It’s almost as if I shouldn’t have to write this, because there’s so little I can say that isn’t essentially obvious:
The World’s End is amazing and you should go see it right now. But chances are you already knew that. So without ado, here is my review of The World’s End.
For those of you who have been following along at home, The World’s End marks the third and final film in the so-called Cornetto Trilogy, a series of films involving the collaborations of director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The three had previously worked together on the TV show Spaced, and their first film venture together was 2004′s shockingly hilarious Shaun of the Dead. This film got a lot of things right, it would be known thereafter as a pitch-perfect genre film, a simultaneous send up to Romero and a romantic comedy, all at the same time.
They followed up with 2007′s Hot Fuzz, which does for the buddy-cop genre what Shaun of the Dead did for zombie films. The same directorial and cinematographic flair (along with the proven-hilarious duo of Pegg and Frost) was at work, as the trio proved that they were more than just a one-trick pony. Around this time the series got its name, The Three Flavours Cornetto, due to each of the first two having a different flavor of cornetto ice cream. Red for blood, blue for police, and then, finally, green for aliens.
It’s been a long wait for The World’s End, made all the longer knowing that this is to be the final part of the trilogy. Was the wait worth it? Well, yes, there’s no doubting that.
The Cornetto Trilogy has always been defined by its collaborators, and in the nearly ten years since they’ve appeared on the scene, they have all proven themselves to be exceptional talent. The question on everyone’s mind, therefor, was how would they carry this hat-trick? What angle would they take for this one? And that’s where things get interesting.
The World’s End, like the two films that precede it, has a plot, and then has a plot. Shaun of the Dead is about a man who desperately needs to take control of his life in order to win back his girlfriend. It’s also about surviving the zombie apocalypse. Hot Fuzz is about two police officers from disparate backgrounds learning to work together and trust each other as partners. It’s also about a creepy murder conspiracy created by a small-town cult in order to continue winning the ‘Village of the Year’ award.
The World’s End, therefore, is about reliving an epic pub crawl, the disappointments and triumphs of growing old and returning to the town that you grew up in. It’s about how damaging it can be to live your life in the past, instead of focusing on where you are now. It’s also about an alien invasion replacing people in said town with weirdo Replicant type things.
But the similarities almost completely stop there. In the previous two films, Simon Pegg has played an everyman, the protagonist you can root for, always paired with the lovable but dim sidekick in Nick Frost. The World’s End turns this on its head, featuring a group of successful middle aged men, and then Pegg’s Gary King, their leader, the sketchiest, dimmest one of the lot. In stark contrast to his friends, who have all grown up and moved on with their lives, Gary King is trapped in his youth, desperately wishing that the world in which he was top dog still existed.
As the film progresses, Pegg’s character grows steadily darker as we learn more about him. We can’t help but root for him; all he wants, after all, is to finish the pub crawl that they all started so many years ago. If every other dream is taken from him, can’t he have something so simple as this?
There is a fantastic tension between Pegg and Frost’s characters in the film, and at moments the bromance showcased in the previous two films shows through. But without the typical Pegg/Frost unstoppable duo, it allows for the rest of the cast to shine through. Martin Freeman is brilliantly utilized, as well as the ever-charming Paddy Considine. Plenty of other familiar faces show up in large roles and small, including a lovely job by Bill Nighy voicing ‘The Network.’ Nearly every collaborator of the trio from over the years is featured in the movie somehow, with the disappointing exception of Dylan Moran, who, after his absolutely hysterical part in Shaun of the Dead as David, has subsequently failed to appear in any other Cornetto films. Much to my dismay.
The cinematography is 100% Edgar Wright. The quick-cut montages, the driving scenes, the way every shot with a beer in it makes you want a beer. If you’ve ever seen an Edgar Wright film, especially one of the Cornetto ones, you’ll feel right at home here. It’s all brilliant. Nothing feels reused or repetitive. You could watch all three movies in a row, and while being unrelated besides cast and crew, it would feel vaguely like a trilogy anyway. More than the familiar faces of the actors, it’s in the power of Wright’s directing.
The World’s End is a movie full of heart, and guts. It really hits you, and while delivering plenty of laughs, makes sure it gets its message across, too. Of the three Cornetto films, it could just be my favorite, and it’s certainly the deepest, without question. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and see it!
Have you seen The World’s End already? How did it stack up next to the other Cornetto films for you? Let us know in the comments!