on 26 December 2013
From send-ups of zombie and buddy cop films, Pegg and Frost now tackle the sci-fi genre, although this is not obvious at the outset. At the beginning Pegg's character Gary King is a depressed alcoholic with no future, trying to rekindle past glory by attempting a mammoth pub crawl that defeated his teenage self. On paper there's a great cast for his school friends including Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan.
Central to the film is the character of King, who unlike previous Characters Shaun and Nicholas Angel is not that likeable. He has little ambition, he's self-centred, no one can argue with him and he has the same clapped out car; a boy trapped in a man's body. There is potential for conflict with his more successful friends who have families and jobs and this is explored until their night out becomes more of a challenge.
Similar to the sort of encounters in Shaun of the Dead, their foes are now face-grabbing robots whose limbs make a satisfying pop as they snap off and their heads sometimes shatter like porcelain, spraying a thick blue blood all over the place. From this point on the exploration of character is thrown out of the window and it's more about pub brawls, spilt pints and Frost's character proving he's actually good at fighting.
Unfortunately for a comedy, it isn't that funny. I laughed occasionally and smiled at some of the other jokes but it felt like it worked better as a slightly odd drama with actors you liked. In fact there were one or two quite poignant moments where Pegg's character elicited sympathy, where his behaviour is explained. These didn't help the comedy, but added a bit of depth to the story.
For fans of the previous two films there are some nice references, like them crashing over a low hedge and wooden fence. And like Hot Fuzz the world they enter is one where there is a larger picture, where someone else is trying to control them and they have to fight their way out.
Overall it is perhaps the weakest of the Cornetto Trilogy for being less funny. On the plus side the film is very well shot, with some of the director's trademark close-ups of action and fast cuts. It has a great soundtrack of music from their youth and the setup of the pub crawl that King is determined to finish works well to bind the story together. For fans of Pegg and Frost you should see it, but anyone else might be disappointed.
on 26 May 2014
I didn't enjoy this for the most part. Pegg's character Gary King is unlikeable and seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We don't find out much about him. Where does he live? What does he do for a living? That he may have spent time in a mental hospital is referenced a few times ("They told me when to go to bed"). The friends have clearly drifted apart over the years and don't seem to get on particularly well. The idea that you can go back after twenty years and all the pubs will still be there and not converted into flats or a Tesco Express, and that the landlord and patrons will still be the same, is ludicrous.
There is too much violence and swearing, and some of the humour is distasteful. There is a running joke about having teenage sex in a disabled toilet. It romanticises binge drinking, drug taking and casual sex.
But maybe the problem is that I am basically the same generation as these characters, and this comedy just hits me too close too home, reminding me of things I don't want to be reminded about.
There are some sharp gags and observations, though, and the film is redeemed by an epilogue which reveals an unexpected, darkly humorous twist (it was unexpected to me anyway). The DVD also has a 50 minute Making Of documentary where the cast and crew make it perfectly clear that they are aware of the swearing and the references to mental health. It also reveals that much of what I thought was CGI was actually done for real. So I find it difficult to dislike, all things considered.
I wonder if this film might eventually be seen as the most accomplished of the series due to its darker and more realistic depiction of changed friendships and mental illness. The Empire Strikes Back of the Three Cornettos Trilogy. Pegg's depiction of a mentally ill person as desperately trying to keep up appearances, and to change the world back to the last time he enjoyed it rather than adapting to changed circumstances, is uncomfortably close to the truth. As one of the cast says in the Making Of (Rosamund Pike I think), you have to look forwards rather than back.
on 25 May 2014
Of the trilogy, this was the one I wasn't bothered about.
I saw the trailers for it and wasn't sure how much I really wanted to see a pub crawl and some alien robot things. Didn't look my cup of tea. But then, it popped up one day and I decided that as I liked most of the other things they'd done, it wouldn't hurt to give it a go.
From the off set, Gary King is portrayed by Pegg as a very annoying character. Unlike Shaun and even Nicholas Angel, you don't easily connect with him because of how manipulative he is with his friends and his one track mind approach to the pub crawl, 'the Golden Mile'.
But as the film progresses, and when we start to find out the truth in Gary's life, I found myself won over by the character. I loved that that wrote such a damaged and interesting character for this main role and thought they did it justice. Pegg's performance as Gary is amazing. Also, having Pegg and Frost star together, we're used to seeing these buddy movies, where they are life long friends or become great friends- that's different here. They are estranged friends and it's not tied up in a pretty bow at the end of the film.
