Review: The World’s End

Poster for 2013 comedy film The World's End

Genre: Comedy
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 19th July 2013
Runtime: 109 minutes
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike
Synopsis: A man’s attempt to recreate a pub crawl from his youth go awry as his small town is overrun by robot replicants.

 

 

After the wonderful Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, anticipation for the final part of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy could not have been higher. Both of the two previous films are modern comedy classics and, based on the evidence of a first viewing, The World’s End is set to join them.

Gary King (Simon Pegg) is struggling to adapt to middle age. Still living in his teens, he assembles his childhood friends to complete a pub crawl they failed as a child, including the now teetotal Andrew (Nick Frost). Friction arises between Gary and Steven (Paddy Considine) when Oliver’s (Martin Freeman) attractive sister Sam (Rosamund Pike) appears during the evening and Peter (Eddie Marsan) must deal with an old school bully.

Domestic drama is soon put to one side though when it becomes clear that the residents of the town have been replaced by robot replacements with ink-like blue blood.

From the very start of The World’s End, it’s obvious that the winning writing duo of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg were on top form when they penned this script. From start to finish, it is full of wry observations on modern life, hilarious visual gags and a fine line in rather awful puns. In terms of pure jokes, this is the best of the Cornetto films.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite have the dramatic core of Shaun and Fuzz, but The World’s End does have enough emotional moments to ensure that the audience cares about the characters and wants them to survive.

Perhaps the primary benefit of The World’s End is Simon Pegg playing against type. Used to being the straight man to Nick Frost’s loser, Pegg is in his element here as a character who is nothing short of a douchebag.

Surrounded by the greatest British comedy talent (Wright borrows Ben Wheatley regulars Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley and Steve Oram), Pegg and Frost are on top form. The latter gets all of the best fight scenes, but both Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan get the best laughs. A potty-mouthed vocal cameo from Bill Nighy is also one of The World’s End’s surprise highlights.

Borrowing from films such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and John Carpenter’s version of The Thing, this is a film that borrows from the best in sci-fi and horror. Much like previous Cornetto films, The World’s End is a cine-literate delight that shows a deep reverence and adoration for film. Its ending is wonderfully muddled in the way that many apocalypse movies tend to be, but manages to squeeze in enough gags and self-reflexive humour that no-one notices.

It’s unclear whether the Pegg/Frost/Wright trio will make another movie after the success of the Cornetto films. But, if this proves to be the final hurrah of the Spaced team, then it’s a bloody good one. It could well be the best film of the year.

How’s that for a slice of fried gold?

10/10

 

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