The World’s End is a sad way to end Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy”, precious few memorable moments and a lot of repetitive action filling the time.
Six men are reunited by the nostalgia infused rantings of a drunken man-child named Gary King and set on an epic pub crawl in their old town from twenty years ago. But when they begin they find the sleepy town is the nerve-centre of a hostile takeover and they are the Earth’s last hope.
Edgar Wright quickly became one of the director’s I would look out for purely off the back of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and Hot Fuzz, the latter being the second installment of his collaborative film series with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost known as the “Cornetto Trilogy”. I loved Hot Fuzz, it has so much going on and excellent pacing and fun characters. This trilogy’s opening act Shaun of the Dead was certainly fun as a zombie parody, but I rate it below its follow-up.
The World’s End feels reminiscent of Shaun of the Dead, yet without the fun poking at a bloated genre that was experiencing a Renaissance at that particular time. I don’t know what The World’s End was trying to achieve, apart from literally being a Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright collab and little more.
The film feels more than a little dry of ideas as it goes on. Our reluctant characters are dragged on Simon Pegg’s Cheshire Cat-grinning Gary King through multiple pubs even after they discover the town is infested with malicious alien clones. But the pub crawl must continue, despite the obvious incentive to run away. What develops is a undulating peaks-and-troughs scenario: characters reminisce about their drunken teenage years, followed by a crazed blue blood-splattered fight. Repeat until run time is complete.
Perhaps if there had been more of our characters getting increasingly drunk as their adventure continues, yes, that doesn’t even really feature; they fight and run around at the end of the film as well as they did at the start.
There are some good morsels spread throughout though. The film’s climax is probably the best moment in the film because of its nature of parodying science fiction films and invasion movies, feeling much more in line with the previous two installments of the Cornetto Trilogy. There’s also great chemistry between the characters themselves. Simon Pegg’s character is front and centre, and while critics can argue Pegg is only there because of his rise in Hollywood (he had been alongside Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and starred in Star Trek by this point) his character is deliberately the most feeble in the story! The way the script has his friends playing off his immature, rambunctious behavior works perfectly to the film’s benefit, regardless of your personal opinion of Pegg.
A lot of good stars in here too, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan (I just rewatched Filth recently and recognised him) Rosamund Pike breaks up the all-boys line up, and even Pierce Brosnen was in there. Not… sure why Brosnen was there mind you.
The World’s End had the odd fun moment but sadly not enough to really hold my attention, its over-reliance on action sequences made it feel samey throughout. I really wanted to like this more, but while the earlier two films felt like great comedy parody, this was more like a straight action comedy.