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The World’s End – Movie Review

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The World’s End – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

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With the two earlier films in the appropriately-titled Cornetto Trilogy, Edgar Wright managed to make comedies that could sit alongside serious zombie films and action pictures. Completing the series with The World’s End, he now enters the realm of science-fiction and while the laughs are not as frequent and the story is not so tight-knit this time around, this is still further proof of how Wright is one of the most interesting filmmakers working today. This is not the first film about a group of friends going out for a night of drinking on the town, but leave it to Wright and his band of hilarious Brits to throw a robot invasion plot into the mix.

The core centre of The World’s End is a group of friends, four of which have grown up and gotten big, high-paying jobs. Remaining behind in arrested development is Simon Pegg and all five of the actors do a tremendous job of showing the history between this group and how they’ve changed or in the case of Pegg, stayed exactly the same. In Shaun of the Dead and especially Hot Fuzz, Pegg’s character is a more low-key individual, just trying to go through his life as orderly and as simple as he possibly can. With this entry, he is given somebody which gives him free reign to go absolutely nuts, almost channeling the sorts of personalities British comic Rik Mayall would portray. However, he also succeeds in showing Gary King’s gravitas and his inabilities in life. His story is almost tragic and it’s key to Pegg and Wright’s screenplay that they are able to mime comic material, while still showing the serious side of King’s problems. This thus allows us to root for him to complete his pub crawl, even with the madness surrounding this group.

Nick Frost is also allowed to break from his usual shtick, trading in the dimwitted character from before with a more hard-nosed and straight-laced corporate lawyer. He convincingly plays the role as somebody betrayed by Gary in the past and one of the nicest aspects of the screenplay is how it reveals something about the characters, piece by piece. Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan also give plenty of personality and uniqueness to the other three friends. The humour is definitely British and in tone with what was showcased in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The interplay between the actors is very strong and it shows that even though they’ve drifted away over the years, you get the sense they know each other and are aware of their little quirks and identities. Like the other Cornetto Comedies, the humourous dialogue even foreshadows later events in the plot with clever delight.

The humour, however, is not quite as sharp as the previous two films and I did not find myself laughing quite as much. It certainly spends a lot more time on showing and peeling away the motivations of the antagonists, but maybe this got in the way of the jokes. The villains themselves are quite creative, providing a unique plot of invaders taking over the town with a clear homage to older British science-fiction films like Village of the Damned. Their Hydra-like abilities allow them to seem more destructive and threatening, thus heightening the excitement when the gang is confronted by them. As he displayed in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Edgar Wright knows how to construct a fight scene. However, as inventive as these creatures are, there are only so many variations in how the characters fight them. After a while, it gets a little repetitive and the wait begins for the next dialogue-driven scene between Gary and company.

Throughout all of this, though, Wright and Pegg present an interesting commentary about technology and the growth or possibly lack of maturity in our society. We have these scientific wonders at our disposal and yet we do not take full advantage of them. This ties in nicely with Gary being stuck in the past and not knowing how to move forward in life. The World’s End takes an interesting turn in the end that could conceivably becomes its own feature film, if Wright were ever inspired to tackle it. It manages to hit the emotional spot without delving into sentimentality, which would have been an odd tonal shift.

With the Cornetto Trilogy, Edgar Wright has launched himself into being a unique filmmaker with an interesting vision. The United Kingdom has given birth to some great comedic talents and the teaming of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is certainly up there with the likes of Monty Python, Mayall and Edmondson and Gervais and Merchant. While I would put The World’s End in third place when ranked among the other comedies in the trilogy, there are still enough laughs and interesting ideas on-screen to make this a worthwhile trip. With his take on Marvel’s Ant-Man on the horizon, Wright’s name is sure to gain even more recognition and he is certainly a filmmaker who deserves it.

Review By: Stefan Ellison

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