The World’s End Review

Posted: August 28, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

TWE_1SHT_TEASERS.inddWritten by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

Every so often I find myself in a conversation about how comedies sure have gone downhill recently and how the glory days of the genre are over. There’s a lot of great talent I use to counter-act this argument with one of the best examples being director Edgar Wright. With Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Wright made some of the funniest and smartest comedies around. These films were collaborations with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and the trio seemed to be able to do no wrong. However the cracks began to show when the three did work away from each other. I wasn’t a fan of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which I found to be heavy in style but light on substance. Still, the film was certainly better than Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s geek stroke fest Paul. Neither of these films are horrible, but they’re nowhere near as good as the work the team does together. Like many people, I just wanted to see the gang come back together for a film. That film is here and it’s called The World’s End.

Back in high school, Gary King was top dog. He was a leader, had great times, and great friends. Flash forward to the present and Gary (Simon Pegg) is an alcoholic who clearly has not grown since high school. He has a goal though; to return to his home town and complete a pub crawl entitled “The Golden Mile”. Gary goes to his old friends hoping they’ll join him. Despite all having their own lives, the group (Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsen) reluctantly agree. Little do they know their old town has been infested by robots.

Like all comedies, the most important question is, “is it funny?” The short answer is a definite yes. The more detailed version is that it actually takes a bit for the film to really get going. That’s not to say the beginning is bad or unfunny, but it isn’t the laugh riot you’d expect. However once the film picks up, the laughs become pretty big and there’s rarely a dip in funny material. The humour comes from a lot of great dialogue as well as great banter from the cast. Edgar Wright also crafts some hysterical visual gags and clearly hasn’t lost his touch. What I probably love the most about the humour is the balance between the big comedy set-pieces and the more subtle jokes.

A big part of the film’s success relies on the cast. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are back in the leads, but are thankfully playing very different roles than the ones they did in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The two are still as funny as ever and have great chemistry, both for the comedic moments as well as the dramatic ones. Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsen also add to the mix nicely and fit right in. Pierce Brosnan also has a fun cameo as does David Bradley. All of these actors are very funny and I like the entire cast.

Stylistically, Edgar Wright hasn’t changed much as a filmmaker, but this is a good thing. The fact is Wright has a great style which accentuates the films he makes rather than distracts. He makes a lot of cool decisions here, such as shooting the opening high school scenes in 16mm film. Wright also gives the film an appropriate and cool soundtrack which is a lot of fun. His rabid-fire editing has also returned and while the action scenes here aren’t as good as the best moments from Hot Fuzz, they are fun and creative. And as mentioned early, as visual gags are awesome.

As much as I like the film, I do have some issues. At times, the tone can get a little messy. This is a film which is a straight up comedy, an alien invasion movie, a satire of conformity, and a coming of age story all at once and the balance isn’t always perfect. The coming of age part feels especially neglected and what little is there really isn’t where the film is most creative. I also found the film played it fast and loose when it came to how the robots powers actually work and how powerful they are varied based on what the plot needed. Worst of all though is the film’s ending which, while unique, doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of the film.

Overall, The World’s End is a very enjoyable film with great performances, great direction, and a lot of laughs. It isn’t as smart as Shaun of the Dead and it isn’t as consistently hilarious as Hot Fuzz, but it is a worthy end to the “Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy”. Besides, for all the film’s problems when The World’s End is at its best it’s fucking hysterical and one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen all year.

A-

Comments
  1. Glad you liked it! I ♥ Simon Pegg so am happy it’s “funny”. Can’t wait to watch it.

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