‘The World’s End’ Movie Review – Setting the Bar High
We spend a lot of our lives trying to grow up faster, but eventually we complain about getting too old. It’s one of those “grass in greener on the other side” type of things. And while The World’s End may seem like a comedy, thus unfairly categorized as a shallow movie, it explores this and other ideas in a genuinely funny and surprisingly emotional story. Not only does Edgar Wright continue to churn out great comedies, but he continues to find different ways to achieve that success.
[For a review of the “Cornetto” trilogy, including Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, click here]
The latest movie is a response to the sci-fi genre (as opposed to the zombie and buddy cop genres explored in the previous films). Simon Pegg again plays the main character, this time being a more eccentric version of Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. Taking place almost twenty years after a failed attempt at the “Golden Mile,” Gary (Pegg) convinces his old pack of friends (played by Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, and Paddy Considine) to return to their hometown and attempt to drink a pint of beer at twelve different pubs. The final destination is aptly titled “The World’s End.”
That alone sounds almost like enough to carry a movie. And to be honest, most comedies would stop here because it’s a good enough situation to produce laughs. However, Wright and Pegg (again the screenwriters) weren’t done yet, and they added robot-like aliens into the fold. What starts as an attempt to relive their glory days turns into a fight for their friendships, and of course, their lives.
Continuing the trend from the other “Cornetto” films, the script is incredibly sharp. It’s basically a barrage of rapid-fire jokes and gags, but none of them are particularly “cheap.” There are also some great easter eggs and connections to the other movies (including the use of a Cornetto ice cream).
It’s also dually aided by Pegg’s great performance and you can tell he knew the script inside-and-out. He’s a stand-out, and it’s partially because his character drives the entire story and partially because he’s just that funny. With that being said, Frost really comes into his character by the end of the movie, too.
Thematically, there is a lot to draw on and connect to in The World’s End. When you think about the general synopsis, it’s hard to think it could resonate. They also find a way to connect the sci-fi component of the film with the friendship and growing-up struggles.
Generally speaking, comedies are harder to judge. Since comedy and laughs come first, the story usually drops off. However, if you just judged it based on Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, you’d never think this. The story, while widely “out there,” still has depth and emotion (without being sappy). Then they bring in the humor and it’s quick, thoughtful, and smart. It resets a bar that was slowly getting lower.
The World’s End is out in wide release this weekend. For a full list of movies this weekend, check here.
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