|The World's End
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine
I consider myself a pretty big fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. But I should also mention that I wasn’t a big fan initially. I had to watch each film a couple more times to fully appreciate what Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg & Nick Frost were doing. So when trailers started popping up for the The Worlds End, the final film in the Cornetto Trilogy, I was excited. The reason for that excitement was simply this: I felt like I now completely understood what it was Wright/Frost/Pegg were going for and I wouldn’t be left pondering if I really liked the film after it’s initial viewing. With after seeing the The World's End, I’m still left pondering, but while I liked the movie, my hesitation with it stems from a completely different train of thought.
The one great thing about the Cornetto Trilogy is the feeling that these movies are made by people who really love movies; the good, the bad and the highly quotable. They’re films that can easily be lumped into the “I wished I made that movie” category. From a certain standpoint, they get it. They get why we love movies. But that sort of thing can come back to haunt you, especially when your first two movies are very similar in tone, structure and dialogue. So where the The World's End has a chance and actually starts to walk down a path that is different from its predecessors, it quickly jumps back in to old familiar territory. That’s all well and good, but at this point, it would be nice to see something fresh and new.
The movie starts by giving you a brief history of Gary (Simon Pegg), Andy (Nick Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Oliver (Martin Freeman) and Peter (Eddie Marsan), five best friends who after graduating from high school, decide to take on the town’s pub crawl called the Golden Mile….they never finish. Cut to present day and while all of Gary’s friends have grown up, have careers, wives and kids, Gary still lives for the past (even carrying on as such by wearing the same clothes, listening to the same music and driving the same car) and gets his friends back together to finish what they started 20 some odd years ago. But the night quickly takes a weird turn as they start to notice that the people from their past don’t recognize them. It’s only after a confrontation in a bar bathroom where they discover the town is made up of aliens.
I won’t spoil the intentions of why the aliens are in this town (called New Haven) but while it drives most of the story, it really should’ve of been a secondary issue with The Worlds End. Gary is a fuck up; a drug addict, alcoholic manipulative lying mess that can’t seem to get his life moving forward. So when his friends begrudgingly agree to take part in the pub crawl, it’s an opportunity for the movie to use that as its center piece. We all know that feeling, the feeling of letting go of what was once sacred in your life. We also know how much fun it can be to relive some of those memories, if even for a fleeting moment.
The movie starts strong and I was shocked and happy at the direction it was taking, but with just a snap of the fingers, it jumps right into dealing with a town filled with an overtaking alien race. It should of come later in the movie as I wanted to see more interaction with Gary, his friends and a subplot involving Oliver's sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), especially since Gary is such an unlikable but yet oddly compelling guy who you can see people latching onto. The movie has the talent, but everyone’s characters take a back seat to Gary and later to dealing with the aliens. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz both did a terrific job of fleshing out the supporting characters, something that is oddly lacking with this one.
The great thing though about The World's End is it’s really funny, especially when Andy, the one in the group with the most baggage with Gary and a teetotaler for 16 years (due to an incident involving he and Gary), starts to let loose and becomes completely unhinged. And all the great dialogue you’ve come to expect from these films is firmly intact (with most of it coming from Gary). And because of this, it’s almost impossible to hate on this movie. You won’t be bored, especially if you’re a fan of this series. But it’s time to move on fellas’ and explore new ideas. You could’ve mucked this one up something fierce, but talent overcame that obstacle and in the end, the only bad thing about it was it became too familiar.