Movie Review: The World's End (2013)


The World’s End is an alcohol-fueled movie that owes its success to Simon Pegg’s manic performance, Nick Frost’s character’s simmering rage, an impeccable supporting cast, and spectacular fight scenes. Fans of the "Cornetto Trilogy" will probably rank it below Shaun of the Dead, because zombies, so it must do battle with Hot Fuzz for the number two spot!

The World’s End follows Gary King (Pegg), a “cool kid” in high school who never moved on from those glory years. With absolute madcap confidence and brazen lies, Gary gathers all his friends to complete the quest they failed to do as teenagers: complete the Golden Mile, a 12-bar pub crawl in their hometown. Things start getting weird several bars in, and the group – plus Rosamund Pike – must contend with a suddenly-hostile town population.

The movie crams many themes into an otherwise straightforward plot, themes like growing up/letting go/moving on, friendship, freedom, and conformity. It also unabashedly praises beer, that sweet elixir of the gods. The unexpected ending is about human nature. I shan’t spoil it.

The writing features rapid-fire banter among the characters, and some choice monologues by Gary. Early in, Gary tells a nonplussed innkeep: “Tonight, we will be partaking of a liquid repast--as we wind our way up the Golden Mile, commencing with an inaugural tankard in the First Post, then on to the Old Familiar, The Famous Cock, The Cross Hands, The Good Companion, The Trusty Servant, The Two-Headed Dog, The Mermaid, The Beehive, The King's Head, and the Hole in the Wall for a measure of the same. All before the last bittersweet pint in that most fateful of places, The World's End. So leave a light on, good lady, for although we may return with a twinkle in our eyes, we will be in truth be blind…drunk.” Pegg delivers this line with only one short pause for breath. Very impressive.

Speaking of impressive, Pegg’s expressive face conveys so much, as do Frost’s growls. The two longtime friends and collaborators once again show the bond that makes their movie characters so endearing. Props to Pegg for making Gary slightly more sympathetic than annoying and pitiful, and Frost is so good once his character loosens up that the audience clapped and cheered whenever he dispatched threats in the pubs.

This is a great movie to watch if you adore the Cornetto Trilogy, or want to see Brits getting smashed while being hysterically funny, or if you just like belly laughs. It’s probably better off as a rental if you’re not a diehard supporter of director Edgar Wright, or of Pegg and Frost. That way, laughter from your fellow viewers won't drown out any of the lines. In any case, it’s a solid comedy, so add it to your list!

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