Anthony's Film Review
The World's End (2013)
Director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost amuse us again, this time in a sci-fi send-up...
The World's End in 2013 is the third comedy movie after Shaun of the Dead in 2004 and Hot Fuzz in 2007 to be directed by Edgar Wright, star Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and provide a clever and fresh British take on an established film genre. Whereas Shaun of the Dead was the United Kingdom's version of zombie horror flicks and Hot Fuzz was the UK's answer to American police action movies, The World's End is a new retelling of science-fiction alien invasion movies. I'll say this right now. If you loved Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, you'll love The World's End. In terms of quality and entertainment, it fits well alongside the other two films.
Interestingly enough, if you start watching The World's End without knowing what it's about, you would think that the whole movie is something entirely different: a comedy about barhopping. After all, the prologue explains that five young men, comprising Gary King and his friends Andy, Peter, Steven, and Oliver, celebrate the end of their youth by going into the town of Newton Haven and drinking at a total of 12 pubs along the Golden Mile, with the last pub being The World's End. But as we soon learn, they don't complete their quest. Now, about two decades later, Andy (Nick Frost), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Oliver (Martin Freeman) are leading lives of responsibility, but Gary (Simon Pegg) is an alcoholic whose one wish is to finish the pub crawl all the way to The World's End. One day, he visits his old friends and brings them all together to take another trip to Newton Haven.
For a while, the film really is just a series of funny dialogue scenes as the men visit the first few pubs. It is amusing to see Gary act as immature as he used to be, while the other four conservative-looking men are just idly going through the motions. In fact, Nick is now abstinent from alcohol, instead choosing to be the only one of the five drinking water instead of beer. At this point, you might assume that this is all there is to see in this movie. You might even get bored and decide to stop watching it.
But if you wait just a little longer, you will see that the movie shifts into its actual intended genre. At one pub, Gary goes into the restroom and ends up engaging in a fight with another bar patron. After some hard blows here and there, Gary is about to make a kill. Just as you might prepare to squirm in response to a gruesome finish accompanied by blood, you will actually be less startled, in response to blue blood and a head popping off like a broken toy. You see, Gary's opponent is actually a robot. At first, it looks as if Gary is hallucinating, but when Gary's pals walk in, see the robot, and fight other robots themselves, it's clear that this barhopping advernture is going to be highly unusual.
Now the five men continue their trek along the Golden Mile, but with great suspicion of other people. Now, why aren't they leaving? Because Nick, the alcohol abstainer, drinks a few shots of hard liquor after the horror of the robot fight, leaving no designated driver to safely take everyone home. Anyway, the movie continues with more humorous dialogue, sci-fi suspense, bloody robot fights (with blue blood, of course), and moments that shed light on the robots in Newton Haven. There are also appearances by a few other characters, including Rosamund Pike as Oliver's sister Sam and Pierce Brosnan as a schoolteacher whom Gary once knew. (OFF-TOPIC TRIVIA: Brosnan and Pike were previously in the James Bond movie Die Another Day, making The World's End the second Edgar Wright-Simon Pegg-Nick Frost movie to feature Bond film actors. The first was Hot Fuzz, featuring former 007 actor Timothy Dalton.)
Overall, the script is engaging and funny, the special effects are cool, and the cast members play their parts well. I especially admire Simon Pegg's performance here. This is an actor who is incredible versatile. After playing an average loser in Shaun of the Dead and a hardened cop in Hot Fuzz, he plays a loose drunk in The World's End with just as much finesse and passion as with those two other roles. My favorite scene with Pegg in this movie is no doubt the climactic scene. Without giving any details away, I definitely laughed while watching Pegg's character act with a foolish bravado as he is taking on the rest of the universe. It's just funny to see a guy on the disadvantaged side of a very lopsided confrontation.
If I were to rank the three Wright-Pegg-Frost movies, I would put Hot Fuzz at number one, The World's End at number two, and Shaun of the Dead at number three. Fans of the three movies may not necessarily agree with my rankings and may instead have a different favorite. On the other hand, the three films are so good that the differences among them are small, so that everyone in the end can agree that these are entertaining movies. With that, I would like to make a toast. Three cheers to The World's End! (Meaning, of course, this movie, not an actual apocalypse.)
For more information about The World's End, visit the Internet Movie Database.