Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Paddy Considine
The dreamteam that is writer/director Edgar Wright and actors/real-life-BBFs Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is finally reunited for a much-anticipated third outing with The World’s End, the final film in their so-called “Cornetto Trilogy”. After the unprecedented success of their first collaboration in 2003 with the now cult classic zombie-rom-com Shaun of the Dead, the team partnered up again in 2007 for the bizzaro buddy-cop flick Hot Fuzz.
After a string of other work commitments – most notably Wright’s directorial work on Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and Pegg/Frost’s sci-fi road trip flick Paul – it’s certainly nice to have the band back together after all these years.
Although the team are now close to middle age, their latest offering still embraces youthful foolishness, but is perhaps comprised of a deeper and more emotive feeling than their first two efforts.
The film centres on Gary Knight (played with devilish charisma by Pegg), a recovering alcoholic loser whose life peaked in highschool and has never wanted to grow up. Facing a crisis of self-doubt, Gary decides to contact his old school friends Andy (Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and Oliver (Martin Freeman) who have all moved on with their lives after highschool. Somehow he convinces them all to return to their sleepy hometown of Newton Haven in order to finish the 12-stop Golden Mile pub-crawl they failed to complete 20 years ago as teens.
However, once the group arrives in Newton Haven, they find that things aren’t quite like they remember, and they soon discover why. Quite bluntly, almost all the residents of the village have been replaced by blue-blooded robots called “Blanks”. The friends come to the conclusion that in order to escape the town, they must finish the epic pub-crawl so the “Blanks” don’t suspect anything. Of course that’s what you’d do, knock back a few pints and wait for the whole thing to blow over.
Fans of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz need not to worry, The World’s End is just as charming, delightful and bat-shit crazy as its predecessors. The characters are all lovable, there are quirky running jokes to be had and geeky film references galore. There are certainly some poignant moments in the film, as the friends reminisce about their youth and question their futures; but for the film’s majority, the main tone is set at laugh-out-loud, pitch-black British comedy.
Edgar Wright’s directing is, as always, full of energy and wit. The use of rapid quick cuts is still a thrilling filmic device, and will always be a signature for Wright along with his comic book like approach to a story, a rocking 90s Brit-pop soundtrack and the wonderful British charm that runs through all his films.
Although its apocalyptically huge ending does go a little off the rails into the domain of the absolute impossible, The World’s End is definitely not a film taking itself too seriously, and neither should we. It’s the perfect escape to the end of the world that could be offered by Wright, Pegg and Frost, and hopefully not the last time the band gets back together.