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Overall Rating
4.43

Awesome67.57%
Worth A Look: 21.62%
Average: 2.7%
Pretty Bad: 2.7%
Total Crap: 5.41%

4 reviews, 13 user ratings


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World's End, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Third time's the charm."
5 stars

Once again, Edgar Wright has directed the brightest bit of fun in a lugubrious summer.

The World’s End starts out as a rueful where-have-the-years-gone comedy in the mold of Grosse Pointe Blank (complete with killer soundtrack) and somehow morphs into a mid-period John Carpenter sci-fi film (complete with stock-still antagonists whose eyes and mouths glow like Christine’s headlights, bisecting the wide frame with blue lens flares). Both movies within this movie are fresh and convivial, though the structure borrows from Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, in which the distracted protagonists were oblivious to the scope of the problem for a comically long time. Here, the problem is people in the town of Newton Haven being replaced by robots who shed blue blood (aristocrats?) and lose their limbs a tad too readily to be the terminators they seem to want to be.

Gary King (Simon Pegg), an alcoholic ne’er-do-well approaching forty, yearns for the golden year of 1990 — the year he and his four best mates from school tried and, alas, failed to drink their way through twelve pubs in a night. Gary contrives to convene the old lads again — Andy (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Peter (Eddie Marsan) — though they’ve all moved on and become respectable. Gary’s epic idea is to re-enact the pub crawl, and finish it this time. Eventually the lads give in, knowing that arguing with Gary is futile. At the fourth pub in the crawl, it becomes fairly evident that all is not what it seems.

It’s entirely possible that, like Grosse Pointe Blank, The World’s End will resonate most directly and viscerally for those who were Gary’s age or thereabouts at the dawn of the ’90s. The bold strut, early on, of Primal Scream’s “Loaded” (with its bite from Peter Fonda: “We wanna be free to do what we wanna do! And we wanna get loaded!”) took me right back to college and assured me I was in good nostalgic hands. But the songs aren’t just Super Sounds of the ’90s; many of the tunes, like the one noted, express the film’s theme of pursuing freedom in the face of authority and conformity. Wright and Pegg, who again cowrote the script, tweak the other four fellows for putting their party days aside, but Gary emerges as the film’s saddest character, a freedom fighter in his own mind who in truth wears the thickest chains.

The movie casts Pegg and Frost against type: in their previous two efforts with Wright, Pegg was the uptight striver and Frost the dissolute screw-up, and here it’s the reverse. The scenes of Gary trying to reconnect with his resentful former best mate Andy play like a scrawnier Falstaff appealing in vain to the fond memories of Prince Hal. Gary is also the right age to have seen, memorized, and worn out the video of Withnail & I, though the film is sensibly never addressed here — we look at Gary and we know he sees himself as Withnail 2.0, sneering in the rain “And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?,” though missing the tragic point of that famous scene. Pegg gives us a delusional anti-hero who develops into a deeply flawed hero and eventually, by movie’s end, a bona fide John Carpenter hero.

By turns, The World’s End is better-choreographed than most of what’s been passed off as action this summer; funnier than most comedies this season; and, at times, scarier than most horror films in the last few months — the scene involving Gary’s old flame Sam (Rosamund Pike) and a pair of twins is pretty creepy. It’s a full package of entertainment, genuflecting to the sci-fi of John Wyndham as well as to the cinema of John Carpenter (who adapted Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos). As in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Wright and Pegg love to mix their British and American pulp influences into one spiky drink. I wasn’t a huge fan of Hot Fuzz, feeling that Wright and Pegg were too smart to go on riffing on other creators’ work, but what they’ve done here feels personal, not so much derivative.

There’s a sincere melancholy to it. You literally can’t go home again, nor, apparently, can you drink there the way you once did.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=24452&reviewer=416
originally posted: 09/01/13 09:52:16
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/27/14 KingNeutron It was OK, worth the rental but might not be for everybody 3 stars
4/07/14 reptilesni I love this crew, but this movie didn't work at all. 1 stars
2/26/14 Brennan Best Movie of 2013 5 stars
12/07/13 Pearl Bogdan This isnt Shawn of the dead but it was still pretty funny 4 stars
11/23/13 Patricia fun end to the cornetto trilogy 5 stars
10/16/13 Carl A very fun film!!! 5 stars
9/29/13 Frank Robinson Enjoyable in a completely insane sort of way 5 stars
9/23/13 Simon again impressive for making a mish mash of genres work, funny above all 4 stars
9/19/13 Annie G So much fun - makes me want to do a pub crawl w/o aliens. 5 stars
9/05/13 PoetChuck Worst Movie Ever 1 stars
9/03/13 Geraldine Amazing! 5 stars
9/01/13 Bob Dog Better than the average movie, but weaker than the rest of Wright's films. 2 stars
8/24/13 Flipsider Very entertaining! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Aug-2013 (R)
  DVD: 19-Nov-2013

UK
  19-Jul-2013 (15)

Australia
  01-Aug-2013 (MA)
  DVD: 19-Nov-2013


Directed by
  Edgar Wright

Written by
  Simon Pegg
  Edgar Wright

Cast
  Simon Pegg
  Nick Frost
  Rosamund Pike
  Martin Freeman
  Paddy Considine
  Eddie Marsan



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