Review: 'The World's End'

‘The World’s End’ is the final installment in the “Three Flavors Cornetto” trilogy which began with ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and offered ‘Hot Fuzz’ as its other flavor. ‘The World’s End’ starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost opened Friday, August 23 nationwide.

‘The World’s End’ reunites Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for their fourth big-screen pairing. ‘The World’s End’ is the name of a pub at the end of a “golden mile” strewn with eleven other pubs which Gary King (Pegg) and four of his pals tried but failed to conquer in their youth. The challenge was to down one pint of beer at each pub, ending with a twelfth pint at ‘The World’s End.’

Gary has a serious case of arrested development, and in a desperate attempt to recapture some of the “magic” of his youth, rounds up his former mates to attempt to successfully complete the challenge. Now in their late thirties or early forties, Gary’s pals have all moved on with their lives but ultimately succumb to Gary’s “charms” and accompany him in his quest.

Early on in their journey, the five old buddies discover that something’s not quite right with the citizens from their old hometown. Gary, Andy (Nick Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Peter (Eddie Marsan), and Oliver (Martin Freeman) quickly learn that their childhood hometown has been taken over by robots. Well, sort of, but let’s just stick with robots.

‘The World’s End’ is a very funny, highly profane Sci-Fi homage that, although silly and frivolous, manages to be solidly entertaining due in large part to the charms of its principal cast and witty screenplay.

Those who will choose to read too much into ‘The World’s End’ will wax poetically about director Edgar Wright’s film being a metaphor for the fear of growing old. And some symbolism is sure to be found in reluctant almost-middle-age heroes fighting the pressures to fit in to a drone-like, colorless existence.

To which I would add, “Bullshit.”

Those motifs are obvious. Looking for deep meaning in ‘The World’s End’ is like looking for life lessons in an episode of ‘Benny Hill.’ Yes, it’s in there, but with Edgar Wright behind the camera the metaphors serve as a framework for the fun and mayhem. The comedy and chaos don’t mask any deeper meaning.

Wright loves the genres that he has lovingly parodied, and that’s obvious in ‘The World’s End’ just as it was in his previous two “Cornetto Trilogy” films. The jokes are fast and furious, and erupt from his characters in a natural way. There are some fun action and Sci-Fi elements to the story, but it is an homage; a pastiche of various movies and television shows where things “aren’t quite what they seem.”

Pegg and Frost have a terrific chemistry, as usual, but Pegg’s having all of the fun in this one. His Gary King is so pathologically unhinged that he truly gets to show his comedic talents from beginning to end.

‘The World’s End’ : ★★★1/2☆☆  for a fun send-up of Sci-Fi movies. Charming and witty. Great Soundtrack.

* The “Three Flavors Cornetto” explained by clicking here.

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