The overall plot I found enjoyable enough. I think this is a character driven film more so than plot. I feel that the plot is very much coming second to the characters here, whereas in the previous films, it might have been more level between the two. I don't think it is a bad thing though, I thought that making the film this way it puts more emphasis in how important this pub crawl is to Gary. More so than the world ending, or their home town being filled with robot replacements.
I think if you go into this with the expectations of a Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, you might be disappointed. The film isn't bad at all, but I don't know that it punches to the same level overall as the other two.
I think if you enjoy a really human story with believable, and somewhat tragic characters, you will like this.
I gave it 5 stars because it exceeded that I expected from it. I expected not to like it and I loved it.
I think it splits people's opinions depending what you expect from it to begin with.
on 22 November 2015
What would you do if the ultimate beer crawl was interrupted by rampaging robots? From the creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz comes The World’s End, a comedy directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, and Rosamund Pike. Is this going to be the comedy of the year or will it be overshadowed by another apocalyptic comedy that came out earlier this year… This is the End?
Newton Haven is Britain’s fourth most famous garden city. It’s well known for its gardens, fountains, roundabouts and the infamous Golden Mile pub crawl. The Golden Mile is a mile long trek where people drink twelve pints at twelve different taverns. It starts at The First Post and continues on to The Old Familiar, The Famous Cock, The Crossed Hands, The Good Companions, The Trusty Servant, The Two Headed Dog, The Mermaid, The Beehive, The King’s Head, The Hole in the Wall and finishes off at The World’s End.
In 1990 a group of five life long friends attempt the famous Golden Mile. Many have tried but few succeeded. The leader of the group is known as the King, because well, his name is Gary King. Gary and his buddies, Andy, Steven, Oliver, and Peter did their very best to complete the crawl, but one by one they fell out, but it was still one of the best nights of their life.
Twenty years later, Gary is recalling the story when he decides that he wants to get the gang back together and finally complete what they never was able to finish. The problem is that even though Gary is still a reckless and carefree individual living in the past, his buddies have grown up to live responsible lives with respectable jobs. After much negotiation, the guys reluctantly accept Gary’s invitation for the challenge and catch up on old times.
After a completing the first few pints of the Golden Mile, the guys notice something strange. People start starring at them blankly without emotions. Thinking nothing of it, they continue on. While Gary is in the restroom, he tries to make small talk with a younger guy who then attacks him. During the fight, the head of the guy comes off and blue liquid starts squirting out. Gary’s friends rush in to find out what’s going on, but so does the stranger’s friends. After an all out bar fight in the restroom, the gang decides that if the town is full of robots, their best move is to continue the pub crawl so as to not raise suspicion. Can Gary and the gang survive the night, defend themselves from robots, and make it to the World’s End?
I have to admit that I am not a big fan of British humor. I understand the jokes of Monty Python and the comedies of the BBC, but I usually find the dry humor quite stale. With that being said, I am however a big fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. While both movies are still quite British, they more rely on great universal writing that can easily be understood. I thought Shaun of the Dead was an absolutely fresh concept in the mixing of horror and comedy genres. To me, movies like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland have redefined the living dead genre. So how does The World’s End rank up compared to the first two films of the so-called ice cream trilogy? While it has phenomenal writing, great actors, fantastic soundtrack, and amazing camera work, I felt the science fiction aspect was the weakest part. So to me there wasn’t anything to innovate the genre. I did not at all hate The World’s End, but I still prefer Shaun of the Dead more. This leaves me to rank Hot Fuzz a close third.
I really love the work of director Edgar Wright in this film. He does a great job with his actors and I really love the quick close ups and different camera angles he uses. As co-writer of the film along with Simon Pegg, they scribed a fantastic script with rapid fire dialog filled with funny intelligent jokes. And when I say intelligent, I don’t mean ones that are pompous or talk down to the audience, but rather they really make great use of the English language that even non-Brits will easily understand and laugh out loud in their seats. As a fan of dialog heavy Kevin Smith movies, I’d compare the conversations to those of Randal and Dante in Clerks. Real words spoken between real friends.
