I had brunch with a friend who hadn’t seen any part of the Cornetto trilogy (that’s something only nerds call it, right?) (I’ve never said it out loud because I am NOT a nerd) before seeing The World’s End this weekend. He asked, “What should I know before going in to see the movie?” I said, “You don’t have to know anything.” Then I went back to shoving food into my face and drinking my mimosa really fast so I could get another one before we had to go. Then he said, “But, what should I expect style-wise? Are there any running themes?” ?! Can you believe the nerve of this person? Trying to get me to have a conversation about the movie we’re going to see while I’m trying to eat my brunch in silence?! So I told him to expect music in scenes, and he said, “Oh, like music that tells you more about what’s going on?” And I said, “No, just music.” Hahah. Then I said, “Also comedic violence and quick cuts.” Then he stopped asking me questions, finally. I wish I could have said something that I could use to enlighten one of the themes of the movie, or at least something I could use to segue into a review, but I AM RUDE AT BRUNCH. C’est la vie. I was right about all of those, though! They were all in there! Let’s talk about what else was!

The World’s End is the final chapter in Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost’s trilogy, which also includes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It follows five friends who are goaded, for whatever reason, by their former ring-leader/current deadbeat friend into going on a pub crawl in their home town that they failed to complete 20 years earlier. Two bars in, they find out the town has been taken over by alien robots full of blue stuff that they choose to refer to as “blanks.” The continue on the bar crawl because that is what the movie is. ARE WE ALL CAUGHT UP? OKAY!

I want to say first that this was a fun movie that I had fun seeing and enjoyed overall. With that out of the way, I’d like to list every minor problem I had with it. Hahah. You thought you could just make a fun movie without people picking it apart?! Give me a break! I do think the premise felt forced. The moment I can imagine a drunk screenwriting student pitching his or her secret movie idea to me is the moment I become unable to suspend my disbelief, and that moment happened pretty much instantly. Meaning, from the beginning when Simon Pegg’s character decides that he wants to give the pub crawl a second try because some dork asks if he’s sad he didn’t complete it, to when all of his friends agree to join him, to when they continue on the pub crawl even after they realize the town is infested with blanks, to allowing Simon Pegg to win easily counter-able arguments because “you just can’t argue with [him],” everything that happens seems to happen only because it has to in order for the plot to move along. This is sometimes successfully played for comedy — when it’s mentioned that they’re continuing on the pub crawl because they’re all drunk no one has a better idea — but, more often, is distractingly careless. (FOR ME!) (NOT THAT I DID NOT ENJOY THE MOVIE, BECAUSE I DID!) It felt a bit forced in a way that Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz did not, is all.

The plot structure also left something to be desired. After we met the blanks at the third bar, all we did was think of excuses to keep going around to more bars to meet more blanks. I know that’s the whole THING of it, but maybe the whole THING of it needed to be reevaluated? Characters had revelations along the way, but the strict bar-to-bar structure didn’t do them any favors. Or maybe none of it matters, because:

It was enjoyable! The fight scenes were enjoyable. It was fun to watch the characters. There were a good amount of laughs. It had something to say, and it said it in a heartfelt and kind way. In a summer of unoriginal, disappointing blockbusters, I think we can safely score this one as a win. I just don’t have as much to say about how it was a win, because it’s much easier to voice complaints! LOL. Anyway. What did you think? Did you have fun? I hope you did! That’s all the matters.

Comments (35)
  1. I saw this movie last week! I really liked it! Better than Shaun Of The Dead? Maybe! Better than Hot Fuzz? Definitely! Although Hot Fuzz was very good, too!

    I did not necessarily think that it felt forced, but I DID kind of like it better before the reveal of the killer robots, when it was more grounded in reality. Maybe not BETTER, necessarily, but it was a diferent movie before that point. And they were both enjoyable!

    And I cannot think of any other comedic duo that can switch up who’s playing the straight man like Pegg and Frost demonstrated here. That’s talent.

    • I love how they switched it up too~

      Shaun of the Dead: Both losers
      Hot Fuzz: Simon Pegg = Straight Man
      The Worlds End: Nick Frost = Straight Man

      Nice n’ equal~

  2. I thought the ending was pretty weird, like “well, that escalated fast!” weird. I did not see that coming at all haha.

    Also I loved Nick Frost: Action Hero. That was awesome.

    I think more things about this movie but I will probably just be replying to people with those thoughts because I am not very good at talking about movies by myself!

    • Oh I also expected for them to reference “the greater good” a couple times in certain spots but they never did it!

    • Me too! I have been thinking about this movie a lot since I saw it, but now, I got nothin’ to say.

