The World's End is the new action comedy by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nicholas Frost, all of whom I maintain great respect for. I think this is mostly due to the fact that they are still able to churn out films equivalent to independent films but made on a large budget. And The World's End does not disappoint in that respect.
My experience coming into the film was a great deal different than most, as I had no previously conceived expectations. Save only one- I assumed that it was a film about the end of the world, given the title and the team's previous adventures.
Imagine my surprise when a good deal through the film, I found myself settling in for a completely different kind of picture. I accepted that this was about Gary and his merry band of miscreants all grown up, and that I was completely wrong about what I had expected.
Then, out of the blue - BAM! I am proven wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it). And pleasantly so. I found the change in theme executed expertly. However, this could be only due to the fact that I had not watched the trailer or read Wikipedia prior to sitting down and digging in. I consider myself lucky in this regard, being that I am normally the first person to be watching every trailer and making-of in existence.
In writing this, I just realized the pun I made with out of the blue. I swear it wasn't intentional. To avoid any further spoilers, I'll just leave it at that. Those of you who have seen the film know what this means.
World's End is about five forty-something Brit losers who decide to complete some unfinished business from their youth. Actually it's Gary King (Simon Pegg), still wearing his long coat and Sisters of Mercy T-shirt, who is the loser. He's also the one who sells the idea of going on The Golden Mile, a drinking binge through 12 pubs, to his chums.
Gary rounds up the gang, who have all grown into pod people of today's modern society, as far as he is concerned. To the gang, King is a poor sap who has refused to grow up and is still living in the past.
Ultimately, King's friends give in, and what starts off as a seemingly innocent, boring, and disappointing evening, turns into the fight for their lives. And ours...
The subject matter in the film is handled tactfully and with grace. Character development is top notch, and you get a good feel for who these chaps are. Something that is not as easy to bring across in films as it might seem.
This review would be doing you an injustice if I did not mention the cinematography and action sequences. Both are top notch, although one of the slight problems I had with the film was being suddenly thrust into believing that everyone just happened to be a world-class kung fu master. It was hard to swallow at first, and it almost killed the immersion for me, but once you accepted that this was a British comedy by Pegg and Frost, you were once again lost in the film.
In fact, the entire film required a good degree of suspension of disbelief, but it was such a well-crafted treat that this wasn't terribly difficult. The only other time I had a slight issue was at the end, but I won't ruin that for you. Suffice to say, that my gut reaction was that it was silly and that initially I thought it wouldn't work. And you know what? It did. It just did. Kudos to the boys for that.
Edgar Wright has really hit the nail on the head with this film. Balance is the best term that I can use. The balance between the serious, the funny, and the hilarious is uncanny. Almost better than their previous romps, simply because I honestly believe that if anyone else had made this film, it wouldn't have worked.
That, and I can honestly say that it is very different movie. In fact, these were the first words out of my mouth moments after having viewed it, "That was different." But so were Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
At the end of the day, isn't that what we're all after? Something fresh and different from Hollywood? I can honestly say that The World's End delivers that in spades.
So, yes, The World's End is well-crafted, funny as shit, and about the end of the world after all, but you'll just have to watch it to find out, won't you?