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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The World’s End – 9 GPPs

It had to come to an end somehow, but what an end! Yes ladies and gents, The Cornetto Trilogy is finally complete and Edgar Wright‘s ode to Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is currently gracing cinemas here in the UK.

I took my better half along for her birthday, and we were heartily laughing our asses off throughout. I’ve had a little time to contemplate the movie in general, so here’s my thoughts on The World’s End.

The World's End Header

Set in the small town of Newton Haven in southern England, The World’s End tells the story of five friends forced to relive their glory days by Gary King (Pegg), and finish the epic pub crawl they started when they were teenagers known as “The Golden Mile”. Upon returning to their home town they quickly work out that not everything is as it seems, and what was intended as a night of drink and debauchery turns into a fight for survival in a race to the final pub on the mile – The World’s End.

That’s a very brief synopsis for the film, but in all honesty The World’s End isn’t exactly complicated where it comes to story. That being said there is a bit more to it than that, with the individual character stories for “the five musketeers” lending some brief offshoots from the main narrative.

Now before I go any further, I’ll say that I’m going to discuss some small spoilers… however if you’ve seen any trailer for the film, then you can read on without fear of having anything ruined for you. If you’ve deliberately avoided trailers to keep everything as hush-hush as possible, then you should stop reading now… and if that’s the case, why were you reading this in the first place?

"We're going to see this through to the bitter end. Or... lager end."
“We’re going to see this through to the bitter end. Or… lager end.”

Anyway, spoilers are unfortunately one of the few downfalls of this movie – the marketing minds that decided to cut together the trailer(s) spoiled prettymuch the only twist in the film… and although it comes early on, I can’t help feeling that it would’ve been so much more fun if they’d have left the alien/robot aspect out of  it so that we could’ve been surprised.

As you see more and more of the antagonists of the movie, it’s obvious that it draws inspiration from Philip Kaufman‘s 1978 cult classic Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers  (rather than the 1956 Don Siegel original), from the screeching noise that they make, or the way they hold their hands up as they lunge at their prey. This is by no means a bad thing, as it’s clear that Edgar Wright knows his stuff, and still keeps the genre fresh and entertaining.

Just to be clear, it’s not just Wright’s directing that makes The World’s End a joy to watch – all the involved actors put in some awesome performances. Simon Pegg‘s burned-out slacker that refuses to grow up, and Nick Frost‘s over-serious and sombre  former friend (almost a total role reversal from Shaun of the Dead) bounce off each other nicely, but that’s standard fare for the Pegg/Frost combo. Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan make welcome additions to the cast, each with their quirky yet awkward mannerisms added to the cocktail, topped off with the brilliantly stoic and suave Paddy Considine. Throw in the cherry on top that is Rosamund Pike as the former love interest and you have all the ingredients required for drama, laughs, action, suspense and blatant stupidity.

However what I took the most glee in where seeing some of the old Spaced bunch thrown in for good measure. Mark Heap (who you may remember as Brian the artist “Anger… Pain… Fear… Aggression”) makes a brief, yet amusing appearance. And another short appearance is made by Pierce Brosnan, though I would’ve liked to have seen more from him.

What is obvious from the start with most of, if not all of Edgar Wright’s films with Pegg, Frost et al is that when we watch them it gives the impression that they had fun doing it. Almost like Wright and Pegg got on the phone to their mates and said “we want to make a movie and have a laugh doing it, are you in?” This is the prime reason I love the Cornetto films – they’re fun. Unashamed, uncomplicated, unbridled fun.

Visually the movie has some great eye candy and kept me on the edge of my seat – all the visual effects are top notch, but that’s not what I was most impressed, or surprised with. What really kept me with a retarded grin on my face was the fight choreography – it’s nothing short of masterful.

Andrew (Nick Frost) tools up to cave in some skulls
Andrew (Nick Frost) tools up to cave in some skulls

There’s a sequence inside a pub where Pegg’s Gary King is trying to finish off his pint while it’s being overrun with alien robots, and it was like watching Jackie Chan in Drunken Master. Gary ducks, weaves, kicks and punches all with a half-full glass in his hand that he’s trying to drink from every five seconds, and it’s hilarious.

The others aren’t spared from the awesomeness either, with Nick Frost kicking rather a lot of alien arse throughout the film, along with a great fight and chase scene with Pegg during the film’s final act.

Something else I really enjoyed about the film was the soundtrack, reminding me of when I was about 16 or so – Primal Scream, Happy Mondays, Soup Dragons and The Sisters of Mercy all add to the nostalgic feel to the film alongside the score that helps to accentuate the tension and action that is persistent throughout.

He's not gonna lose his keys at night is he?
He’s not gonna lose his keys at night is he?

Does the film have any problems at all? Well, not really. The plot is about as solid as you can make it where the idiocy of the principal characters is magnified by adding copious amounts of alcohol, but it’s still not perfect. For example – something you see in the trailer is the giant fifteen foot robot thing that walks around – this is never explained (but does it need to be?), but also it seems like a wasted resource on the aliens’ part as again it’s not used much.

The film’s final act ends up being really amusing, even after the end of the events in Newton Haven… in fact I think it would be quite interesting to see a sequel based on what is portrayed at the very end of the film (which I’ll obviously not spoil for you). 

Overall I found The World’s End to be incredibly entertaining – if you’re new to Edgar Wright’s work, then it’s a really fun film to watch in general. If you’re a veteran fan, then you’ll get so much more out of it with the little nods to previous films and the little cameos from familiar faces.

I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect film, and I think Shaun Of The Dead is still at the top of my favourites list in terms of the Cornetto trilogy. However it’s definitely a worthy addition, and a fitting end to what’s been a great series of some of the best satirical comedies of recent years. It’s definitely up there with my top movies of the year so far.

 Go and watch it now. Thank me later.


James Buckingham
James Buckinghamhttps://www.geek-pride.co.uk
Movie and videogame geek, basketball player, guitarist, waffle connoisseur & expert in being a slacking bastard. You'll find me gaming on PS4 as "SpasmicPuppy" most of the time... I'm addicted to Destiny.

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