      Man, I hope somebody besides the two of us shows up here. Otherwise we’re just gonna sit here, mumbling at each other awkwardly and looking down at our feet.

    • I thought the ending came out of nowhere at first (particularly the flash-forward postscript part), but then I thought about it some more and realized that the movie is called [spoiler alert] “The World’s End”, so I don’t know what I was expecting honestly. Also loved how the conversation about they winkingly explain what would happen if there had been five musketeers instead of three and then proceed to do exactly that.

  3. This was very funny and very entertaining and more emotionally resonant than the first two films. I really enjoyed it. I guess maybe the sci-fi conceit could have been a little more complex, but that’s all redeemed by the fantastic ending and epilogue. MOVIE. OF. THE. AUGUST. Probably year.

  4. I thought it was pretty great, and I didn’t think the premise was that forced since it wasn’t a dork who asked him if he was sad about it: Gary was in counseling for his suicide attempt and was thinking back to the last time he was happy. It’d make sense that he’d want to try and recreate that rather than addressing his real problems.

    Continuing on with the pub crawl in the face of the blanks was, I thought, rather novel as well. Rather than have the movie pull a total gear shift into something else, it remained the same while using the blanks as a way to mount the tension as the film continued before it finally “broke.” It allowed the film to have its own unique rhythm and tone without falling into something that felt more specifically like a genre spoof. Because of this, I’d actually argue that The World’s End is the most assured of all three films in that Wright, Pegg, and Frost didn’t feel the need to follow the blueprints of an existing genre, but rather, they combined elements of various tropes that allowed them to tell the character story they wanted while still making it fantastical and a lot of fun.

    • Continuing the pub crawl made a weird sort of sense, too. Who HASN’T been in a situation where they really should leave, but they’ve been drinking too much to drive, and it just seems like a lot of effort anyway?

      • Agreed. Not to mention, by that point, they had enough of a buzz to make it seem like a good idea. I’m fairly certain most people who drink have had nights that seem like they’re going downhill, but because they’re liquored up, they’re more willing to roll with the shenanigans than bounce. It felt like an exaggerated riff on that.

    • Gary may be a pathetic fuck-up, but he’s still the leader of their group. I feel like that’s reason enough to justify their continuing the pub crawl. Even though he’s the most embarrassingly forthright about his nostalgia, it still kind of has some power over all of them. It’s not forced at all to have a tight-knit group of friends reunite and revert to their natural social organization.

    • I thought it did seem forced-ish but I sort of thought that was part of the satire; it’s a very clever take one that sort of Old School/Hangover type of genre where it continually, subtly point out how sad and fucked up that guy’s life would be if it were real. Like, before the big reveal about Simon Pegg’s character’s suicide it was all sort of slowly revealing sadder and sadder revelations about the Pegg/Frost friendship. So because those movies are kind of forced and people would never actually put up with all those shennanigans I kind of liked how thin the premise was at times.

  5. Guys, I have not seen this movie. Sorry, I was ill this weekend. BUT neverabadidea is on her way to Boston (exclusively to see me and for no other reason, jk) and thus cannot post on the mobile site, but she wanted to say, “[T]ell monsters that World’s End was all sorts of great and everyone should see it with a big audience, because everyone else laughing makes you laugh more.”

    • Well YOU tell HER that I do not value the opinions of those who cannot be bothered to speak for themselves. She can STAY in Boston for all I care!

    • I think the only disappointing part of the movie was that it was in a huge theater, and there were maybe only twenty other people.

      • I dunno, I kind of enjoy seeing movies without a lot of other people around. But it really depends on the movie, too. But mostly I just do not like people who cannot go to a theater by themselves. You’re going to be sitting in silence for 1 1/2 – 2 hours! You do not need a familiar face in your peripheral vision!

  6. So, I saw it Thursday night when they ran the whole trilogy (gentlemen?) and I loved it, although it hit far too close to home at times. These guys having a sort of midlife crisis (except for Gary who is stuck in extended adolescence) and only being a 4 or so years older than me, listening to the same music and having many of the same cultural references really hit me hard. I was friends with a kid that had that Sisters of Mercy shirt. I had that Ankh necklace. I bought (to my eternal dismay) a Soup Dragons album. So it was very funny, but super true about this sort of weird time in my life that I find myself in.

    I loved it, I want to see it again. It was a slice of fried gold.

    • That’s always a little uncomfortable, to see people who have some similarities to yourself in a movie, and see how they’re trying to change that. The opposite of that is telling people to go see a movie, because the main character reminds you a lot of them. I did that to several people with Bucky Larson, and when they asked what I meant, I just said “Trust me, go see it, you’ll see what I’m talking about.” I never even saw Bucky Larson! But like 80% of the people in the world who did only did so because I tricked them into it.

