Monday, December 2, 2013

Movie Review: The World's End (2013)

Ay yi yi. Are the holidays over yet? I need my regular boring life back.

Edgar Wright. Simon Pegg. Nick Frost. No joke, three of the greatest things to happen to movies in the last decade. Shaun of the Dead is beyond words brilliant as a rom-zom-com with blood, guts, belly laughs, and a lot of heart. Hot Fuzz was an immensely successful follow-up that ventured into the buddy-cop action movie genre, but still had the blood, guts, belly laughs, and possibly even more heart. And now the fan-coined "Cornetto Trilogy" concludes with the appropriately titled The World's End. The blood and guts are blue this time, but they're there, and so are the belly laughs and never-ending heart.

Five childhood friends return to their hometown to attempt to complete an epic pub crawl they began over 20 years ago - 12 pubs in one night, concluding at The World's End. As the boys rehash old times and deal with their issues, they realize that the town is not the same as they remember, and for good reason, too - most of the townspeople have been replaced by robots.

The boys surely haven't lost their touch in creating something that audiences will love, both newcomers and those already familiar with their work. Once again I was impressed by the writing and the delivery of the writing by all the actors. The jokes come at rapid-fire pace (and people make fun of me for always using subtitles) and the humor is smart, sometimes dirty, but always cleverly laid out in relation to what the movie is about and situations that come later. Watching the movie again lets you catch on to some references you missed before, the double meaning behind some of the lines ("We're here to get annihilated!" "It must be the network"). They did similar things in their previous two films, but it still works and it's still brilliant how they're able to pull it all together.

Pegg and Frost are of course great in their roles, especially since here they are sort of playing a reversal of their previous roles in both Shaun and Hot Fuzz. Pegg is the wild and goofy Gary King, spouting out more one-liners than I could keep up with, while Frost is the more professional, subdued Andy Knightley. Nobody plays best buddies better than dudes who are actually best buddies in real life. Truth be told, though, I kind of loved the actors playing the other three friends in the group - Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan - a bit more, as they were all completely adorable and hilarious. It was good to see all of them have their chance to shine, instead of the movie being all about Pegg and Frost (not that they would intentionally do that, but they are the stars of the show to the fans).

Looking at the movie for what it is on the surface, it works as a weird hybrid action-scifi-comedy-bromance thing but there is a message and a reasoning for what they did. I liked the whole thing at the end about how human beings have every right to be fuck-ups because I get it. Conformity makes you normal and safe, but making mistakes lets you learn, become wiser, and help others. There's also something there about conforming and making uniform all the charming small town pubs and stores and whatnot (as two of the pubs in the movie look exactly the same) which is also somewhat bothersome. How long until real mom-and-pop places just cease to exist? However you choose to look at it, The World's End is a very charming movie about the simple things in life - friendship, a good night out at the pub - and how important they are to people.

It almost feels wrong to heap so much praise on pretty much everything these guys do, but I really can't help it. I fucking love Shaun of the Dead, I really super-duper like Hot Fuzz, and now I'm all kinds of giddy over The World's End. Wright and Pegg probably aren't completely done making movies but I do wonder about what they are going to do next. Something totally different? More of the same but different actors or something? I don't know, but I do know that I will be right there to experience whatever they come up with.


  1. One of the absolute best movies of 2013, and also another Frost/Pegg/Wright masterpiece. Strongly hope they make another one sometime in the near/far future. Fingers crossed...

  2. I had a hard time writing a balance review for the same reason. I just found so much good stuff going on here, it's by far their most mature and honest film while keeping all the classic trademarks from Shaun and Fuzz. Great review Michelle.