The World’s End

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Similar to their previous collaborations with director Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”), “The World’s End” features Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as friends coming to the realization that they’re surrounded by hostile forces. This time out it’s robots, who have taken over the town where they and their friends went to school together.

“The World’s End” feels a bit scattershot at times, but fans will consider it part of its “charm”. It’s a film that has a bit of bittersweet nostalgia for misspent youth, a bit of railing against the conformity of the world, and plenty of sequences where middle aged men kick robotic ass.

Gary King (Simon Pegg) is a ne’er do well who never grew up. Though he’s in his early 40s now, he still drinks and carouses as if he were in college. After landing himself in therapy, he counters by recruiting his old friends to re-enact a legendary night of drinking with him. One by one he convinces Andy (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Peter (Eddie Marsan) to come back out with him and try to complete “The Golden Mile”, a pub crawl that consists of twelve different pubs, culminating at “The World’s End”. The five of them attempted the Golden Mile in their youth, but never completed it. Now Gary argues, it’s the perfect excuse for an “old time’s sake” reunion.

What they don’t realize though, is that since they’ve been gone, alien invaders have replaced the residents of the town with robots. The discover this when Gary winds up in a fistfight in a bathroom, and he knocks his opponent’s head off. Now that Gary and his friends know the truth, the invaders consider them a threat. If they can’t be convinced to voluntarily get replaced by robots, they’ll have to be eliminated. The five of them are forced to fight and run for their lives.

Only, Gary still wants to make it to the World’s End and finish the Golden Mile.

As in the prior collaborations in the “Cornetto trilogy”, the events of the film are a thinly disguised satire of society. This time, in particular, the focus is on the conformity that comes along with maturity and responsibility. While Gary is obviously stunted in his growth, the social standardization that the others in the group seem to have become comfortable with is put under attack when illustrated in the extreme by the robotic replacements. Wright even lambasts the cookie cutter “Starbucks-ization” that seems to be standardizing the world’s pubs (and restaurants). Although never completely justified, Gary’s brand of individualism is given a victory by the film’s end, when it’s shown to be the perfect antidote for the onslaught of robotic conformity.

Even though it hops around in tone – at one moment it’s a dramedy revolving around five friends that age and responsibility have forced apart, the next it’s a quasi-sci-fi actioner – “World’s End” is still fun and charming. Pegg and Frost are charismatic and likeable as always, and the script contains some genuinely witty conversations. There’s a part of me that wishes this film had played it more traditionally and given us a film JUST about five friends who reunite for a pub crawl who then work through their issues together (that element of the film was very well done), but even given the robotic invasion concept, it was still very entertaining, albeit in a more lighthearted way.

“The World’s End” is a humorous movie with a bit to say about society and maturity, with a helping of light action thrown in for good measure. It’s sure to appeal to fans of the prior offerings from this trio, and to make some new fans along the way.

A-

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34 thoughts on “The World’s End

    • Damn you dude! LOL How do you always beat me to comment on a review? :D I am literally on your blog right now cause I was like, I’m gonna comment on Dan’s review before he gets to mine! LOL

      Anyways, we agree, which is nice. ;)

  1. Looking at the trailers, I was always disappointed with the idea of the robots, as I thought that just a movie about the pub crawl and the differences in the life paths these friends took would be a good enough movie. But if what you say about the conformity metaphor is true, now I am intrigued.

    • It’s not the world’s greatest film allegory or anything, but you know how these Edgar Wright films are… so, this is no exception.

      I wish they had stuck to the straight pub crawl now more than ever, actually, because that part of the movie was really funny and involving for me. The rest of it was fun enough, though.

  2. Nice review. I saw this on Friday and my review should be up on Monday. I think Shaun of the Dead is the funniest of the three, but I think this might be the best and most mature. I didn’t really mind the switch in tone and felt the movie’s emotional core was consistent.

    • Shaun is probably still the best in my book, no doubt. But I’m a big zombie fan, too. ;)

      I was pretty jarred by the shift in gears though between the pub crawl and robot invasion elements. They slammed on the brakes pretty hard there I thought, CK.

  3. Do any of you know the meaning of the word “robot”? Heh.

    Just saw this last night and posted about it in the morning.

    I more or less agree with you. It was a pretty good movie. I didn’t quite put it on par with the prior two releases, but still, I think it was a lot of fun, and will certainly be re-watchable.

