The World’s End


Ah, beer.

Nostalgia seems like such a warm fuzzy thing. Thinking about the past, and reliving nice memories in your mind is a wonderful, and I’d imagine, pretty common across the human race. Meanwhile, actually living in the past (i.e. trying to recapture the best moments of your youth) is a sad, depressing, and frankly pathetic way to lead a life.

Gary King (Simon Pegg) lives as if he’s still eighteen – his “glory years” – even though he’s nearing forty and is ostracized by his friends. During a group meeting, Gary has an epiphany: he has to complete the “Golden Mile,” a marathon pub crawl consisting of twelve bars and twelve pints that he attempted during the last day of high school with his four best buddies. He enlists his old high school buddies (all nearing middle-age and with grown-up things like careers, homes, and families) to attempt the challenge again. It starts as a simple quest into the past, and inexplicably ends with the fivesome battling for their lives, and possibly, the entire world itself.

The World’s End is the finale to the “Cornetto Trilogy” that started with Shaun of the Dead back in 2004. All of the films in the series are directed by Edgar Wright and star Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Each one is a loving homage to a genre that the team grew up with – from zombie flicks (Shaun of the Dead) to loud action movies (Hot Fuzz) and sci-fi (The World’s End). It’s fitting that the final film in the trilogy involves best friends getting together for one last time to tie up an unfinished end.

Flipping the relationship that characterized the previous two films, Pegg plays the zany character to Frost’s straight man in this outing. It’s an effective twist, and Pegg relishes the opportunity to chew the scenery as a black leather dressed man-child who refuses to leave the 1990s (he still uses a tape deck to play music in his car). Meanwhile, the rest of the actors play comic foils to Pegg lovable (?) loser, with Martin “Don’t call me Bilbo” Freeman showing up as a real estate agent complete with Bluetooth headset, Eddie Marsan as a sensitive family man still recovering from high school bullying (his dumbfounded looks are comedic gold), and Paddy Considine as a divorced man going through a mid-life resurgence rather than crisis.

The World’s End starts out at a sprint, introducing all the major characters and spit-firing jokes on everything from the “Starbucksing” of pubs to the engineering technicalities of what constitutes a door. However, once the film shifts in tone from a classic comedy to a comic science fiction film, it loses a bit of its charm. Despite the hilarious action sequences that follow the secret our heroes discover, the characters get a bit lost in the background. It may just be me, but I found myself yearning for the earlier scenes with a sad and desperate Simon Pegg masquerading as a devil-may-care ne’er-do-well while his middle-aged friends watched in shock as he slowly implodes. The first half of the film develops the relationship between these men, only to dissolve that build-up in favour of (an admitted hilarious) homage to sci-fi films. It’s funny, but feels a little underwhelming.

The World’s End starts off strongly, falters a bit in the middle when it changes tack and forgets the excellent character work it built up to that point, but finishes on a high note with a twist I didn’t see coming that generates some huge laughs.

Grade: B+

Sidenote: The trilogy is named after a frozen ice cream treat similar to “Drumsticks” in North America that has a cameo in each of the films. In this one, it’s a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moment.


2 Responses to The World’s End

  1. CMrok93 says:

    So much fun, as I would have expected it to be. Add a couple more pints to the showing, and something tells me you may have the greatest movie-going experience of your life. Just a thought. Nice review.

  2. Nostra says:

    I had no problem with the sci fi twist and really enjoyed it. What is your favorite out of the trilogy?

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