The Review: (SPOILER FREE) – First Shaun, then Hot Fuzz, now The World’s End – ye, finally, the nine-years-in-the-making “Cornetto” trilogy pants, puffs and collapses at the finishing line with this comedy about a bunch of mates who reunite via their goofy, oddball (and rather annoying) friend Gary King, played by – who else? – Simon Pegg.
Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan make up the other friends who join this reinvigorated pub crawl of 12 pubs, 12 pints, which culminates at the fittingly-title “The World’s End”. In much the same way as Shaun did, the title proves to be all-too literal as the boys stumble across an alien invasion to sort of take over the world.
Here be aliens, and here be the problem. The aliens ruin an otherwise perfectly funny, campy buddy/drinking UK romp. It takes a while for the cogs of the inventive-free alien wheels to grind up, but at least for the first forty minutes, there’s a decent and funny enough film in here beginning to be rescued during its second half. Some well-observed, genuinely funny and heartfelt moments we can all relate to: the second pub being a clone of the first, and a nice touch having a flashback to the good ol’ days (with five youngsters representing our famous five leads). I especially enjoyed the little observations, all deeply-rooted in reality. But there will come a point where reality – and any promise of an excellent movie – is quickly substituted with blind silliness.
I think Edgar Wright may well have lost the plot, both figuratively and literally. Do British filmmakers these days not have the courage of their convictions to see a relatively nice idea through, without feeling the need to involve monsters and/or aliens? I can’t envisage The World’s End being a smash hit Stateside or anywhere-else-for-that-matter-side, but in the UK at least we have not had a decent pub crawl movie (I don’t think) to call our own. The World’s End just totally collapses when the stupid aliens appear; and to make matters even more irritating, and sink-into-your-seat-inducing bad, there’s no real rules to play by. They seem to be an ultimate force for good, without saying too much – but then why do they have action-man attachments, and spill blue blood? Blue blood?! A metaphor for political allegiance, perhaps? Nah, it’s blue to avoid red, so it can sneak a “15″ certificate past the BBFC, says the cynic who’s thoroughly put-out inside my head.
Pegg very obviously have range in his performance capabilities. I enjoyed him more in – well, anything else, even Guest House Paradiso – than I did here. He’s not especially likeable. Frost emerges unscathed, and Marsan can act his way out of an admission to murder, but the same can’t be said for Considine and Freeman who are just cold and deeply unfunny.
It starts off well enough, and becomes tiresome in the middle. I dozed off a couple of times during the fight scenes – but nothing prepared me for THAT ending, although I should well have guessed. Shaun obviously makes no bones about its inspiration from early horrors. Less so for Hot Fuzz when it went all Wicker Man on us. The World’s End pulls a similar stunt, but the idea is flawed with no real room for development – and the post script to this utterly tedious and messy endeavour left me thinking “Ohhhhh for feck’s sake!”.
So, it is with regret that I inform you that The World’s End is by far the worst of the trilogy, and could even pop up in my ten worst of 2013. That is, unless, Uwe Boll or Anthony Minghella are planning on releasing a film this year.
Yeah, I know, Anthony Minghella is dead and can’t make any more movies. Well, at least that factual reminder has lightened my mood a bit after this disappointing and messy, wet-fart of a swan song.
Reviewed By: Andrew MacKay
THE WORLDS END is out at Cinemas now. Join the debate on our Facebook group… http://www.facebook.com/groups/filmsploitationpodcast/