FILM REVIEW: The World’s End

September 1, 2013 7:29 pm


After their critically acclaimed comedy hits Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg present The World’s End – the ‘green-mint flavoured’ finale in their uniquely creative Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. Since its inception, the series has been recognised for its innovative twist on parodying specific genres. Judging from trailers and still images, The World’s End seemed to have the tone to display a giggling nod to science-fiction cinema and, therefore, conclude the trilogy on a satisfactory note. However, despite the high expectations, The World’s End was not on the same level as Hot Fuzz or Shaun Of The Dead in terms of creativity, humour or overall execution. Consequently, it was not the great finale to a fantastic trilogy as it should have been.

Cornetto - The World's End

One of the strongest points of the two predecessors in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy was the style of humour through one-liners in dialogue, character situations and comical violence. In fact, that is where they have been such strong parodies because the comedy becomes as laughable as the plot and characters. However, while The World’s End features perhaps the most random, disconnected plot of the trilogy, it had a severe lack of laughs and merely became a straightforward sci-fi. That side of the plot is original but when you look at it that way, The World’s End is fun but it mainly disappoints because that was not its initial purpose; the minty taste of the Cornetto- humour, should have been there. Furthermore, the pacing and execution was a shamble. The film started off very slowly with the group’s teenage background story, the reunion between them and small-talk dialogue in the pub. It lacked narrative momentum with nothing much to look forward to. That is until the film turns sci-fi where it becomes a crazy rollercoaster and unfortunately is ruined by the meaningless ending.

However, in light of The World’s End’s flaws, it maintained one allegiance that has made the trilogy so great – its technical and visual contribution to the British culture. The film often highlights key landscapes of the British countryside as well as the rural area within a small British town. Like its predecessors, The World’s End expresses a clear, civilized Britain but within a movie world; hence the tribute to styles within specific genres. In addition, it had some decent action sequences which director Edgar Wright handled rather well, but a number of them lacked that badass, comical and adrenaline-fuelled excitement that were in Hot Fuzz and Shaun Of The Dead. On a similar note, the script was a mixed bag. It is really not the best Pegg and Wright can do, especially regarding the humour, and they really could have gone the distance with the unusual interaction of the pub crawl and alien/robot ‘invasion’, but it was not to be.

Simon Pegg is different in The World’s End as he portrays alcoholic Gary King. Although the audience see Gary as the central character, he often serves as the antagonist. He is somewhat trapped in the past, clearly misses his teenage years and perhaps has some mental problems. However, the latter is not really developed enough especially when we see hints of why Gary is the way he is. On the other hand, Pegg appears physically dirtier and grittier than the majority of characters he has played before. He goes into straight into the role free and wild, making Gary King perhaps Pegg’s coolest character in the trilogy.

On a similar note, Nick Frost switches character type from the Cornetto predecessors as he goes from playing Pegg’s character’s oaf-ish sidekick to an individual with much more physically-sophisticated features. However, while Frost and Pegg almost serve as enemies in the film, Frost’s character Andrew Knightley was a seriously underwhelming, unsympathetic character. Admittedly, you can occasionally see that buddy connection Pegg and Frost have on-screen but it was not utilized enough and was not there. Meanwhile, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan make their presence known in satisfactory style as the remaining three members of the group aiming to finish the ‘Golden Mile’. It is also worth noting that Pierce Brosnan makes a decent cameo in the film too.

The World’s End does not in any way feel like a comedy with corny teen-based themes behind it, but it is a film about grown-ups telling a story about growing up. It is neither a love-letter nor a rip-off of science-fiction but it is like a mint-flavoured Cornetto without the mint. In many ways, it felt like Wright and Pegg had adapted narrative concepts of Shaun Of The Dead and applied it to The World’s End by making it more sci-fi. If it actually had the humour identical to the predecessors and had better plot structure, it would have superbly rounded the trilogy off. Nevertheless, it was a disappointing finale that could and should have been better but for an original sci-fi without the humour, it was still somewhat enjoyable.

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