The World's End Is Goofy, Nerdy and Far-Fetched. Basically, It's Awesome.
The World's End.
Director: Edgar Wright.
Writers: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright.
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman.
From Edgar Wright — the man who brought us Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, not to mention the unconnected but equally awesome and criminally underrated Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World — comes The World's End, the third and final swoop in he and co-writer/star Simon Pegg's sundae bloody sundae known informally but also kind of formally either as “The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” or the “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy,” depending upon whom you ask.
Following the themes of the previous two films in this run, The World's End is all hopped up on on brews and bros coming together to save the world — or at least their immediate world.
First it was zombies, then it was a crazed townie secret society and now it's blue goo-filled robot aliens hell-bent on assimilation and/or annihilation. This is all, of course, unbeknownst to our heroes Gary King (Pegg), Andy Knightley (Nick Frost) and their three other boyhood chums (Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan), who have set out on a quest to relive — and this time complete — an epic 12-pub crawl they'd attempted 20 years earlier, whilst in their teens.
It's a night that King never let go, which in part explains the 40-year-old man-child he became. He's a character perpetually trying to recapture his youth, even as his mates have moved on, grown up, got jobs, got married and lived the British Dream, which is pretty much exactly the American Dream but with funnier accents and a more expansive vocabulary. Differences are cased aside, however, on this night of nights, as King and his pals are forced rekindle the fires of friendship, kick some robot ass, drink some beer and make it to a pub called — you guessed it, The World's End — so their world doesn't, in fact, end.
While not my favorite of the trilogy — that spot is held firmly by Hot Fuzz — Wright has crafted in The World's End a fitting and fun third film to wrap up his own slacker-driven Kieslowski-esque tricolor trilogy. This film does achieves something more successfully than its predecessors, though: its a pitch-perfect, heavy balance of true bromantic emotion, silly humor and serious genre tone. The stakes are higher — and, with them, the tone of the film's dark corners is heightened.
The script from Wright and Pegg is masterly crafted and interwoven with emotion-bending turns that have you laughing, feeling nerdy and sad, all in the span of a scene. It's not an easy feat to make both a sci-fi flick and a dramedy with a heavy helping of pastiche all in one, but, by George, these boys pull it off.
As actors, meanwhile, Pegg and Frost are just as good here as they've ever been. These players' onscreen camaraderie is something we're all very familiar with at this point, given the Laurel & Hardy-like light they've cast themselves in over the course of the past decade. Here, the archetypes are reconfigured a bit: Pegg's King is the sluggard and Frost's Knightley is the guy who seemingly has it more together. As a role reversal reinvention, it works — mostly because watching this dynamic duo on screen, no matter the arrangement, is ultimately the thing that makes these films work as well as they do.
Perfectly paired with Wright's unique mise-en-scene, The World's End serves as the satisfying cherry atop of a trio of films from a group of friends making films about being friends.
And that's a flavour that never goes out of style.
Score: 9 out of 10 pints.