July 2013 will be remembered as the month when I went to see two comedies in the cinema, both of which were apocalypse themed with the word “End” in the title.
The trailer for The World’s End wasn’t particularly interesting however excitement for the film was there. The team of Wright/Pegg/Frost has worked so well in the past I would have seen the film even if they didn’t release a preview.
PLOT: On the brink of turning forty troubled Gary King (Simon Pegg) convinces his now estranged childhood friends (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan) to go back to their home town to recreate a legendary pub crawl known as The Golden Mile. As unresolved friction threatens to ruin the reunion the friends discover that mankind is in the process of being invaded by robots. END PLOT
The opening segments of The World’s End feature a flashback to the original attempt at The Golden Mile and a brief introduction to the characters as adults. They are amusing but the film doesn’t really get going until the five actors are all together.
The idea of a pub crawl during a robot invasion sounds ridiculous but the film keeps grounded by surprising us with some emotionally poignant scenes. Gary (Pegg), Andy (Frost), Steven (Considine), Oliver (Freeman) and Peter (Marsan) are all brand new characters but it felt as though I had known them for years. Peter’s reaction to seeing his childhood bully was heart wrenching but it made getting his revenge all the more satisfying (and amusing).
As the pub crawl progressed from pub to pub the characters got drunker and the invasion gets more serious. It’s hard not to laugh at their drunken reactions to the madness.
Pegg and Frost swap their traditional roles with Frost now playing the straight man. This was an inspired decision as Pegg manages to be hilarious yet brings a pathetic sadness to Gary.
Considine and Marsan are also great fun but it is Martin Freeman who stole the show. Freeman has this wonderful mild mannered attitude but I always feel like he is wound tighter than a drum. It is only a matter of time before Freeman raises his voice and hulks out on us. I can’t wait for this day.
It is a testament to those involved that five men walking down a street is the most hilarious section of the film
The cast are clearly having a ball and their enjoyment is infectious. There are some laugh out loud moments and plenty of giggles and although The World’s End can’t quite match Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz in terms of comedy value it trumps them both in emotional punches.
There are plenty of cameo appearances and familiar faces – it is comfortingly nostalgic spotting actors who played zombies in Shaun of the Dead in the background.
The robot effects are good and despite having five leads who are not exactly renowned for hand to hand combat scenes the action sequences and robot battles are very well choreographed (and amusing).
The World’s End is the final instalment in The Cornetto Trilogy and it is obvious that the entire team gave this film their all. It is probably the weakest of the trilogy in terms of genuine laughs but the changes in tone to give us big dramatic moments suited the film perfectly. The World’s End gets 8/10.
I watched The World's End unable to shake the realisation that this is potentially the final film the Wright/Pegg/Frost team make together. If they change their minds and make a fourth I doubt anyone would complain. They haven't taken on the horror genre yet........