The World's End (2013)

WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!

Starring
Simon Pegg as Gary King
Nick Frost as Andy Knightley
Martin Freeman as Oliver Chamberlain
Paddy Considine as Steven Prince
Eddie Marsan as Peter Page
Rosamund Pike as Sam Chamberlain
Pierce Brosnan as Guy Shephard
Bill Nighy as The Network (voice)
David Bradley as Basil
Michael Smiley as Reverend Green

Directed by
Edgar Wright

Length 109mins

 



















Review and Summary

When you hear about Simon Pegg and Nick Frost being in a movie, you generally think its going to be awesome. I mean after Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Paul, they have some track records that give you that impression.  Sadly, that isn’t really the case here, what we end up with is something that just isn’t quite there. After a lot of thinking all I can come up with is that somewhere when it was being written, one writer made a right turn, and the other a left turn, those writers being Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.

With Shaun and Fuzz, the stories were pretty simple. It wasn’t really all about setting out to right a wrong, or make a difference in life. They were straight forward stories that were over and done in their running time. TWE is more like Pegg’s movie Run Fatboy Run. It was a movie that had a story to it that was feel good, loser wins type story. With TWE, it’s a tossup whether they are typing to go Fatboy or trying to go Shaun. Unfortunately, they didn’t really make their minds up and we get a bit of a mess.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of laughs worthy of Shaun and Fuzz, as well as their other comedies. But with the interspersed attempts at a romance, loser does good, etc.. it misses the mark for both.

We start off with a monolog from Pegg, he is Gary King, who with his 4 friends, graduated in 1990. To start on their paths to change the world, they decide to do the Golden Mile. It’s a one mile stretch in the town of Newton Haven, with 12 pubs. However, as is the case, they fall short. Now in his 40’’s and looking at his life, he decides that finishing this would help to give him purpose in a life that has been without it.

Long story short, he goes around and collects his 4 pals, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, and Paddy Considine, to join him. Now rather than this just being a midlife crisis type of thing, they decide to put some underlying tension in it between Pegg and Frost. Suffice it to say it’s probably the root of what makes this go sour overall. Pegg and Frost can have tension, but here it’s a whole different thing and it just messes with the majority of the movie in their interactions.

The first 30 minutes of the movie help to get the whole “you can’t go home again” scenario setup. So much so that it really does seem to be forced. Once they do get started on the Golden Mile, things pick up a bit, but again, there is this “wobbling” sensation between comedy and heartfelt story that causes it to move in a drunken manner throughout.

As they hit the first pub a few constants are set. Gary (Pegg) is determined to be recognized, this is his path to making a change in his life. Unfortunately, he isn’t really recognized, and neither are any of the others as well. Another theme is that the pubs have been consistently converted into a standardized format, or chain like nature, where any sense of originality has been removed. This becomes a key factor as we get towards the “chewy nougat” of the story’s end.

Through the course of the first few pubs, Andy (Frost) is quite comfortable not partaking of the frosty beverage. When asked when, we get that the root of that leads to the tension between he and Gary. Years before, Andy driving under the influence to get a stoned Gary to the hospital gets into an accident that not only hurts him physically, but also emotionally as Gary runs away to avoid the police, but at the cost of leaving his best friend nearly dying. The best line of the whole exchange is when Andy states (in so many words) “Walking into a pub full of tough guys and bellying up to the bar, and asking for water takes a lot of confidence in one’s self”.

Another continuing theme through the first few pubs is also finding out what each individuals story is. We learn that Pete was the small guy who was always beat up and picked on. His nightmare comes to fruition when his all-time bully sees him at the pub, but doesn’t recognize him. Steven’s is that he let the right girl get away and never said anything, and the right girl is Oliver’s sister Sam. Oliver’s is that he wanted to be taken seriously, through business and some cosmetic surgery he achieves this. And Andy has problems at home.

