Published on August 16th, 2013 | by Allan Brown0
The Worlds End Review
Movie Review: The Worlds End (2013)
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Simon Pegg, Martin Freeman, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Pierce Brosnan, Bill Nighy,Paddy Considine, David Bradley
Plot: Five friends meet up for the first time since high school in an attempt to complete the epic pub crawl they attempted 20 years previous. What they don’t know, is that this time their quest might just inadvertently save the human race.
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg reunite with their director chum and long time collaborator Edgar Wright for what marks the final part of their “Cornetto Trilogy” (aka The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, Blood and Ice Cream trilogy).
For those not in the know regarding the Cornetto connection, director Edgar Wright’s explanation is probably the best “There are bigger things that link the films, but the loosest one is that Cornetto ice cream is featured in all three. When I was at college, I was hung over once, I had a Cornetto ice cream and I felt much better” The flavours featured in each of the tasty Ice Creams loosely follow each of the film’s themes: There’s the red of strawberry in Shaun of the Dead (blood), the blue classic original flavour in Hot Fuzz (Police) and the green of the mint chocolate version in The World’s End (Aliens).
The story centres round Gary King (Simon Pegg), the cool kid everyone wants to hang out with at high school, the rebel, the menace and now ultimately, the guy who has to come to grips with the fact that his life will never again be as good as it was when he was sixteen. And so Gary does what any man would do in this situation. He gets drunk and pretends that nothing has changed, effectively still living life like he’s sixteen without any cares or responsibilities in the world and ofcourse is still awesome. In this particular case, he’s taking some friends along for the ride, reconstructing the greatest night of their lives, the night five high school mates tackled Newton Haven’s legendary ‘Golden Mile’ pub crawl and failed, 12 Pubs, 60 Pints! But this time will be different. This time they may just succeed.
At its heart, The Worlds End plays out as a charming and surprisingly insightful take on hitting middle age and the reluctance in accepting it. However, like all Edgar, Frost and Pegg collaborations, the shackles of convention are forcefully removed as they take this ordinary and somewhat touching coming of age drama and lead it down the action / sci-fi / comedy path.
Does it work?
The script is sharp, fast and punchy and Pegg relishes in it. His performance and comedy timing is key to the groups dynamic, proving both hilarious and an absolute joy to watch on screen.
Unlike before with Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, The Worlds End is not a straightforward buddy comedy. This is an ensemble in the truest sense of the word with the expanded cast every bit as fundamental on screen as our duo Frost and Pegg. However, despite the unlikely (or likely path) the film ventures down, the characters remain consistently engaging, grounded and relatable, and despite there being six roles on screen at any one time, each character is given equal time to grow and evolve.
Our group members are made up by some of the most talented British actors of today, Paddy Considine ( Steven, an level headed architect, who still pines for the one that got away ), Eddie Marsan ( Peter, the insecure one who is still bullied), Martin Freeman (Oliver, an estate agent and company man) and Rosamund Pike (Sam, Oliver’s sister, who inadvertently joins the group for midway through their Golden Mile challenge). Despite Pegg leading the pack, the rest of the principal players are simply captivating, each embracing their role, presenting the different aspects and flaws of adulthood, but also beautifully capturing the relationship of a group of friends that have known each other since High School. This is a feat that is rarely convincingly recreated on screen to such affect.
Up until now the Pegg and Frost dynamic has been fixed. Frost playing more the comedic role while Pegg sticking to playing the more responsible of the two. The Worlds End takes this formula and reverses it. This is a refreshing move and it works surprising well. Pegg although playing for laughs still manages to peel away the layers of his character to expose a tragic and broken man at his core. Frost plays the sensible voice of reason; the consequence of the film and his character keeps the movie anchored throughout its unconventional twists and turns.
As previously mentioned the punchy dialogue and the pool of talent on-screen really brings the film to life,however, it is when the film takes a turn down the path of absurdity in the second act that the film starts to un-stitch, losing sense of its initial premise – a man reluctantly facing middle age.
But this is a comedy and a Pegg, Wright, Frost comedy no less, where genre switching is all part of the fun, I hear you shout.
Yes, while this is true, here the transition between genres isn’t as seamless. The excellent work in establishing characters and the group’s relationship early on is nearly all but thrown out the window or forgotten about for large portions of the film to make way for prolonged, self indulgent action sequences that we have all seen many times before and that are all too common in a Frost, Pegg, Wright collaboration. By the time we reach the films conclusion you will ask yourself, what was all that about as we are presented with a tragically poor and overlong ending that feels much like an afterthought, tacked on out of nowhere.
Summary: With some great performances and hilarious dialogue The Worlds End is definitely worth a watch however, when it wanders into the Sci-Fi aspect of the film, things become lazy and repetitive.