The final film in Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto trilogy” has arrived, and it’s pretty good. Well, perhaps not as good as Shaun of the Dead, but I preferred it to Hot Fuzz. It is less laugh-out-loud funny than both (though it is funny), but it is also more poignant.
The plot involves five men all around aged around 40, returning to their home town to undertake a pub crawl that will culminate in the eponymous World’s End pub. Gary (Simon Pegg) recounts in the opening moments how this particular pub crawl was attempted the day they all left school, but they didn’t quite get to the final pub. Considering the crawl unfinished business, Gary persuades his initially reluctant old friends to join him, only to find along the way that the occupants of their home town have been body-snatched by robotic alien beings.
It’s all extremely daft (and incidentally full of swearing and what the BBFC calls “strong sexual references”), but beneath the comedy-alien-invasion-apocalypse-during-a-pub-crawl premise lurks a serious message about growing up. There is also arguably an anti-globalist subtext; possibly anti-EU but most definitely anti big corporations/chains taking over local businesses (especially pubs).
Performances are all good. Cornetto regulars Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are joined by Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Cosidine and Rosamund Pike. Like Hott Fuzz, this also features a supporting role from an ex-James Bond, in this case Pierce Brosnan. Bill Nighy pops up too (sort of).
Special effects are limited but very well done, and anyone who was in their late teens in the early nineties (like me) will greatly appreciate the pop soundtrack. The likes of Blur, Suede, Pulp, Charlatans and Kylie Minogue all punctuate key scenes, and one track by hilariously overblown late 80s gothic band Sisters of Mercy also plays an amusing role in the plot.
All things considered, The World’s End is well worth a look if you enjoyed the previous films.
Simon Dillon, July 2013.