The World's End Directed by: Edgar Wright Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine Running Time: 1 hrs 49 mins Rating: R Release Date: August 23, 2013
PLOT: An alcoholic stuck in the past (Pegg) reunites his old friends to complete the pub crawl they botched back in 1990. During this second attempt, they realize the town they left behind is a bit different years and years later.
WHO'S IT FOR? Adorers of Shaun of the Dead or even Hot Fuzz are already standing in line, and they certainly shouldn't be stopped. But for whatever high expectations they may have, they should all be forewarned that this isn't the ultimately satisfying reunion one may hope it to be. A fun night out with familiar faces? That it is indeed.
EXPECTATIONS: While I didn't enjoy a previous pairing from Frost & Pegg (Paul) I was curious as to what this trio would provide in the face of other apocalypse movies this year, especially Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg's This is the End.
Simon Pegg as Gary King: Pegg plays one of his most hyper roles yet with this former leader of cool, but even for a character who is trying too hard, there are moments in which it seems like Pegg himself is overdoing it. He pops into frame like a cartoon character, and releases a grand amount of hit-and-miss pun play. with his more complicated delusions offering some of the movie's bigger jokes. Amongst the comic relief he spews it's the sadness evident in this man living in the past that makes him interesting the most. From his dedication to using the same map from the original crawl to the appearance of an original mixtape from 1990, Pegg's zany character is painted with bits of rich detail that make The World's End more than just a quintet's reunion into a time capsule. Score: 6
Nick Frost as Andy: Frost does his own acting flexing with his range in this film, starting off as a straight man soured by the past, directly opposite Pegg, to ultimately the third act's fighting machine. A force who can keep up with Pegg's louder charisma, there's something to be said about someone who can make a request for water as funny as his hyperactive physical moments. Score: 6
Rosamund Pike as Sam: A bit more than just "The Girl" in this odyssey, Pike comes into the group's bigger picture to provide a little romance, but similarly an indication that some things don't have to change over time. Especially when she interacts with Pegg, the two share good ideological clashes that feed into the heart of this movie, as she mentions that there's a time of which we should stop looking back, and simply move forward. Score: 5
Rest of Cast: As a trio, the friends of center mates Gary & Andy are quite similar to each other, providing a pretty simple idea of what being a (bland) mature adult looks like. The three are good for some anti-buddy comedy in spite of their unavoidable plainness, with Freeman standing out the most. Score: 5
TALKING: Hyped up by sugar rush editing, the script gets a fair chunk of its laughs from the speed of its dialogue, even if losing gas on recurring jokes (such as trying to find a different word for "robots"). In terms of the thematically relevant dialogue, the actual explanation of the movie's metaphorical villainous force proves to be arduous; a third act plays out for eons while World's End takes a diversion from discussing maturity to say something monotonous about humans being prone to error. Score: 6
SIGHTS: Like with his work in Scott Pilgrim, Wright assembles his movies with great zeal, as even sedentary scenes zip into each other with distinct transitions. Considering the center fantasy of this story, World's End also packs a few exciting action sequences, which show dedication to heavy choreography but also to numerous genres. The World's End is not an action comedy with only homages to offer, but full passages of its own that are played out with slick segments. Score: 7
SOUNDS: Keeping with Wright's tradition of providing diverse alternative soundtracks, The World's End is heavy with musical interludes. Bands like Suede, Pulp, Blur, Teenage Fanclub, and The Stone Roses are featured sporadically throughout the soundtrack. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: Similar to the overall existence of Wright's previous films, The World's End can make for some big laughs when it recognizes cliches, but shows the goofiness within their painful reality. Pegg's leap onto a car comes with expected results, but for its timing and tangible pain gives the movie its best comedic moment.
ENDING: An epilogue provides a pretty detailed explanation of what the end really is like. A final frame moment involving the line "They call me the King" is simply corny.
QUESTIONS: Was the basis of this script put together in the course of one night over some drinks? It had to be, right?
REWATCHABILITY: Like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz before it, there are moments in which this comedy certainly drags, despite the supple action and comedy to be found. In the larger scheme of things, especially because of the party that is this film, The World's End wouldn't make for a bad second viewing, just a notably imperfect one.
The third installment from the cinematic pairing of Pegg, Frost, and co-writer/director Edgar Wright, The World's End is a finale steered primarily by the traditions the trio have set for themselves. While it has a fair amount of lively comedy and exciting spurts of full-on action, one can't help but feel that The World's End is dragged down by its intentional repeating of certain elements, especially with its central twist of mass-chaos. Watching Pegg, Frost & company play around with their newest unexpected genre toy doesn't always make for the most exciting story-line. Such is the case even though it's within the giddy concept of watching a funny group of men hang out with each other, and get into bar fights that are beyond regular human scuffles. But for the storytelling to be expected, such elements are just another spot on the map.
While Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz both centered on buddy love, neither have gone deeper into the richer concept of age and maturity than The World's End, a piece of mind that gives Wright's film its meat. World's End stands apart from other similar friend tales for its more inspired moments, where it shows the importance for these characters in living forward. The World's End may be another chapter in comedy's tackling of arrested development, but within the packaging of a film like this, the adventure of Pegg's man-child and a robotic town stuck in the past feels more youthful than it likely is.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10