By this time, Gary realizes that his plans aren’t going as he wanted, and he pops off to the men’s room. Earlier on the gang had seen a group of teens wondering around, that reminded them of themselves way back when. While in the bathroom, one of the teens walks in. In an effort to get things back on track and establish his position as a legend, he makes small talk with the young man. Unfortunately it leads to a fight, ending with Gary smashing the young man’s head against a urinal. Instead of a gory bloody mess, his head pops up and blue ink like blood squirts out everywhere.

As he is trying to figure out what is going on, Andy, Pete, Steve, and Oliver come into the bathroom finding Gary and the mess. Right behind them are the 4 teenagers. A melee breaks out immediately. Now Im not against violence and such, but the one thing I did find distasteful was that the fight wasn’t what you would expect in an English pub, but was instead that of a kungfu movie. Low and behold, Jackie Chan and his stunt coordinator team were used to choreograph all the fight scenes. I feel that this takes away from the overall appeal of the action. If I wanted to watch a kungfu movie I would have gone and seen one. I wanted to see a Simon Pegg and Nick Frost movie.

So the rest of the movie is pretty much two things. One is being finish out the Pub Crawl, and two get away from the robots, aliens, or whatever they are. So Gary puts it to the group that they need to continue on so that the robots don’t know that they are on to them and they can escape. So, on they go.

Little by little here is what we learn. Essentially there are the robots and the normal townspeople. If you go along with the alien agenda, you get to live. If not, you are replaced with a robot. Later we find out that if you are extremely cooperative, they give you a replacement and you gain eternal youth. To learn all this we have to go through a few more pubs.

As the group progresses, they are whittled down. Oliver and Pete are captured and replaced. Gary, Andy, and Steve make it to The Worlds End, the final pub. However, this also happens to be the Alien’s headquarters, how appropriate. As the 3 are taken down into the hive, we finally get some of the Pegg and Frost interaction that we are dying for.

Pegg with Frost in tow takes on the Alien master in a verbal tirade. Using their skills in nonsense, belittlement, and geek logic, they are able to short circuit the master and give them a headache, resulting in them leaving the Earth. Unfortunately it’s at a price. The aliens objective over the years was to elevate man’s technology, while at the same time programming them to be more “civilized”. So when they leave there is a massive blow back through all the technology in the world and man is returned back to the dark ages.

As the movie ends, some like Andy, Steve, Samantha, robots Oliver and Pete, all try to return to some semblance of normal middle ages like life. Gary, however, now has a purpose in life, and with robot youths of his 4 buddy’s sets off Mad Max style on their quest, as he is The King.

Overall, it’s an entertaining movie. There are plenty of laughs throughout the movie, but the underlying schizophrenic story just saps some of it away. And for me it’s just enough to really sink it for me.

Another issue is that I had to keep reminding myself that this was Simon Pegg and not Johnny Depp. Not sure if he intended to do this or not, but his mannerisms, his speech, his actions, and behaviors all reeked of Johnny Depp. It got to the point where I wondered if they had gotten Depp for the part would it have worked better.

Pegg and Wright are movie geeks, and you get a sampling of stuff throughout the movie that harks back to a lot of the cult hits.  Some that came to mind were Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Mad Max, Aliens, Casablanca, Big Trouble in Little China, Time Bandits, and The Thing.

So what’s good??
 

There are a ton of laughs, when they let go of the need for story, and just do the comedy.

 

The special effects are pretty fair and consistent.

 

Bill Nighy and Pierce Brosnan have some good parts. Rosamund Pike turned in a good piece of work.



Whats bad??
 

It was a comedy and it should have been left as such. Trying to make it some kind of hero or finding ones self type of movie was a mistake.

 

Unlike Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, which are the other two gems in this trilogy, they end it with a really far out result, and it just doesn’t quite work.

 

I think the casting for Pete was a bit wrong. Eddie Marsan is a good actor, but he was just way too old to fit in with Pegg, Frost, and Considnine.



Bottom Line:
This is one of those to wait for when it comes out on the Premium Channels or rent from the kiosk. A bit disappointing at best..

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