Comedy duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost return as Gary and Andy. I really love their on screen chemistry. I also enjoy their range of acting in the role reversals in The World’s End. Where in previous roles Pegg was the responsible one to Frost’s slacking, Pegg is great as a guy still living in the past. He just wants to be free to do what he wants, any old time. He wears the same clothes, drives the same car, and still listens to the same cassette mix tapes, but it also means he gets in the same trouble. Frost on the other hand is a responsible guy with a corporate job, a wife and kids. The irony of his character is that he agrees to do a pub crawl, but hasn’t had a drink in sixteen years for reasons I don’t want to spoil.
The rest of the gang includes Paddy Considine as Steven who is a construction foreman, Eddie Marsan as Peter who work’s for his Father’s Audi dealership, Martin Freeman as Oliver who sells Real Estate, and Rosamund Pike who plays Oliver’s sister Sam. Each one of these actors does a great job complimenting the rest. Even though you could technically called them supporting actors, they work more like an ensemble cast. What I thought was great about the characters is that I could relate to them. The beginning narrative starts in 1990 while the main story takes place twenty years later. Where I can relate is I was the exact same age of the characters in both timelines. I dealt with the same things when I hung out with my friends from school back in the day, and I deal with the same things when I meet up with them in the present. We all want to relive the past shenanigans, but adulthood and responsibility gets in the way.
Where I have any slight negative critique in the film is the Sci-Fi aspect. Where I felt Shaun of the Dead was genre changing, The World’s End just didn’t seem as innovating as I would have liked, plus I’ve seen this type of scenario before. I love that it switched genres midway through as I also love movies that do it like They Live, and From Dusk to Dawn. This movie could have easily just been about the five guys getting into trouble with the local cops or high school bullies from their past, but the homage to Invasion of the Body Snatchers aspect kept it fresh so as to not be just another clichéd Hangover movie. The fight scenes were amazingly choreographed with great comedic timing. I may be just over critical and I don’t want to come off at all that I hated this aspect, but I just wasn’t impacted in the same way as other films.
The World’s End is really a fun time at the theater, but I have to go with my gut and still say This is the End is my favorite comedy of the year. This film is a real close second though. I think it was the supporting cast and the unexpected surprises of This is the End that edged it out. While both movies do indeed have many similarities and buddies dealing with some sort of Apocalypse, they really are two different types of films. So to be fair, depending on your taste for humor, you may prefer the more intelligent style of jokes compared to a more sophomoric romp. Either way we all win as audience members.
I had a great time with The World’s End and if you are a fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, then you most definitely want to check out the final movie of The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. If you really didn’t like the first two movies, then this is a movie that is more of the same so you probably won’t like it.
on 25 May 2014
I waited for all the hype to die down before watching this. As a huge fan of Shaun of the Dead and as someone who thought Hot Fuzz was great until the final act went on too long, I feel this is the weakest by a golden mile.
Somewhere in here is an extraordinary and original idea, about a group of teenage friends on the cusp of their adult lives, where all but one go off and make it... but for the coolest one, life turns out to be a disappointment and that one final night with his teenage mates was the pinacle which he'll never reach again. As adults, he wants to recreate it, to find himself.
Here and there, this idea surfaced and was poignantly portrayed. But far too often it was hidden, forgotten or confused by the superficial subject matter. Now there's nothing wrong with superficial, but it should be a metaphor for the emotional heart. Here we have robots, and the point seemed to be.... I dunno, sometimes that people weren't very nice and got replaced, sometimes that they were perfect representations of the people they looked like, it was never really explained. And the ending...? WTF?
I don't suppose it's inherently bad to try to cover more than one theme in a story, but here they didn't seem to work together. I could happily praise the fight choreography, but it would ignore the fact that the threat never has teeth. We don't understand what they are, what they can do, why they need to be fought and so on.
I also loved the 90s nostalgic throwbacks... but again, not particularly well utilised. Occasionally a 90s song lyric would be recalled, but it never felt very clever... or funny.
Which brings me to the final point which many have covered. Not funny. For me, it's not a huge problem. I'm quite fond of 'barely funny' films, and wouldn't have been concerned about this if everything else worked. Instead I would desperately like to say "at least it's funny"... but it's not. Nothing in the script made me chuckle, but on two occasions Nick Frost's outstanding slapstick, helped by Wright's excellent direction, raised a chortle.
So I was left with something unfunny, nonsensical and an underlying theme that felt like it could have been brilliant. This is no Shaun of the Dead... robots?!