Saturday, August 24, 2013

The World's End review

One small film, released back in 2004, changed everything when it came to niche, genre cinema: Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead. Now, Shaun of the Dead didn't necessarily change movies, but it showed us three great new comedic talents in the form of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright. Since then, we've seen Pegg in Star Trek and Mission: Impossible, Frost in Paul and The Adventures of Tintin, and Edgar Wright has directed Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and now, The World's End. Although Star Trek and Mission: Impossible are blockbuster franchises, all of the other films that Pegg and Frost have starred in have not been major financial successes. With all that aside, we come to The World's End, the final film in Wright's Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy. I haven't seen Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, but I thought the trailer for The World's End looked hilarious. So I went in with cautious optimism for The World's End and it definitely met my expectations in some aspects and blew me away in others.

The World's End is the story of five friends: Gary (Simon Pegg), Andy (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Peter (Eddie Marsan). When they were teenagers, the group tried to complete an epic pub crawl called The Golden Mile, in which you must drink twelve pints at twelve pubs, from The First Post to The World's End. The group failed, and they all went their separate ways. Four of the guys grew up, but Gary didn't and now he wants to get the group back together to try the pub crawl again. Somehow, Gary manages to convince everyone to come back to Newton Haven, their hometown to attempt to finish the Golden Mile. However, when they get back, not everything is how they remembered. 

The World's End was one of my most anticipated films for the second half of the year. Not because I loved Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz (as I said, I haven't seen either), but because the trailer looked great and it kind of reminded me of a 1950's B-movie where there's just total ridiculousness all around mixed with a quirky, raunchy comedy. And it is that movie. The World's End is the funniest movie that I have seen in theaters this year. Hands down. It's the funniest movie that I have seen in years, and probably one of the funniest that I have ever seen. This movie made me laugh almost constantly. However, despite being packed with hilarity, it isn't without its problems. 

The World's End puts Simon Pegg in the lead role once again, this time as Gary King. Pegg fully embodies this character and does a great job in the role. Pegg is hilarious but the standout performances come from Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan. About half of this movie takes place while the characters are drunk, which actually adds a lot of comedic value to it. You would think that it would make the movie excessively stupid, but it doesn't. Marsan just has some great lines when he is drunk and it was a lot of fun to watch Frost play the stuck-up guy who eventually gets drunk and goes crazy. Pierce Brosnan and Bill Nighy also have fun cameo roles. 

The plot is well-executed in some aspects, but it isn't so great in others. The film is set up incredibly well, with a series of scenes with Gary and his friends before they head to Newton Haven. Once they get there, it also keeps going strong. It's fast, funny and hilarious. But for that first half hour, it has a bit of a serious edge to it, and once the "apocalypse" comes in, it sort of loses that. It's a little scattered in its set-up of the invasion in Newton Haven, but it ultimately sticks the landing for that plotline in one stunning scene. And it almost loses you with its super-fast pacing in the second act, but during the third act, it finally bring in some dramatic moments to make the film feel a bit more even. It's clear that Edgar Wright wanted to make a comedy with drama, unlike other comedies where the drama is forced. So in the end, that is my major complaint about this film. It's second act is slightly messy and sometimes unfunny, but it is kept afloat by some stunning action scenes during that time and first and third acts that blew me away. 

So, the movie is a little scatter-brained at times. Did I have any other problems with the film? No. I didn't. I really didn't. This is a great comedy, and when a comedy becomes slightly overwhelming, you know that it did its job well. The jokes come fast and furiously and they all pay off. It's just a funny movie. I think that I had another problem with the film that isn't the films fault. It's too smart. This is an insanely smart comedy, but it is also so, so funny. That kind of clashes at times. You're too busy laughing to pay attention to the fine details. But, I'm glad to say that Edgar Wright has made an intelligent comedy because there aren't many comedies that can do that without being insanely depressing. 

This was my first taste of Edgar Wright's filmmaking style, and I really loved it. Wright not only can write a hilarious comedy, but he also can direct too. This guy does some really interesting stuff with the camera, he puts in some cool shots, and his action sequences are filmed very well. Wright has directing chops and The World's End made me really excited for Ant-Man (I hope Simon Pegg stars in it). Plus, Edgar Wright does a fantastic job with all the action scenes. 

Look, unless your expectations were insanely high and as long you can laugh at a slightly different style of humor, you will likely at the least, enjoy The World's End. It's fast, funny and a whole lot of fun. That's the word to describe this movie: fun. It's just loads of fun. It's a movie that I will pop in the Blu-Ray player and watch with friends at parties. And if you really like this duo and Edgar Wright, you will love this movie. 

In the end, despite a few narrative problems, The World's End is an extremely well-made, well-executed mix of genres. It's pretty R-rated in the language section and of course there's loads of drinking, but everywhere else the film is pretty tame. Edgar Wright is a fantastic action director and I can't wait to see him do more stuff. But for now, just sit back, relax and enjoy the best comedy of the last several years, and one of the best films of 2013, a film that has interesting themes, a smart story, and tons of fun action: The World's End.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A                                            (9.7/10)

1 comment:

  1. This is fun little film but on the end nothing special.