin Freeman is probably the best of the bunch playing the Gordon Gecko wannabe Omar. His plastic smile, perfect hair, ever-present Bluetooth earpiece and agitated energy is the perfect foil to Pegg’s unflappably immature character. (It also continues with the Cornetto theme of all of Freeman’s characters being the inverse of all of Pegg’s characters).
The World’s End takes you on a wild ride of classic sci-fi grandeur, of cheeky British humor, of two-fisted action and some dark, emotional places you never thought it would go. Best movie of the year? Easily.
How’s that for a slice of fried gold?