Movie Review: The World’s End

The end of the summer usually marks the release of the duds – the films that need to be released to make way for the much admired awards season and film festival circuit (including TIFF).  The World’s End breaks those end-of-summer doldrums by bringing us a hilarious and thoroughly fun adventure with some really cool guys. Director Edgar Wright, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s third installment of the Cornetto Trilogy (including Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End) brings all the laughs and insane adventure that we’ve come to expect from the talented trio.

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20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hell bent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by mate Gary King, a 40-year old man who can’t escape his long past glory days.

The friends Andy Knightley (Nick Frost), Steve Prince (Paddy Considine), Peter Page (Eddie Marsan) and Oliver Chamberlain (Martin Freeman) are reluctantly dragged back to their home town,  where they once again attempts to drink through the “Golden Mile”, with hopes to reach the fabled pub, The World’s End. They soon learn that reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries…

I’m a really big fan of both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. They’re quirky, funny and little bit geeky. Pegg, Frost and Wright make movies that they want to see – which makes each one of their ventures seem like an inside joke – a film featuring your buddies – or in this case, your drinking buddies. It makes it really hard to separate the film itself from its really likeable leads. But, luckily, we don’t have to separate the off-beat and fun characters from the guys who made the film – it’s incredibly easy to envision them as one and the same.

The five friends fight over small grievances, and the banter is just amazing. It would be easy to let Pegg and Frost’s characters take over the film – but the best thing about the Cornetto trilogy is its supporting and side characters. Each of these characters adds humour and wit to the film, and I’m sure you could assign a persona to a friend that you know. Gary – the guy that never grew up, Andy – the loyal and trustworthy one, Steve – the competitive good guy, Peter – the skittish pushover; and Oliver – the go-getter. It’s a great film to see with friends – especially ones that you grew up with, or haven’t seen in a while. These guys capture all the awkwardness of catching up with old friends that you haven’t seen in a while, all the hopes for what could have been, and the ties that bind a group of different people together.

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I love that Edgar Wright casts his films, especially the Cornetto Trilogy, with friends and long-time collaborators. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright often cast the same people in their films – and fans of the trilogy will notice. It’s a fun added perk to the films, and adds to the “wink-at-the-audience” cheeky humour in the films.

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Once our heroes begin their night of drunken debauchery – we find that there’s some strange happenings in the town of Newton Haven… namely…some off-the-chain alien robots. I would have said spoiler alert – but…it’s in the trailer. There are giant plot problems when it comes to the robots, but as absurd as it sounds – just go with it. It’s a hilarious, and often predictable, ride of a film – but it plays to the fans of the Cornetto Trilogy.

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There’s a thread of consistency through all films in the Cornetto trilogy – small similarities that run through all three – connecting the three unique films. The cast, the extreme and absurd plot (often leading to Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s characters holding the fate of the world/town in their hands), the shortcuts over fences, and Cornetto (to name a few).

The soundtrack to this film is incredible. It suits the nostalgia of the film – for a group of five friends trying to re-live one night from their youth.

Audiences may find that the jokes aren’t fresh – or that there’s a lot of re-hashing from Wright, Pegg and Frost’s other work – but I thought that was what made it work.  I loved it. It’s definitely worth seeing.

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