Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind's only hope for survival.
A classmate planted the phrase, "I didn't believe the ending," in my head when talking about this movie. That's the phrase that first came to me when the climax eventually arrived. It just didn't seem plausible for me that an all-powerful alien race was that convinced by the drunken rants of three middle-aged British men to forgo their invasion goals and bring about the technology apocalypse. Here's why that ultimately doesn't matter to me. Edgar Wright knows how to stage exciting comedies and The World's End made me laugh (Gary's confidence in the beginning, the boys arguing over the term robot, Martin Freeman with a football head, and so on and so forth.) But more importantly, it showed me what a great comedy with a clear point of view looks like. Specifically, it made me think not just about the end of the world, but about nostalgia's dark side and the things people put in their way to numb what they don't like in their present. Check out Simon Pegg's performance, which shows some powerfully realistic pathos behind the funny screw-up that Gary is.
Just three cornetto's, give them to me! Who's the helmet without a helmet? Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright reconvene to close down the cornetto trilogy that had began with Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Here we find Pegg as a card carrying alcoholic who coerces his old mates into undertaking a fabled drinking binge in their home town of New Haven. But things are not as they used to be... This simply isn't on the same level as "Sean and Fuzz", but that doesn't remotely make it a duffer of a film. Weight of expectation was enormous, and rightly so, but although it doesn't carry the mighty comedic gold of the first two films, it has fun, cheek and emotion in abundance. In fact its biggest crime is not being the final film so many legions of fans were hoping for. If stripping back those expectations and original disappointments, then repeat viewings bring plentiful rewards. Riffing on science fiction films, pic's story cunningly observes male behaviour, most notably the man-child effect and the refusal to let the past stay in the past, the pic begins in almost solemn fashion and ends in daring chaos. Along the way there's a whole host of sly visual gags to catch, whilst the caustic concerns for once vibrant towns brought down by soulless entertainment chains positively fizzles with poignant awareness. No doubt about it, Wright and Pegg call their own shots, which is ultimately refreshing in an era of film making struggling to keep its head above the sequel and remake swamp. Choice dialogue, some of which is very British in street core, and some laugh out loud moments, off set the more juvenile moments filtered through the plot. A super cast has been assembled, where series regulars either star or cameo to further emphasise the constant of the cornetto trilogy - that of film lovers making films for film lovers, with camaraderie of cast set in stone. The sound track choices sparkle, a mix of Brit-Pop, Madchester and era defining popsters (Old Red Eyes Is Back by The Beautiful South has never been so pertinently used). All baked in a superb period tinted pie. There's something of an action overload, while some tonal shifts have understandably proved to be confusing to some. But this still showcases - in credit - the considerable talents of Messrs Wright, Pegg and Frost. Teen angst machismo, alcoholism and hidden passions clash with Invasion of the Body Snatchers! It shouldn't work, but it does! 7/10
This movie was divided into three parts for me. First there were the set-up scenes: Gary arranging the reunion tour and providing background of the five friends. It was fairly predictable and I found it almost impossible to overcome my dislike for the Gary character. It was only because I was slightly distracted by something else that I kept watching it. Then at about the 35-40 minute mark, it got better. There were action scenes, of course, but even the humor seemed to pick up the pace, and there was a little character development and growth. It was fun viewing for a long time. Then there was the third section (again, for me anyway) when the plot is wrapped up at such an alarming speed so as to result in an anti-climax. And that is followed by a rather lackluster narration by one of the characters stating what had happened to everyone and explaining the ending that the movie had covered so scantly. So I can’t say I regret watching it, but I probably wouldn’t watch it again if the opportunity arises.