The World's End

The World's End
Made in: UK
Language: English
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Pierce Brosnan, Bill Nighy
Year: 2013

Synopsis: Approaching middle age, Gary King (Simon Pegg) is an aimless alcoholic stuck trying to recapture the glory days of his teenage years. His four best friends from high school, Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Andy (Nick Frost) have long since moved on and have normal ives and jobs.

Gary tracks them down one by one, and persuades them to reunite with him in their home town of Newton Haven. Gary's plan is to complete the "Golden Mile," a pub crawl consisting of twelve specific bars. After drinking a pint of beer at each location, the journey is to conclude at a pub called The World's End. The only voice of reason amongst the group is Oliver's sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), who just happens to be visiting.

The crawl was attempted during their teenage years, but never finished. And for some reason, Gary seems hell-bent on completing the task. But halfway through, the five happen upon a bizarre extraterrestrial plot to conquer earth. Too drunk to escape Newton Haven by car, Gary and his friends find themselves not only fighting for their lives, but also coming to terms with the compromises, disappointments, and broken dreams that come with growing up.

The Good: It's great seeing the minds behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz reunited again. And for the most part, The World's End delivers. The strongest elements are the characters and screenplay, this time with Nick Frost playing the straight man to Simon Pegg's wildly irresponsible protagonist.

The dialogue and jokes are quick paced, clever, and often hilarious. The zany plot is fun, but it's not the action that makes the movie so much as it is watching how the characters react to all the things happening to them.

As with Edgar Wright's previous two films, The World's End has some genuinely moving and emotional moments as well. Although the subject of middle age, midlife crises, and happiness are nothing new, this comedy does take time to explore them with some degree of depth.

The Bad: The movie would have been plenty funny with just the endless amount of jokes and verbal jabbing between the main characters. The action, although necessary, almost slows the story down at times. Fight sequences go on a little too long, and the abundance of digital effects got a little tedious. Also, the movie gets a bit carried away with itself by the final act. 

Who would like this movie: If you enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, you'll definitely want to see this one. The humor and characters are the movie's strongest elements, although the physical comedy has its moments as well. It's fun to see Pierce Brosnan in the picture as Gary King's old high school teacher, but unlike fellow former bond actor Timothy Dalton (who appeared in Hot Fuzz), Brosnan is underutilized. 

The ending is a bit far-fetched and a jarring contrast to rest of the story's feel, but Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have an onscreen chemistry that manages to carry the picture through. 

(3 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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