“The World’s End” and how Edgar Wright and co. annihilated my expectations

The World’s End

tweRelease Date: July 19, 2013
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike
Director: Edgar Wright
Studio: Relativity Media, Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions
Distributor: Universal Pictures, Focus Features
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Comedy

Rating: ★★★★★
Review Spoilers: Low
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

Edgar Wrights The Worlds End isn’t just a science fiction homage nor is it a simple buddy night out romp; instead Wright and Simon Pegg’s script has perfectly mixed a genre cocktail that inhabits both as well as playing out a tragic cautionary tale about the woes of falling into the ease of the past rather than embracing the fight of the future.

Frankly put, I loved this movie.

I loved this movie so much that I’m am already planning my second theater viewing later tonight.

The premise appears simple: the instigator Gary King (Simon Pegg) gathers his four school yard friends to try and recapture the glory of the almost completed golden mile of his youth, a pub crawl through his home town that he fell short of finishing.

Despite their hesitations the four of them decide to go-the last to agree being Andy Knightley (Nick Frost playing against type), the protector of the group, who has a soured history with Gary.

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All seems well until a few pubs in when all of a sudden something seems amiss and after a brawl in a bathroom the five realize that all is not right in the little town they used to call their own.

Scored with a befitting 90’s inspired playlist the film is astoundingly funny and makes the most of the cast it’s gathered with Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan playing backup to Frost and Pegg’s leading status. There is an familiarity amongst the cast that adds to the level of nostalgia the movie inflicts on us because all of us can relate to the discomfort in being thrust into old groups of friends and grasping for the same chemistry that made you such good friends in the first place.

Nick Frost is on his A-game here as Andy, playing bitter but reluctantly protective with surprise ease considering the last two outings with Pegg and Wright had him as the comedic relief to Pegg’s straight man, being the proactive to Pegg’s receptive. There was little doubt that he could pull off the switch but watching him portray the buttoned up corporate lawyer that slowly evolves into the Knight to Pegg’s King by the films end.

But Simon Pegg is the true revelation showcasing such rare versatility in a singular role. His King is a Tasmanian devil for most of the movie: he’s in constant motion, always saying something, reacting to someone or manipulating a response he wants. But underlying the jester is the tragic fallen man whose gone far too long looking to reclaim the magic of his youth and in the meantime his life is passing him by.

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He’s the antithesis to his own protagonist-the villain to his hero and his own foil. Pegg is magnetic and makes sure that throughout the entirety of the film the audiences eyes are glued to him, bombastic with an unsettling inertia, until a climactic scene that wishes for nothing else than his own clemency as he sits, still, for the first time in the entirety of the film. Despite his get-up, dressed for war, he’s stripped emotionally bare by the film’s end.

I may not hold the same affection for The Worlds End as I do for Shaun of the Dead but I would readily argue that it may be the best of the trio. Edgar Wright has nearly perfected his directorial skills, his eye for the way to make the camera tell a story allowing him the title of auteur at such a young age. The story isn’t complacent, it doesn’t allow us to stew in our seats-instead we’re off with a bang and rolling through until the bitter (or lager) end that left my cheeks raw from smiling so much.

This film has accurately portrayed the anxieties of growing older, of leaving friends behind, of how a town can seem alienating after being gone too long, and how the hero’s we grew up with whether they be parents, store owners, secret admirers or friends we admired can all seem very human when put into familiar ground. Sometimes you’re going to return home and rather than seeing a warm welcoming you’re going to see a blank: the ghost of a familiar face.

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And they manage all of this while succeeding in making us laugh, cheer and yes, for me, tear up just a little bit (no judgments). It’s my favorite big film of the summer and I’m remiss to have to face the wait before the talented trio team up again for another wonderful adventure.

Where will they take us next?

Final Thoughts: This film proves that Edgar Wright, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are on the top of their game, making them one of the most formidable trios in the business.

Staff Ratings

Therese

Personally, this movie was hilarious, and Allyson is right about a lot of the overall messages that are in the film. Simon Pegg is charismatic and delightful to watch. My only issue was how oddly whimsical the last half an hour got, but that’s probably because I wasn’t prepared for it, given I haven’t seen Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, so I didn’t expect the humor.
★★★★☆

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