Edgar Wright is known for a very unique kind of humor that involves a lot of swearing, irony, satire, references and British-ness, and it can be somewhat of an acquired taste. The acclaimed writer-director of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” has been working on “The World’s End” for several years, and fans have been waiting with baited breath.
Thankfully, the movie does not disappoint, proving to be just as hilarious, heart-warming, unique and downright enjoyable as the previous two movies in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy.
“The World’s End” follows a group of childhood friends (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan) who reunite to finally complete a legendary pub crawl but find their old town to be invaded by alien robots. Obviously, the story is ridiculous, but in the best possible way. The movie strikes a perfect balance between being a parody of and homage to the sci-fi, dystopia and post-apocalyptic genres, and the rural English setting.
The script is extremely well written, with fast-paced, punchy dialogue and really great jokes. If you didn’t appreciate the humor in “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” then “The World’s End” won’t change your mind, but if you’re a fan of Edgar Wright, there is a lot to love and laugh at. A lot of the best jokes aren’t in the trailers either, which is always nice.
However, just like the previous movies, underneath all of the humor is real heart. The satirical tone is never dropped, but there are some really effective and suitably over-the-top emotional scenes, particularly between Pegg’s and Frost’s characters.
Furthermore, all of the cast give fantastic performances –- the banter between them is hilarious and their comic timing is absolutely spot on. Watching these guys get progressively more drunk is priceless. Rosamund Pike, as the only significant female character in the movie, also handles things well (although she does look a bit silly in the fight scenes).
Edgar Wright is one of the most distinct and creative visual directors working today, and “The World’s End” furthers his love of fast cuts, edit repetition, funny musical montages and inventive use of effects. There is definitely a lot more CGI in this movie than in the other Cornetto films, and although it does look a bit goofy at times, that just adds to the charm.
It’s clear that Wright has taken his experience directing “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” to heart, because the fight scenes in “The World’s End” are far more fast-paced, well-choreographed and hilarious than ever. The score, composed by Steven Price, is excellent, and there is a great collection of songs in the soundtrack too.
And just wait until you see the Cornetto reference. It’s a doozy.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Unfortunately, “The World’s End” doesn’t feel quite as British as “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” The increased amount of CGI and Hollywood influence (as a result of Wright’s work on “Scott Pilgrim”) take away a bit of the idiosyncrasy.
Some of the cast are also a bit underused –- Eddie Marsen, Paddie Consadine and Rosamund Pike could all have done with some more screen time, but the real tragedy is Martin Freeman, who isn’t featured anywhere near enough.
The ending, while really cool, is a tad sudden, and it would have been nice to have a bit more of a final conclusion — not so much for “The World’s End” itself but for the Cornetto trilogy as a whole. It’s good that the film feels very standalone, like the others, and obviously in terms of characters and plot they are all totally unrelated, but there could have been a better resolution that wrapped up the thematic arcs from the whole trilogy.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE
Released by Universal, “The World’s End” was directed by Edgar Wright from a screenplay by Wright and Simon Pegg. It was produced by Nira Park, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. It stars Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike.