The World's End is the unofficial third entry in a trilogy of (seemingly) unrelated genre-parody movies done by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Shaun of the Dead gave us a movie that pokes fun at zombie movies, Hot Fuzz obliterated buddy cop movie cliches and we now have The World's End, which attempts to give current sci-fi a reason to feel embarrassed.
In 1990, Gary King (Simon Pegg) was the leader of a group of rebellious teens who make the cast of Skins look like respectable youths. Fast forward 20 years and King is now an alcoholic who can't let go of the past.
Meanwhile, King's group of once-adoring sidekicks have become estranged, settling into adulthood with careers and families. In an effort to reunite them and relive the old days, King manipulates the gang into having one final night out in their hometown of Newton Haven.
The night in question is the completion of "The Golden Mile," a 12-pub crawl that the group wasn't able to complete 20 years ago that King now obsesses over finishing. The final pub in that mile is aptly named "The World's End," a symbol of the chaotic finale Gary King seems fixated on.
By itself, the first act of the movie would be enough to solidify a great story about a grown man who makes the audience cringe with his increasingly absurd antics. Simon Pegg's performance as King is his best yet, in my opinion, and is simply fun to watch, especially since this is a bit of a deviation for Pegg as an actor.
Of course, this is Edgar Wright, so the movie takes a turn for the apocalypse by the second act, as the group discovers that their hometown has been invaded by what they hilariously describe as "blue-filled robots."
In order to keep the "robots" from knowing their discovery, the group decides to finish the Golden Mile anyway. Because of this, the gang gets even more drunk and begins making crazy decisions that would normally make the audience cry plot hole.
Instead, we are treated to a visually fun and frantic comedy that had me laughing wildly throughout.
Though Pegg and Nick Frost steal the screen as the main cast, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the secondary characters who completed what King calls "The Five Musketeers." Each character in the group was very interesting and had their own complicated personalities, giving me an actual reason to root for them in their plight.
That makes me sad to say that the love interest, Sam (played by Rosamund Pike) was a bit too one-dimensional compared to her counterparts and didn't contribute enough to the plot in my opinion.
Still, the movie is well-done in terms of dialogue, acting and story. It was refreshing to watch something that took risks and aimed for unpredictability.
If there's one thing I loved most about this movie, it would be how well they treated the character arc for Gary King, a fictional person with a surprising amount of depth for a comedy. Also, the conclusion of the film is easily my favorite movie ending this year. Seriously, they nailed it.
Is it worth watching?
This is a must-watch for fans of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and even classic sci-fi movies in general. The jokes and mayhem are a bit raunchy, but the R-rating doesn't include nudity. The humor is deadpan at times, so if you're not a fan of British entertainment, you may want to go for the rental for this one.
Otherwise, I have little doubt you will have a good time with this movie.
Jon Negroni is the author of the Pixar Theory and other movie-related conspiracies. For more of his odd opinions you might care about, check out jonnegroni.com or follow him on Twitter @JonNegroni