Synopsis: Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike
Director: Edgar Wright
Running Length: 109 minutes
Trailer Review: Here
TMMM Score: (8.5/10)
Review: This summer has seen a lot of super heroes pass by the silver screens of your local cinema. May started the season strong with Iron Man 3 only to see a very small part of my future hopes get dashed with a disappointing Man of Steel in June. I liked July’s The Wolverine more than most but was wondering what would be the highlight of August. Turns out that the true blue superheroes of the summer arrived in the second to last weekend…and they weren’t even wearing fancy costumes.
Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Star Trek: Into Darkness) and Nick Frost (Snow White and the Huntsman) lead the cast of The World’s End, the final installment of the The Cornetto Trilogy (each film is connected to a flavor of Cornetto ice cream) after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Though in all three films Pegg and Frost play different characters, there are running gags in each that the dedicated viewer will pick up on easily…The World’s End being no exception. Once again working with director Edgar Wright, the trio has wrapped up their trilogy on the highest of high notes. It’s a fast, funny, incredibly entertaining film that plays to the strengths of everyone involved.
As the boozy mid-life loser who can’t get his life together, Pegg decides that returning to his hometown and completing a failed pub crawl from 20 years prior with his four best mates will somehow jump start the next chapter in his life. Trouble is that he hasn’t been home in years and his chums want nothing to do with him. Rounding them up isn’t easy but it is funny as Pegg frantically lies and cheats to get the men together. Arriving in their small English hamlet, it appears that the tiny town hasn’t changed a bit. We as viewers can see that the idyllic (and idyllically named) Newton Haven isn’t quite right, but the men waste no time in kicking off their journey from pub to pub on their way to the final destination…The World’s End.
The film is economic as it unspools, with nary a frame wasted or line thrown away. In fact, the jokes come so fast and furious that a second or third viewing is nearly required to make sure you catch all that Wright and Pegg have weaved into their tight script. Even the clever pub names like The Old Familiar, The Famous Cock, The Two-Headed Dog, and The Beehive get some laugh mileage due to the simplicity in which they are delivered.
The film is more similar to Hot Fuzz than Shaun of the Dead, though all three films involve Pegg and Frost stumbling into (sometimes literally) the heart of a sinister plot. Like Hot Fuzz, the first half of the film is a strong set-up to a sharp left turn at the halfway mark that Pegg and Wright already have you buckled up for.
While the previews have given away/hinted at what’s really going on in Newton Haven, I won’t spoil more details because that’s for you to uncover for yourselves. Even though this plot twist midway through figures heavily into the remaining minutes of the film, it carefully remains a secondary storyline to the main narrative of Pegg’s journey from aimless drunkard to heroic figure. Starting off nearly unredeemable in his service to self, it says something that the script makes the character not only likeable but relatable by the end credits.
Aside from Pegg and Frost, there’s a whole troop of fantastic actors that fill in the rest of the sharply written roles. As the three other members of the group, Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Paddy Considine (In America), and Eddie Marsan (Jack the Giant Slayer) each offer a distinctive flavor to the parts they are undertaking. Even better is that Pegg and Wright have given all five men enough backstory to help us tune in to these men without much exposition. As the only notable female, Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day, Jack Reacher) mixes well but just happens to be the least interesting character in the group…there’s always one.
As the film with the biggest budget of the trilogy, The World’s End has an excellent production design by Marcus Rowland that’s filmed well by Bill Pope (Men in Black III). Add to that impressive special effects that don’t get in the way of the action or comedy and Wright’s trademark stylish directing choices and you have a film that feels like the full package of move entertainment. Easily (and strongly) recommended…especially if you’ve enjoyed the previous films.