Film review: The World’s End (2013), directed by Edgar Wright
Concluding the “Cornetto” trilogy (1: Shaun of the Dead, 2: Hot Fuzz), in The World’s End we meet a group of men who used to be friends back in school. One night in the early 1990s they decided to do the Golden Mile challenge – one pint of beer in each of the twelve pubs in their home town Newton Haven. For various reasons they never made it to the end.
Roll on a few decades, and Gary King (Simon Pegg) wants to get the old gang back together and give it another go. His friends Andy (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Steve (Paddy Considine) have moved on with their lives and are less keen on reliving the past, but reluctantly agree to meet up.
In Newton Haven the old character pubs seem to have been replaced with refurbished and identical chain pubs, and the guys are just not teenagers anymore. Andy’s tee-total, for starters. The locals also don’t seem to be too welcoming for some reason.
Also starring Rosamund Pike as Sam, Pierce Brosnan as Mr Shephard, David Bradley as local eccentric Basil, Bill Nighy as the voice of The Network, and Darren Boyd as Pete’s former bully.
First things first: is there a Cornetto in this film? There’s a Mint Cornetto wrapper floating past the screen in the epilogue. They do crash through fences, though!
Because the actors are older now than they were when Shaun of the Dead first came out, and that fits very well with the characters who are all very much aware of their ages – with the exception of “the King”, of course. He’s stuck in the past, well and truly, and the contrast between him and the clean cut, responsible adults that used to be his friends is startling. He wants to party, they want to go home and pay their mortgages.
It starts out as a pub crawl and reminiscing about the past, and ends up with an intergalactic conspiracy. And it’s funny. There were a lot of laugh out loud moments, and you can’t fault any of the actors, or the script … but I’m not sure I liked it quite as much as Hot Fuzz. (I’ve only seen Shaun of the Dead once, and it was years ago, so I don’t remember it that well.) The first two films were parodying a genre, i.e. zombie films and buddy cop films, but The World’s End doesn’t. It’s “just” a film … but at the same time, it’s also more grown up. And that’s a good thing, probably.
Besides, with a comedy troupe like this, you’re bound to have fun whatever happens, and Frost and Pegg are a great team. Here, Frost actually takes the lead for once, as being the responsible one. Nice twist.
Bill Nighy’s voice part was funny too, and the film really didn’t end as expected. So that was nice. It’s a good film, but if it’s the strongest film of the trilogy or the weakest is up to each and every viewer.
3.9 out of 5 disabled toilets.