Review - The World's End

The World's End (2013), R, 109 minutes - It took me a couple of tries but I was finally able to see the third installment in what has become known as the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy this past Friday night.  Many who are not already familiar with writer/director Edgar Wright's work and his previous collaborations with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost may wonder what on Earth the 'Cornetto Trilogy' even is.  This is a trilogy in the loosest sense of the term.  It isn't tied together by any direct continuity or character carry over, but it is connected in that all three films (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World's End) are directed by Wright, co-written by Pegg and Wright, star Pegg and Frost, and feature, for even the briefest of moments, a Cornetto ice cream snack.  They are all also tied together by similar themes.  I've absolutely loved everything I have seen from these three guys, especially their collaborations so I've been looking forward to this film more than others in recent weeks.

The World's End puts Simon Pegg in a bit of an unusual position - that of a character that's just plain hard to like.  He plays Gary King.  Gary's that one friend or acquaintance that everyone has who has never grown up.  He shirks any and all responsibility and goes about living life as though nothing has changed since high school.  The film opens as Gary tells a story to a support group about the time twenty years ago when he and his four best friends attempted to complete The Golden Mile (drinking a pint of beer at each of twelve pubs) but came up short.  Recalling the story lights a long dormant flame inside of him and he goes about tracking down, lying to and manipulating his old pals into returning home to Newton Haven and making another attempt at properly completing The Golden Mile.  Peter (Eddie Marsan), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Oliver (Martin Freeman) are all hesitant, but come around when Gary convinces them that Andy (Frost) will be joining them on this epic quest of alcohol consumption despite it being known that he no longer drinks.  In all actuality, Andy is the last friend that Gary convinces to join in on this rag-tag reunion.  He's also the one that is the most emotionally manipulated into participating.  The group returns home and begins their crawl, but something isn't quite right.  At first they think that it's just a case of the age old adage 'you can never go home again', but then things get really weird in the bathroom of one of the pubs mid-way through the crawl.  People in town have been replaced by robot versions of themselves.  How far does this go?  Is it only in Newton Haven or is it part of a larger invasion?  Do they make a big scene and let on that they now know what is going on or do they continue about their business and try and finish the crawl?  And what happens if they actually make it to The World's End (the final pub on The Golden Mile)?

It's a ridiculous and simple premise, but is executed well, just as one would expect from a Wright/Pegg/Frost collaboration.  Pegg is put out on a limb in his new role of stereotypical ass hole, but he plays the part well.  You may not like him, but he'll make you laugh more often than not.  I especially like Frost in this film, portrays Andy as finally standing up to Gary but still being loyal to a fault.  Marsan, Considine, Freeman, and Rosamund Pike (Oliver's sister Sam) flesh out the 'old crew' quite well, the group really does feel like they haven't seen each other in years.  The end of the film takes a bit of a turn that you really don't expect, and while I didn't really like it at the time, the more I think about it, the more I appreciate it ending that way.  As far as the overall 'trilogy' goes, The World's End is probably the weakest of the three, but that is not an indictment of this film, it just shows how strong Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were.  If you enjoy comedies with that British sense humor or have followed this trio's collaborations over the years, you'll be sure to be entertained by The World's End.  If you haven't seen either of the first two thirds of the 'Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy', don't worry each film stands on its own.












*****SPOILERS*****

- I loved that the Cornetto appearance in The World's End was just an empty Cornetto wrapper floating by in the breeze as Andy mentions 'barely remembering real food' in the post apocalyptic world.

- The first two pubs the group enters on their crawl are identical, which is clearly a joke within the movie...they also seemed to have a similar layout as The Winchester from Shaun of the Dead (at least the shot of the bar itself).  It's been a while since I've seen Shaun of the Dead, so I may just be trying to make a connection that isn't actually there.  But it would be cool if it was a nod to Shaun.

- If I had to rank the three installments of the 'Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy', I would rank them in the order in which they were released.  Shaun of the Dead was by far the most original of the three.  Hot Fuzz was an amazing homage/mockery of the buddy cop genre, and The World's End was great fun, but not quite as good as the first two in my opinion.

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