The World’s End Review
Trilogies are well known to be one of the hardest cinematic feats to pull off well. The reasons for this range greatly, but there is an unmistakable challenge to making a set of three films, all independently good, and collectively cohesive. The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy has long stood out to me as a prime example of trilogy done well. Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz are two movies that I have many times watched and enjoyed, and could not find any significant faults with them. It was a long wait for The World’s End to finally come out, but I knew I had to see the trilogy completed.
WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Starting things off, we’ll take a look at our main characters. Simon Pegg plays Gary King, a trench coat wearing, drugged out alcoholic who is mentally stuck in high school and is without any number of continuing friends or any purpose in life. Despite his pathetic nature, he is a very entertaining comedic oddball whose personality and actions are comparable to a terrifying mash-up of Jack Sparrow and Orihara Izaya. Nick Frost plays Andy Knightley, the straight man of the classic comedy duo. He plays the role well with a bitter, serious tone and the mysterious “accident” constantly showing signs on his actions. The other three in the group seem to be fairly well off. Oliver (Martin Freeman) as a real estate agent, Peter (Eddie Marsan) at his father’s car dealership and Steven (Paddy Considine) having found some sort of business success and having an attractive fitness instructor that is also down for the sex.
The plot takes off when Gary, fresh out of rehab, decides the group needs to settle their old score and finish The Golden Mile, a legendary pub crawl which they had failed in their youth. While most of the group joins with little hesitation, Gary finds a challenge in getting Andy on board. Through the lie that his mother died, which is clearly a lie and clearly going to bite him in the ass later, he gets Andy along for the ride. For a chunk of the movie it becomes very easy to forget that you’re watching an alien invasion movie. I say this not as a fault, but as a great praise of the film. There is such an interesting story around the characters in the early parts of the movie, that the idea of the aliens seems far off and unneeded. But, inevitably, the shit hits the fan quite hard, in a bathroom pub brawl between drunken idiots and robotic teens. It’s at this point that my first major issue of the film pops up. It seems that when filming the fight scenes, Edgar Wright handed the camera to the guy who shot The Hunger Games. The shaking camera was so bad that while watching the movie in a theater, following the action sometimes proved quite difficult.
The comedy in this film strikes perfectly. Many times I found myself laughing obnoxiously and loudly in a theater with few enough people that I could be heard but just enough that it was awkward. Not only did the jokes go off well, but the physical comedy was handled incredibly. I’m not a fan of slapstick comedy, so making me laugh at a guy getting hurt generally involves doing something unexpected. This film manages to do just that at every turn. As for the linking jokes between this and the other two films in the trilogy, they were few enough and handled in such a way that they were still fresh, funny, and fitting with the story. There is, however one issue rising out of this; the separation of action and comedy. In Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz the action scenes were interwoven with the trilogy’s brand of humor. From the zombie fight scene choreographed to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen to the over the top shootout with nice elderly people, the action scenes were generally off in some way that made them funny to watch. In The World’s End this is not the case as much. It’s more scenes of comedy inter cut with scenes of action with an occasional bit of overlap. While I can hardly fault this film for differing from its predecessors, it seems this was one aspect that should have carried over.
While being piss your pants hilarious, The World’s End had something different that I found set it apart from the other two films of the trilogy. While Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz both managed to have some serious, dramatic scenes in them, none of them seemed to compare to the level that is reached in The World’s End. These scenes come entirely back to Gary and the absolute fucking train wreck that is his life. This issue finds multiple ways to surface, and as more is seen of Gary and why he is the way he is, the more heartbreaking it becomes. Andy’s reveal of what the Accident was, what lead up to it, and how much it fucked up his life is an intense scene, and no other moment in the trilogy so far has been as emotionally effective as when Gary reaches The World’s End and confronts what his life is now. It really speaks to the writing in this film that a character aspect that is primarily used for comedic payoff can so easily flow into the most dramatic moments of the entire trilogy.
I don’t want to completely give away the ending, so I’ll keep my point on it vague. It is unexpected. It doesn’t follow the formulas of other films including the first two in the series, and it is an odd ending even in the context of the film’s story. With this movie finishing off the trilogy so well, I’m naming The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy as my favorite trilogy. Suck on THAT George Lucas!
Piss your pants funny and surprisingly dramatic, the action only suffered slightly for the end of this awesome trilogy.