The World’s End
Directed by Edgar Wright
Screenplay by Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg
Watched on 30th March 2014
This is the third film in Wright & Pegg’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, following zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead (2004) and action comedy Hot Fuzz (2007). I thoroughly enjoyed both of those films when they first came out, so it’s with some disappointment that I say I didn’t enjoy the sci-fi comedy The World’s End at all. Whether that’s down to my changing tastes or a genuine drop in quality I can’t be sure, but I did not laugh once during The World’s End.
Simon Pegg stars as Gary King, a middle-aged manchild who ‘reforms’ his group of school friends (Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman) to have another go at The Golden Mile, a pub crawl they tried to complete 20 years previous. While his friends have matured in the intervening years, Gary still clings to his adolescence. He wears the same clothes, listens to the same music, drives the same car and still struggles with alcholism and other addictive substances. He is also intensely dislikeable.
The twist comes with the realisation that, in John Wyndham fashion, the gang’s serene suburban home town has been overtaken by aliens who replace unwilling residents with compliant doppelgangers. When the aliens’ secret is discovered, the previously friendly robotic residents become intent on ‘upgrading’ the boys. The only way to stop them is to smash their hollow heads, spilling copious amounts of blue blood.
The film itself mirrors Gary’s reluctance to mature. The World’s End is essentially a retread of Shaun of the Dead, getting the old gang back together for one last film, this time with alien robot things instead of zombies. All the same tricks from Shaun are pulled here — a planned pub crawl that foreshadows the entire plot beat for beat, the revelation that a central character has been converted by the invading forces, a semi-apocalyptic ending in which some central characters live on as zombie / robot versions of themselves…
I wouldn’t mind, but there were precious few laughs along the way.