The World’s End: A Q&A Review

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It’s ale vs aliens when a floundering, middle-aged alcoholic enlists his reluctant, all grown up former high school posse to finish their previously unsuccessful quest to conquer the notorious Golden Mile–a twelve-stop pub crawl that culminates with, well, The World’s End.

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Directed by:
Edgar Wright

Starring:
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman

BEST COMPARISON

17 Again (2009) meets The Big Chill (1983) meets Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1978) meets The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

DEFINING SCENE

A cowboy bar fight as if choreographed by Jackie Chan, but with a bunch of drunken Brits tearing up townsfolk.

LOW POINT

Giving Rosamund Pike nothing to do.

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THE Q&A

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around this Cornetto Trilogy–The World’s End being the final installment–What’s that all about?

Gather around and I’ll tell you a tale of career-long friendships, blood and ice cream, and high adventure.

Actually, just go here http://www.nerdsandnomsense.com/tech/thecornettotrilogy-pt1 for the gist. Or, if you’re just lazy I’ll sum it up for you by saying that all three films have Cornetto ice cream references that eventually birthed a few nicknames.

Oh, I see. What are the other two films in this dessert themed trilogy?

Shaun of the the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007).

Are they any good?

What?! Get off of this site and go watch both of those movies right now. I’ll wait.

Back. Now what’s this one about?

In addition to the summary above The World’s End is about the slow, steady homogenization of humanity, the over-abundance and over-reliance of tech, the soul-crushing monotony of the daily routine, and an Arthurian quest to wrest everlasting youth from the evil clutches of responsibility.

Did you say Arthurian quest?

A quartet of best mates with names like Andy Knightly (Frost), Peter Page (Eddie Marsan), and Steven Prince (Paddy Considine) set about their old stomping grounds to help their fallen former leader, Gary King (Pegg) conquer a series of pubs–all the way to the one called The World’s End. Where, as legend has it, he will drink from a golden chalice and rise again.

A bard’s tale. What’s the catch?

Once the group takes to drink it isn’t long before well-mannered mannequin-people start to make trouble for our heroes. Actually, it’s our heroes that make the trouble.

Mannequin-people? I thought this was a satire on alien invasion movies. Are they aliens?

Yes. Maybe.

Once the, let’s call them “robots” because it’s an ongoing joke in the movie, are revealed I’m still not quite sure what they are. But they represent conformity and that’s all we need to know in order to move on.

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Don’t want to give too much away?

Both Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, who wrote all three films together, are true to the craft film and literary nerds. They insert nothing into their work that doesn’t accompany a wink or a nod. So expect an onion of metacommentary that keeps on giving with every layer peeled back after subsequent revisits.

You’re hurting my head and I feel like I’ve just been brow beaten by a barista over String Theory. How does The World’s End compare to its predecessors?

The departure here is that Simon Pegg plays an unapologetic if not completely narcissistic man-child, a role usually assumed by the fluffier and more lovable Nick Frost. While it does work in the sense that Pegg gets to let his hair down, he’s much darker and almost unlikeable as this aged out, all piss and vinegar anarchist. And really, Nick Frost is less enjoyable as a stodgy, straight-laced businessman. Luckily, the muted chemistry of the duo left some room for the other players to be noticed, like Paddy Considine whose character, Steven Prince somewhat eclipses Frosts character with the unlikely hero-slash-lover role. It would have been a better fit for Simon Pegg, come to think of it.

Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were pretty gory. Should I wear a poncho to this?

Honestly, I went in expecting buckets of spewing green blood, exploding heads, gruesome disembowelments and the usual mistreatment of bodily fluids. The World’s End reins that in a little. I mean we still have all the violence and mutilation mentioned but it’s somehow less. Imagine a Nordstrom mannequin. Now fill it with blue paint. Now lop something off and knock it over. There you have it.

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Alright, I’ll clean that up later. Any naughty bits I should be aware of?

Just school girl outfits and crude innuendos.

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And what can we learn from watching the World’s End?

  • Real estate agents are can be easily replaced by someone with half a head and no one will care.
  • One day we will all be Starbucks-ized.
  • The more beer you drink, the more mixed martial arts you know.
  • When faced with a seemingly unbeatable enemy, talk it to death.

Did you like it and would you recommend seeing The World’s End?

Immensely–on both counts. The World’s End is a good final hurrah before the formula played itself out. The sets are beautiful, the brawl scenes are ridiculously over the top, and the witty banter keeps fans of this sort of stuff feeling right at home. I’ll likely see it again just to peel an onion layer or two.

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