Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mini movie review: The World's End

Finally,  finally, I have seen the Pegg-Wright joint venture, The World's End, the third in the Cornetto trilogy (first two: Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz).  Was it all that I hoped for?  Yes, yes, it was.  Part of it is, of course, that I have a big ol' crush on Simon Pegg - would I like to have a pint with him? damn straight I would - but part of it is because TWE is a lovely little send-up of bodysnatcher movies, with strong action sequences and nice character work.  And a friggin' kickass soundtrack: Stone Roses, Sisters of Mercy, Blur, Happy Mondays, James, Soul II Soul, The Sundays, Soup Dragons, Teenage Fanclub, The Housemartins ... most excellent.

Gary King (Pegg) is having great difficulty letting go of his youth, where the highlight of his life was attempting an epic twelve-stop pub crawl with his mates in their town.  They never finished the Golden Mile and Gary is determined to recapture those glory days of the early 1990s.  He rounds up his old mates (Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan), all of whom have gone on to grow up with grown-up jobs, families and responsibilities.  They start their pub crawl and are first surprised that no one seems to remember them.  A short time later they are even more surprised that SPOILER (but not really if you've seen any of the trailers) the whole town seems to have been taken over by alien robots.  The boys end up drinking a lot of beer, fighting a lot of robots and squabbling amongst themselves.

That little plot synopsis was terrible, I know, and really won't inspire anyone to see this movie.  But there really is some nice character work among the five old friends who really aren't friends anymore.  Pegg is very funny in his brash, irreverent, wounded oblivion and Nick Frost gets to play the straight man for a change.  I laughed out loud quite a few times and was gratified to see not only the Cornetto connection but also the fence-jumping call-back.

Although the pacing is a little slow (twelve pubs is really a lot of pubs to get through), and no new comedic or story ground was really broken, and the final scenes after the big action climax were surprising and a bit melancholy, I really enjoyed this movie.  I'll obviously have to add it to my collection so that the trilogy is complete and I may just watch it again before sending the DVD back to Netflix - I liked it that much.

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