Well, here we are. Nine years after Shaun of the Dead was released and somehow, inexplicably, went from a cult following to required watching for any comedy or zombie buff, we come to the The World’s End. The third film from the trio of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright and while it may not have as many laugh out loud moments as Shaun or 2007’s Hot Fuzz, it is certainly the most heartfelt and emotional of the three films, which is something I was not expecting, but was completely glad I got it.
Simon Pegg leads the way again as Gary King,a man approaching 40 who has never gotten past the good times of drinking and drugs that were the staples of his youth. He decides that he should get his old school mates back together and attempt The Golden Mile, a pub crawl in their hometown of Newton Haven consisting of twelve pubs that they never finished in their youth.
Ready? Here we go: The First Post, The Old Familiar, The Famous Cock, The Cross Hands, The Good Companions, The Trusty Servant, The Two Headed Dog, The Mermaid, The Beehive, The King’s Head, The Hole in the Wall, The World’s End.
That’s a lot of liquor.
Gary sets off to get his old mates back together and finds their lives exactly what he has always tried to avoid. Peter (Eddie Marsan) has never gotten past being bullied in his youth and is a car saleman at his father’s lot, Oliver (Martin Freeman) is a yuppie real estate agent, Steven (Paddy Considine) is an architect and was and still is a rival for Oliver’s sister (Rosamund Pike) and Andrew (Nick Frost) is a lawyer and Gary’s former best friend before a giant falling out.
Through some manipulation and flat out lying, Gary convinces the four friends to return to Newton Haven and take on the pub crawl that bested them. The night starts out simple enough with Gary reliving the best part of his life while imbibing plenty of pints while the four friends wonder why they even agreed to tag along on the journey. When Gary’s lies begin to fall apart and the group decides to leave is where things go haywire in the form of alien robots (not robots) that have taken over the town for some (what the group thinks) nefarious reasons.
Gary’s plan is to stick to the pub crawl sensing that if they act normally the blue-blooded beings will let them leave, but that is not the case. The five friends make their way from pub to pub getting more and more drunk as they fight groups of killer robots while working through all of their problems with each other. That is where The World’s End feels different from Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz. It is about life not giving you what you thought you should have and trying to revisit the best times of your life only to realize that it can never happen. We grow up, people change, situations alter our plans and life just…happens.
Where The World’s End may disappoint is that it is not as slapstick funny as the previous films in the trilogy. I am not saying that the movie is not funny, far from it, but you will not be leaving the theater with a host of quotable lines that you will instantly connect with the movie. There are plenty of laughs to be had especially when the action gets frantic and everyone is completely off the wagon, it just takes its time and does not skimp on the emotional center and I applaud Pegg, Frost and Wright for doing that.
All in all I have to say that The World’s End would be in third place when it comes to The Cornetto Trilogy with Hot Fuzz being first and Shaun in the middle. That in no way is a slight against the film because it is funny as hell in places and the cast is, once again, top notch with plenty of bit parts from Cornetto regulars and even Pierce Brosnan. The World’s End is a fitting end for the trilogy and will surprise you with the sentimental depth of the relationships.
Plus, you know, killer robots.