Written by J. Weagle
As similar as The World’s End is to it’s predecessors (that is the other films in this trilogy that have nothing to do with each other story wise) it differs from them just at much. In Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright and team expressed every inch of love they had for the zombie sub genre. In Hot Fuzz, they wanted to show the same amount of love to the buddy cop movie that became very popular in the early 1990’s. Here, however they move their interested towards the sci fi genre, and films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The wrong way to make this movie would have been to go back to make another Shaun of the Dead, except replace the undead with aliens with the intent of completely controlling the human population. Luckily, and thankfully they did not do that, and instead we get a movie that feels as though it cements its place in the trilogy while being a refreshing spin on things.
The lead, like always is Simon Pegg who plays Gary King. His name says it all, in the day (meaning high school) Gary was the leader of his group of friends. People looked up to him, he was the bad ass cool kid who smoked cigarettes and wore a tough guy trench coat with matching greasy hair. Needless to say King and his group were on top of the world in High School, they were invincible. We find Gary twenty three years later still wearing his tough guy trench coat that now seems a bit sad, the same greasy hair that makes an old guy like him look hobo-ish. and the same cocky pompous attitude and drinks as much as he did when he was eighteen.
Meanwhile his friends (including Nick Frost) have taken the complete opposite route in life. They have managed to become adults and let the past go, and live a normal adult life. However, Gary shows up and plans to gather them all together to recreate an epic pub crawl they once attempted all those years ago and failed to complete.
What may be the biggest stand out of The World’s End is that it has the most heart of all the trilogy. That’s not to say the other films lacked emotion, because they each had their moments, but The World’s End really doesn’t hold back at giving its tale a grounded edge that works better than anyone could have expected. There is a constant desperation to Gary’s tale, and as unlikable as his character can be at certain points, we always stand behind him and want him to succeed. Although it sounds odd this may be the most challenging role we have seen Pegg in, and he does a damn fine job proving once again his comedic fidelity, and even his acting chops. Seriously, the acting and story telling is so good in this film that I actually forgot I was watching a comedy science fiction movie. Speaking of comedy, it’s here in the plenty, and the same style of jokes that made these guys so popular are as sharp and perfectly timed as they ever have been.
However when the shit does hit the fan, and the story finally introduces the main menace in the form of self replicating aliens, the fight scenes are awesome. It shows the growth of Wright as a director and he really brings whatever he learned on the set of Scott Pilgrim vs The World to this one. What’s even more spectacular is how they managed to tie the whole alien plot line seamlessly with the real antagonist of the movie which is Gary’s own fear of becoming a salve to the man (or in this case the space aliens). The alien plot is cool, and the effects are reminiscent of 1980’s sci fi, and even some John Carpenter thrown in, the biggest enemy of the film becomes Gary himself who refuses to give up his goal for that night which is to finally finish the epic pub crawl.
The World’s End is a film that I think just about anyone can relate to, and find something to like in. It has the heart, it has plenty of laughs and wit, and it has the splatter of blue blooded aliens. When compared to Shaun, and Hot Fuzz it feels a little more glossy, they had a budget this time, and the cinematic scope reminded me more than once of something that JJ Abrams would have created minus about a thousand lens flares. It’s a fine end to (for me personally) one of the greatest film trilogies of all time, despite the fact that I still think Shaun will hold up to the test of time longer. The ending left me scratching my head, but in a good way as I cannot wait to see what these guys create outside the boundaries of the template of the trilogy, as I’m sure they’ll work together again.