Ten Years ago we were given a real breath of fresh undead air with the genius, scary and damned hilarious Shaun Of The Dead. Hot Fuzz came next, which was action packed and bloody funny. Now the Cornetto Trilogy closes out with The World’s End, a sci-fi tale of friendship and individuality. But is it funny?
Funny, and surprisingly actiony.
Really good characters, and performances.
More mature, and restrained.
Did I mention the funny?
Drinking Game: Drink when they drink!
Pegg’s character is rather annoying.
A little less funny than Shaun, and Fuzz.
May improve after repeated viewings
Gary King – Simon Pegg
Andy Knightley – Nick Frost
Oliver Chamberlain – Martin Freeman
Steven Prince – Paddy Considine
Peter Page – Eddie Marsan
Sam Chamberlain – Rosamund Pike
Five teen lads attempt The Golden Mile, a 12 tavern pub crawl, but they fail to finish. Now, twenty years later, long after they’ve drifted apart, Pegg’s Gary King gets the gang back together to complete what they failed all those years ago…but things at home just aren’t the same.
Co-written by star Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright, The World’s End is the final part of their Cornetto Trilogy (so named because of the ice-cream cone that cameos in each movie), which began with the brilliant Shaun of the Dead, and was followed by the slightly less brilliant Hot Fuzz. Now they turn their focus to science fiction, and what it’s like to go home again. Crucially, this is a funny movie. Unfortunately it’s just not quite as funny as it’s predecessors.
The opening sequence, the recap of the original “historic” night, is quite cool, and is stylistically close in tone, and editing style, to the earlier entries. Quick cuts, and manic camera movements make you feel at home. After that it changes a bit.
A MORE MATURE MOVIE
You see, this movie feels a little different to the previous Cornetto movies. Much like the characters in the movie, it has grown up. Matured. It is less kinetic, in how it is written, shot and edited. The pace is slower, and less showy. There is also more emphasis on characters, and the subtleties of old friends reuniting. But this also gives room for some unexpected performances.
Pegg seems to be over acting right from the beginning, but it makes sense as the movie progresses. It is a very different character from what we’ve seen from him before, particularly in this series of movies, and it takes a while to get used to it. He’s almost like a more aggressively useless and disconnected Shaun. He is kinda annoying, though that means he’s doing his job well, because King is annoying. This character is a little on the nose, as I reckon everyone knows someone like him. Someone who lives in the past, and can’t move on.
Nick Frost is actually acting, which is really nice to see. Here he is more than just be the bumbling mess of a mate. He’s the responsible one, with character depth, while Pegg is the screw-up. The remaining cast are all very good. Paddy Considine is a good straight man. Martin Freeman is classic Freeman. Meanwhile Eddie Marsan quietly steals most of his scenes. There are less big name cameos than in Fuzz, but there are appearances from earlier Cornetto-ites.
A FUNNY SCI-FU MOVIE
Now, while it starts kinda slowly, once we get to the toilet fight scene, things definitely pick up. Not only does the story kick in to gear, but the action kicks off…and it’s an unusual mix. The story is undeniably science fiction, inspired by Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and the Stepford movies, there’s also a little They Live, and definitely The Day the Earth Stood Still, complete with Klaatu cameo. However, the action is definitely martial arts in nature, even having a great Jackie Chan-esque “save the pint” fight. Frost’s “Pink Hulk” fight, with the bar stools, is brilliant too. Wright clearly learned how to stage and execute kick-ass fights on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and has brought it to bear here. It is a Sci-Fu movie, if you will, and it works. However, given the fun of the action, the climax is surprisingly wordy. It’s not bad, exactly, but is is lower key than expected, and lacks the emotional punch that Shaun had.
Most importantly though, this is a damn funny movie. It is a little less homage-y than Shaun and Fuzz, but it is funny. The humor builds slowly, favoring character in the early stages, but there are plenty of laughs, and the gags come in various forms: physical, verbal, and visual. Plus, there is the usual for-shadowing, repetition, and running jokes. I’m not sure if many of the laughs will live on, like some Shaun and Fuzz moments have, but this could also be a movie that improves with repeated viewings.
BOTTOM LINE- FUN, CHARMING, FUNNY AND ACTIONY
So… This is a funny, and kick-ass movie, though may not be quite what you’re expecting. They’re all stretching their range: Wright is more restrained; Pegg is more OTT; and Frost is more focused. The writing, while definitely funny, also seems more mature, dealing with characters, as opposed to dropping lines and Easter eggs every couple minutes. Plus you’ll laugh. Out loud. A lot.