After waiting patiently since the early months of the year, I finally got to sit in a screening of the new Edar Wright/ Simon Pegg film ‘The World’s End’. I knew vaguely what the film was about but I tried to go in with as little knowledge as possible, eagerly looking forward to seeing what Wright has produced for our screens. After the success of ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’, which have become films that we all love and could watch over and over again, I went in to the cinema screening really wanting to like this film. What was the result? Well to put it bluntly, I did really like the film.
Now firstly some background reading, for those who are unfamiliar with the Cornetto Trilogy, it’s basically the series of films written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg that they themselves describe as the ‘blood and icecream’ series, due to the nature of the films and the humour. The trilogy consists of the 2004 horror/ comedy ‘Shaun Of The Dead’, 2007 comedy ‘Hot Fuzz’ and then recently ‘The World’s End’. There are running gags throughout the series of films that fans eagerly watch out for, most famously the ‘fence’ scene in all three films. If you don’t know about the ‘fence’ scenes then I’m quite ashamed of you. But don’t stop reading.
Moving back to the latest installment, the story is quite a nice concept that I appreciate. It centers around five men meeting up and returning to their home town in an attempt to retry the pub crawl they failed at as teenagers. The pub crawl consists of 12 pubs over a one mile journey, all finishing at the last pub entitled the world’s end. Once they’ve started the pub crawl they start to suspect something is wrong with the town because it’s not like they remember it being as teens. After some mishaps and turns in events they find out that the inhabitants of the town have been replaced by robots or robot like creatures, and they see it upon themselves to uncover what has happened to the town, whilst finishing what they started. The subject matter of the story and the genres involved are different from the other two installments to the trilogy, in the sense that it is moving more in to sci fi territory, with some nerd humour involved, which is by no means an issue.
Along with the story comes interesting characters, which were played very well by the actors involved. Simon Pegg does a brilliant job of playing the nearly middle aged man who is still living in the past and wanting to keep young for as long as he can. Nick Frost is the stiff necked lawyer who feels that moving on from childhood is the best thing and is happy in his new life. Martin Freeman plays the nervous real estate agent who is reluctant to try the pub crawl, based on what happened during their last attempt. Eddie Marsan is the quiet businessman who’s settled down happily with his family, who’s more optimistic about the pub crawl but is happy to be back with friends. Paddy Considine plays the one in between really, he’s an average man who doesn’t really see eye to eye with Pegg’s character, particularly if a female is involved. Finally there’s the character played by Rosamund Pike who is the sister of Martin Freeman’s character. All very interesting characters, played by a knockout cast, who had both good chemistry and hilarious clashes.
It was interesting to see the different characters involved because it took quite a spin on the other two ‘Cornetto’ films, firstly because there was a group of central characters instead of having two central characters played by Pegg and Frost. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it added to the humour and was still entertaining. It was also quite a twist because usually Nick Frost plays the character who is a bit slow and who’s stupidity is ephasised for comic effect, whereas Simon Pegg plays the more clever individual who’s common sense is better utilised. In the case of this film there was a switch, so Pegg played the character who was openly ignorant, whereas Frost played the clever character who tried to solve situations logically. This for me made the film stand out because it offered the audience something different without making the film slack.
In terms of screenplay I was very impressed. Just like the other two installments it was very funny, with a lot of laughs throughout. I liked the use of humour in this film because it wasn’t always jokes that are blindingly obvious, there were jokes in there that you actually have to think about, so it was quite a clever film. There is some humour that I would describe as nerdy but it had links to sci fi films, but it shouldn’t be a factor that deters people because it is still very funny. But it wasn’t all just jokes, as usual with Pegg and Wright’s writing there was a serious element to it as well, showing true character development and darker side to the film that showed how seriously they handle certain issues. As per usual there are a lot of profanities, but that only makes it more funny. The expletives used are not done so in an ill disciplined manner, they scripted well to suit the situations presented in the story.
For me, Edgar Wright has always been a very good director as he has proved in the past, so it was refreshing to see that his skills were shown in this film as well. There are certain sequences in the film that were fast paced but Wright did a very good job of them, so it was clear to see what was going on but still kept up the pace. Also Wright did what he has done admirably well in the past which is mixing action and violence together. For me that takes a lot of skill because directing an action scene is hard enough as it is, but to be able to make that funny for a modern audience it shows that he understands cinema and is good at what we does. The violence in the film is different from that of ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ but that is by no means a bad thing. The camera angles used by Wright are also quite familiar, showing small details that sometimes add to the humour and other times make a scene flow quite nicely. Excellent work all round from Edar Wright yet again..
Finally I have to talk about the themes of the film. Now I know it’s easy to look at a comedy and say that it’s just a film that designed to be funny, but in the case of this film it was written to have layers and depth as an intelligent story. It hit me quite hard because the themes were largely based around trying to stay young, reclaiming old days that you enjoyed, and the value of friendship. I may still be young, but I appreciate the memories I have of days gone by, the days I’ve spent with friends in the summer so seeing a group of friends trying to relive these days was something quite special. It was nice to see a film that focused on the value of friendship because it is something that I hold quite close to me. The characters all had a strong connection that was shown on my occasions, bringing a big smile my face because it made me think about the friends I have and how much they mean to be. Another theme that I quite liked that is more present as the film progresses and that’s the idea of being proud to be a human and what it means to be a human. The film may not explore this idea in too much depth, but it was still present and was a crucial element in what made the film stand out for me.
I know already some people have started to pick up on the flaws in the film and the story, which I can appreciate there probably are a fair few. But I’m just going to face it, it may not be the best film ever made, and it does have flaws, but you know what, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a brilliant film, the sort of film I left the cinema screening from feeling happy, I had a smile on my face and I knew that the duration of the film was time well spent. I would happily watch it again and intend to in the future.
Overall I would give the film four stars, I think it was very well written and directed with a cast that did a brilliant job. It was different from the other two installments to the trilogy but it was a worthy contributor in itself, being different from the other two but having the same feeling as the others at its heart. It was sad to see the trilogy come to an end but it was closed off very well and there is still hope that there is more to come from Wright and Pegg. I don’t think it’s going to be as big as ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ or ‘Hot Fuzz’ because it is somewhat different, but that’s not an issue for me because I know I enjoyed it. It was refreshing to see and intelligent comedy that was well written and had layers to it. It’s feast for any fan of films, sci fi, or indeed the ‘cornetto’ films but I would recommend it to anybody because it’s a good laugh and an entertaining experience. I like the fact that it’s different in quite a nerdy way, and the undertones of the film based on friendship really meant a lot to me.
I hope this review was helpful for anybody thinking about seeing the film. I would heavily recommend it and indeed ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ if you have not already seen them. The ‘Cornetto’ Trilogy provides some of the best and funniest films you will ever see so I would recommend seeing the trilogy at some point in life. Preferably now. Right now.
Please feel free to leave any comments about the film or about the review in general. I am open to any comments or criticisms so please don’t hold back. It’s only the second review I have done so any comments you have about it are much welcomed.