Skip to comments.Movie Review: 'The World's End'
Posted on 08/24/2013 10:25:57 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
Edgar Wright has done it again. He first gave us Shaun of the Dead, one of the most refreshing zombie movies ever made. He followed that with Hot Fuzz, a love letter to decades of Hollywood action that gets better and better with every watch. And now he rounds out his trilogy with The World's End, an absolutely inspired spin on a sci-fi subgenre that Hollywood has done many, many, many times. Of course, since this is an Edgar Wright film, it's simultaneously an ode to movies past and a completely original creation that stands on its own two feet.
As for what exactly the sci-fi subgenre is, I'd kind of rather not say since so much of the fun comes from seeing the way Wright and cowriter-star Simon Pegg take an ordinary story and slowly introduce it into an extraordinary situation. It's about a group of friends (Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Paddy Considine) reuniting for the first time in decades to re-create an epic pub crawl that they tried, and failed, to complete in their youth. Their group has drifted apart over the years, but Pegg's Gary King is doing everything he can to get the band back together. The magic just isn't there anymore, though. These friendships aren't what they used to be and it's obvious to everyone but Garry, the selfish wannabe rock star who drove the group apart in the first place.
None of the others actually care about doing this pub crawl, and they're about to call it quits when something unreal happens. They start to notice the hometown they haven't been to in years has changed. No one seems to remember who they are and everyone around them is acting rather strange and increasingly suspicious. Suddenly, before the gang really wrap their heads around the situation, they're in for the fight of their lives as they try to escape the quaint British town they used to call home, all while trying to repair some badly damaged friendships in the process.
What's most impressive about The World's End is the same thing that's so impressive about Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It's Wright's commitment to giving his characters a complete emotional journey. It's never just about the high-concept scenario. The sci-fi side of the movie never overpowers the human side, and it's that human side that strikes hardest. There's some surprising emotional weight to everything that happens - thanks in no small part to stellar performances by Pegg and Frost - and their story of fractured friendships is handled with the utmost maturity and pays off in clever, organic ways. This isn't a Hollywood movie where characters are just thin enough to each have a basic function in the grander spectacle. This is an Edgar Wright movie where the characters matter just as much as the cool action that's happening all around them.
And as for that action, it's all derived from a plot that's just brilliant and wholly original. Again, there's no need to spoil anything, but this is the type of story that feels like it could be newly discovered side chapter in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It shares Douglas Adams' same brand of bemused, cosmic humor where everything has its weird, unexpected purpose, and it uses a small story and average people to explore bigger ideas about the entire human race. It's rather brilliant and makes for a wildly entertaining, original, surprising and heartwarming sci-fi story that's bound to become as meaningful to its respective genre as Shaun of the Dead is to the zombie genre.
'The World's End' Review: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg Brilliantly Tap Their 'Shaun of the Dead' Magic One More Time
I saw this tonight, and it was good. Unlike almost everything coming out of Hollywood, which worships youth and arrested development to the point of actors butchering themselves in surgeries, this film actually doesn't worship youth. In fact, it finds immaturity immature. Acting your age is considered "cool," and trying to relive the past is pointless.
Simon Peg and Nick Frost do a very good job with their characters, and have switched their usual roles. Nick Frost is usually the immature one, but he plays a convincing adult. Simon Peg, usually the adult, plays a very convincing man who can't grow up. This is the best acting I have seen out of both of them.
I thought this was on at then movies - ended up seeing This is the End with Seth Rogan - what a bunch of nonsense. Sounds like I really missed out - Pegg and Frost are clever and their characters and relationships always have heart!
If you go into this movie expecting the characters from either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, you're not going to get it. What you do get are two different, but very appropriate performances for the material.
Reviewers are calling this a "trilogy." I am not sure about that, but what it definitely is not, is a rehash sequel, where the the film is cranked out according to the previous movie's successful formula. If it is a trilogy, it is the capstone. They can't go back and make another Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz after this. They can go on to different things, but this is definitely an end. And even if you loved the other films, this will satisfy you.
Great review. Will be on Netflix next month.
I’m really happy to hear the good reviews emerging. I just love the heck out of these guys, and the movies they make together. They’re fun, relaxed goofy buddy movies. They remind me of an “everyman” British Hope/Crosby duo.
Oh yeah......used to watch that in my younger years. spooky ass music he played.