    Wonder how Mr. Wright will do with Ant-Man.

    • I’m hoping he kicks ass with it, though I’m definitely hoping he keeps the humor in check. I don’t want to see it becoming a comedy/mockery just because he’s ant man. I saw some footage at Comic-Con last year and they made Ant Man kick ass, as hard as that is to believe. So I’m definitely hoping they carry that all the way through!

  4. This is my favorite film of the summer. Not the best (That still goes to The Way Way Back) but the most entertaining. I felt about it the way you did about “This is the End”. For the sake of simplicity, I will have to stand up for a few days because I laughed my ass off and it is still lost somewhere on the floor of the theater. Film making mattered less to me in this case because it serviced all of my entertainment desires.

  5. Pingback: A Filmster Quickie: The World’s End | The Filmster

      • From what I remember, it was actually intended to be a comedic adaptation originally. Of course, “originally” was something like ten years ago this point, so my information could easily be out of date.

  6. Sounds like an amusing comedy. I still need to check out something by these guys… not only have I not seen any of the so-called “Cornetto Trilogy” (what’s a Cornetto?) but I haven’t seen anything with Pegg and/or Frost at all.

    • I thought it was supposed to be a name for the type of ice cream with the three flavors in it, you know the vanilla, chocolate, strawberry… but I could be wrong. Don’t quote me. LOL

      Shaun of the Dead is probably the place to start, but be forewarned, I think that one is a tad overrated. Still great, but you hear people mention it like its the second coming and whatnot :roll:

      • That’s Neapolitan. Looking it up, apparently a Cornetto is a brand of sundae cone (like Drumstick), and comes in three different flavors. So you were close.

        Yeah, I know how people get on things like that. I’ll be keeping my expectations in check.

  7. Really enjoyed this one, but it’s nowhere near as strong as Hot Fuzz or even Shaun at that. Hot Fuzz got the balance right of a solid story, silly action and some great characters. The World’s End just felt like they were having fun and going out with a bang. Which is fine. But was expecting and wanting more…

    • Sorry to hear you were disappointed. I kind of came at it from the opposite direction, I went in not expecting anything and left pleasantly surprised. They definitely did feel like they were just having some fun with it though…

      I did really like Gary’s speech though at the end. LOL :D

  8. I enjoyed this–very quotable–“Let’s Booboo!” and loads of fun. LOL. Not as fantastic as the first two–in my opinion–but still a solid outing. The dialogue was crisp and snappy and these guys have incredible chemistry. And well, the robot invasion was necessary though–as with the others there is always something “bigger” going on around their own drama.

    My only problem was the last few minutes–it ended perfectly at the top of the hill looking down (nice closed circle) but the film kept going! NOOOO! The epilogue was completely weird. I liked some of the tied ends, but overall was not feeling it. In my mind it ends on the hill top. :D

    Later!

    • “the robot invasion was necessary though–as with the others there is always something “bigger” going on around their own drama” That’s true, having something “bigger” going on is in keeping with the prior two films… I don’t know how necessary it is though, lots of films get made without that sort of angle ;)

      The epilogue was a little strange, for sure. Fun though. I liked where they put Gary. That was fun. Maybe they really did want it to be “The World’s End” 8O

  9. Great review Fogs, sorry we don’t see eye to eye on this one which is a shame as you know I love all things British and I adore this cast. That whole message of “Starbucks-ization” and rising above the cookie-cutter robotic stuff was kinda lost on me as I was hoping for more laughs from this one, ahah.

    • Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from, but I think that that’s par for the course in these Edgar Wright movies. I didn’t think either of the other two were gut bustingly funny, either, so I was prepared for this. It came in right about where I expected!

  10. Good review. As a big fan of British comedy and Simon Pegg, I was really looking forward to this one, and I had a lot of fun with it. :) I found I didn’t really mind the shifts in tone, and I thought the robots added to the film’s sense of quirky fun. In some ways, the movie kind of reminded me of a “Doctor Who” episode.

  11. Great review! I recently reviewed the trilogy all together after watching Hot Fuzz & The World’s End on the same night. Glad I did – it’s kind of made me appreciate all three even more (though Shaun is still the best). I liked The World’s End second most & it’s grown on me even more since seeing it (ages ago in the UK). ;-) Wasn’t sure what the US reaction would be but it seems to be positive. Glad you enjoyed it!

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