True friendship in filmmaking is exactly what the audience gets when they head to the theater to check out any film that director Edgar Wright and actor/writers/producers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are involved in- both on and off the screen. With the cult classics “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” firmly under their belts it was only fitting to finish the ‘Cornetto Trilogy’ up with a film that is different yet equally as satisfying as its predecessors.
It’s “The World’s End” and on August 23rd prepare thy self for a pub crawl unlike anything you have bared witness to before! To provide some additional color, the ‘Cornetto Trilogy’ refers to the ongoing running gag throughout the three films featuring the popular British ice cream brand. In “Shaun.” the color of the ice cream was red to signify blood, in “Hot Fuzz” it was blue to symbolize the police and in “The World’s End,” we find the color green. Since I am trying to keep this review as spoiler free as possible ill cease from telling you what this Cornetto represents. The film reunites Wright, Pegg and Frost yet again to dominate the flick with their brilliant collective humor and dynamic story telling. In “The World’s End” we find Pegg as Gary King, a once ballsy slacker hero in his little town trying to have a pint with his mates at every pub to complete the elusive “Golden Mile” bar crawl. From bars like “The Old Familiar” to “The Mermaid,” they rocked them all but due to overconsumption and generally bad behavior, for one reason or another, the group had previously been unable to complete the “Mile” in their youth. Fast forward into the future and an older, grungier Gary still has these grandiose ideas of finishing the crawl, causing him to constantly relive his past.
The first half of the film takes us on a journey of Gary trying desperately to convince his now grown and vastly mature mates to join him on what they feel is a fruitless waste of time. This reunion and the eventual arrival to the town come off as a melodramatic downer, tricking the audience into thinking the entire film is going to be one of depression, self-discovery and ultimately redemption. Now, I’m not saying that these moments of revelation do not occur, but it certainly isn’t a boring path to get there. Once the mates- who include Martin Freeman from the original version of The Office and several players from other Wright films- are knee deep in their pub crawl into the past, this is where the film truly sprouts legs; big hairy out of this world legs. It’s imperative that viewers avoid watching the trailer or any TV spots, as they will surely spoil one of the greatest narrative shifts in film since “From Dusk Till Dawn.” Stay far away from these visual spoilers and you will be happily rewarded when Pegg’s Gary King takes a faithful trip to the bathroom.
Many if not all of the jokes in the film land smack in your face, causing true belly laughter. The dry British wit paired with some of the most incredible psychical comedy this writer has seen in years makes ‘The World’s End’ a near perfect package for your hard earned dollar or should I say pound? The overall interplay with the cast is extremely refreshing like a nice cold pint of ale. Nary a minute of screen time is wasted on film to simply bump the story ahead. Wright, Pegg and Frost are true cinema geeks and have taken the time to study the nuances of the film genres they hold dear. Whether a zombie invasion or a buddy cop flick, they understand what makes these escapes from reality so much fun. In “The World’s End,” the audience will clearly see this outstanding team’s passion for Science Fiction, which we’ll admit, is the film’s only spoiler that we’re willing to divulge.
- Jay Rubin
“The World’s End” starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Martin Freeman is rated R, has a runtime of 109 minutes, and is released on Friday, August 23rd.