This summer we’ve seen the Earth decimated by giant monsters (“Pacific Rim”), overrun by zombies (“World War Z”), nearly destroyed by a superhero (“Man of Steel”), annihilated from the perspective of the rich & famous (“This is the End”), but what about robots and the inebriated? No worries, The World’s End has it covered.
Five old friends reluctantly reunite for a twelve-part pubcrawl that they failed to complete 20 years earlier when they were in their teens. Unfortunately, the robot apocalypse strikes on the same evening that they are reattempting their epic drinking adventure. Do they continue their quest to make it to “The World’s End” and that coveted last pint, or do they try to save their friends and the world at large? Maybe they can do both in this fun new comedy and sci-fi spoof by the creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
The World’s End is probably the most mature of director Edgar Wright and writer/actor Simon Pegg’s so-called “Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” or “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” (you’ll need to pay close attention to see the Cornetto ice cream connection), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t packed with a ridiculous amount of wry British humor and absurd silliness.
Pegg plays the pub crawl ringleader, Gary King, an alcoholic and drug abuser who has never grown up, but feels he might be able to finally get his life together if he can just complete the infamous “golden mile” pub quest that he and his friends, which include Andy Knightley (Nick Frost), Oliver Chamberlain (Martin Freeman), Steven Prince (Paddy Considine) and Peter Page (Eddie Marsan), failed to accomplish when they were young men.
If you caught the “royal” motif of the last names (i.e. King, Prince, etc.), then you are likely to have a blast at this film, searching out all of the Easter eggs buried within this farcical but thought-provoking comedy. Yes, there is a lot more going on here than just a group of friends hitting the bars and robots – but don’t worry, plenty of robots get hit as well.
Gary’s friends, who have not seen him in years, begrudgingly follow him on his quest and the first act of this movie could easily be called a dramatic film (albeit one with plenty of dry humor.) I was fine with this, but some Pegg fans might be caught a little off-guard. I felt the serious approach at the beginning of the film made the comedic science-fiction turn of the second act all the sweeter.
This movie also stars Rosamund Pike (who you might remember from Jack Reacher) as Oliver’s sister and the love interest for Gary and Steven, and there is also a very funny cameo by Pierce Brosnan as a former high-school teacher of the pub crawlers.
If you are a fan of the music of The Doors, then in The World’s End you are going to love what is probably the greatest use ever of their “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” tune from their 1967 debut album. In fact, this may be the finest use of a rock song, both music and lyrics, set to jibe with a film’s story, that has ever been done – ever.
This is yet another film for which I wouldn’t dare give too much away, but I must say that the pay-off during the climax of this movie is smart, hilarious and incredibly awesome. I want to see The World’s End again just to relive the perfect moment that is captured at the apex of this very entertaining film. I think I might even have a pint beforehand.