The Odd Blend in The World’s End

29 Aug

You probably already know The World’s End is a genre blending science fiction comedy but there are a few other odd things thrown into the mix that you might want to know before you buy your ticket. Since it is impossible to see or read or say anything about this movie without also mentioning the rest of the “Cornetto Trilogy” I’ll follow said format.

Shaun of the Dead was a well executed attempt to walk that thin line between the funny and the disturbing that is dark comedy. It was wonderfully British and clever while having all the requisite violence expected in a zombie movie. But toward the end I though it crossed the line a few times, like when the character David was ripped open, disemboweled, and eaten alive, that works in a horror movie but ruins the humorous tone of the film. Also since when is shooting your mom though the head funny? It got a little too graphic at the end and just didn’t fit. I was very disappointed with Hot Fuzz. I didn’t laugh, I didn’t connect, I didn’t care. The only enjoyable part of it was Timothy Dalton. Once again the end of the movie just seemed like it didn’t fit. It goes from being a satire of cop movies to being a gory slasher type movie involving a murderous cloak wearing cult. I will never see that movie ever again.

World's End

In the world of Trilogy final installments The World’s End is no Return of the King but it is no Godfather 3 either. Simon Pegg plays the party animal man-child burn out. He’s very confident and active, and physical. He has to jump over every fence, bush, wall etc. He wants to get the old gang together to relive the greatest night of his life by repeating an epic bar crawl in their small hometown. But after a short time and a couple pints they discover that the town is very different. Namely almost everyone has been replaced with robots.

Here’s what the movie gets right. There is a great group dynamic and a lot of comedy stems from how they all interact. Because the robots don’t consider themselves robots it leads to a slurred discussion on what to call them. There are a few geeky pop culture references and they unofficially decide to use the word “Blanks”. (But I’m going to call them robots because I am a rebel.) This movie is about drinking! Simon Pegg brags about how much he drank, is drinking, and will drink. Binge drinking is a goal in and of itself and despite the threat of aliens they’re going to finish that pub crawl. An inspiring message for all the kids out there, to never give up on your dreams and that sobriety is for quitters. It takes awhile but once the beers start flowing the movie really gets fun. As the characters and the audience piece together the mystery of what’s going on you can spot references to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Then the pacing picks up with lots of brawling, running, and paranoia about who is real. There’s one robot who has legs for arms and it looks so awkward, terrifying, and disturbing, it is awesome. The fight scene with that 4-legged fabrication is my favorite scene. Most sci-fi/comedies are comedies with sci-fi elements. But World’s End is a true sci-fi flick that has funny moments, the imagery is spot on and the robot alert system is reminiscent of Donald Sutherland’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

body snatchers
World's End robots

Here’s what the movie got wrong. Simon Pegg doesn’t fit into his character. He just isn’t an overgrown punk even with all the dialog and funny stuff, the character is forced and fake. Especially when next to Nick Frost who’s cast as the suit and tie serious teetotaler businessman, he’s even more not his character. Since Simon always plays the more serious friend and Nick always plays the immature guy I’m sure they thought swapping would give the audience something new and different. That’s great except you chose to lump these movies together as a ”trilogy” so there should be character continuity. Actually Nick feels more natural once he starts drinking, but Simon’s role is just wrong enough to verify they’re both better at playing their old character types. The beginning starts with a very long drawn out narrated information dump. After that it is a quite unentertaining setup that takes too long to get to happy hour. Then like the other movies in this trilogy the end seems like it is the end of a different movie entirely and The World’s End ending is a total rear end. After all the fast paced action the final confrontation with the alien menace is just Simon yelling at lights. Then it goes full-on apocalypse and is bleak, dark, and as funny as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road plus more long boring narration. Worst of all Simon is denied the last pint of his mission because of his best friend, and is last seen in the movie ordering water at a bar. What The Actual Fuck! In a drinking movie our drunken hero joins AA at the last minute? Bullshit!

This movie had it’s funny moments and the middle was excellent. But if you only see one comedy about Armageddon, Rapture-Palooza or This Is The End are better options.

Carl Wells

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