    • I also saw it with the whole trilogy and think it made me appreciate the little in jokes even more than I might have if I hadn’t just seen shaun of the dead and hot fuzz. I absolutely, crazy loved it. I thought it was super fun and I loved waiting to see Nick Frost go full on destroyer — it was absolutely worth the wait. I think it was trick for them because they had to navigate all of these other relationships instead of just two bffs, but I thought it was handled well.

      I think the relationships in this were more complex than the like “oh come here ya big dope — i love you” that they’ve historically done, and that was really exciting for me to watch. I like that even the more adult characters have all these weird hang ups from their high school days (stars of the worlds end – they’re just like us!), and it was really rewarding for me to get to see them confronting those feelings.

      There were also some great moments about growing up and coming back home and how weird and disillusioning that can be, and I thought the fantastical elements were a fun way to explore and play with that.

      Also: the use of music, and music that was on like, every mix tape I ever made in the 90s absolutely delighted me.

      Fried gold, indeed

  7. I, too, enjoyed it, but not as much as the earlier Cornetto movies (I fucking said it). For me, it was a combination of what Kelly and artdork have already mentioned. I would say Hot Fuzz was my favorite of the three, but probably because of the three genres covered, action movies are by far my favorite.

    • Hot Fuzz was my least favorite, but probably because I only saw it once. I saw Shaun Of The Dead a gazillion times, and I liked it more every time. I think Edgar Wright’s films have to be viewed multiple times to really thoroughly enjoy them.

  8. Another vote for Hot Fuzz as the favorite. To paraphrase a friend (actually, to straight up plagiarize a friend), World’s End felt like Diet Wright. I enjoyed it well enough; and I did love that Simon Pegg never became a truly lovable loser. But for me, the anxiety in re: conformity and aging played better/ rang more truly in Shaun of the Dead.

    • Yeah, but I felt like they were two different themes. Shaun Of The Dead was about growing up and leaving your old friends behind, whereas The World’s End was more about catching up.

  9. This weekend I went to the local “indie” theater to see a double feature: 11:00 AM screening of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, then three pints and a roast beef sandwich at Friendly Toast, and finally a 2:00 pm screening of The World’s End. I was a bit upset with myself that I had that third pint because for the first twenty minutes of the movie, I had a stomach ache. Waaaaah! Life’s tough! But then the blue-blooded bots were getting their butts kicked and I just felt so much better. The whole movie felt like a nice fun ride. I mean, yes, that they continued to the next bar and the next bar and the next bar felt a little stale but then you have to take into consideration that the four “grown-ups” encouraged him to quit the pub crawl after the robots were revealed.

    Anyway, all I have to say is it seemed like I wouldn’t fall head-over-heels with this one instantly. And in truth, I didn’t love the first two either. It was only after half a dozen views of each that I caught so many more jokes and foreshadowings that were overt and hilarious that we, the audience didn’t catch such unsubtle hints at what’s to come. So I’m stoked for this gem to come out on blu-ray and for me to devour it over and over again.

    (Side note: Despite the name which seemed to inspire “ugh indie movies” groans, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was a fantastic film with my fave indie star, Ben Foster rocking a mustache throughout. Rooney Mara did a great job being a young restless mom, even if her voice was ridiculously deep and faux-southern. But I think the biggest surprise was… SPOILER ALERT! Just kidding Skinny Pete plays a crook who is out to get his employer’s money back from Casey Affleck’s character. Skinny Pete of Breaking Bad, to clarify, or as he’s also known as Charles Baker. Great movie weekend!)

    • It should have been three roast beef sandwiches and a pint. That’s a much better lunch.

      • I agree. But I’m a small man with a small appetite and yet I can drink so much beer. Also, this place, Friendly Toast, has something called Cheesy Fries that is I believe blue cheese and gouda on french fries with a strawberry-habanero dip. It. Is. Amazing.

        • Fucking hell, I want that SO MUCH right now. You have no idea how hard it is to find basically ANYTHING around here with blue cheese in it. I would kill for a blue cheese pizza! Or a sandwich with blue cheese on it! There is one restaurant, my favorite restaurant in town, that has tater tots covered with a blue cheese sauce, but it’s not in a very convenient location.

  10. True, but the I think the overarching anxiety animating the characters (certainly Pegg’s characters in both) was a general fear of aging and what that means — whether that’s something to be embraced, or something to run from. In any case, I liked World’s End well enough, and I’ll watch it again to pick up on the stuff that you only catch on repeat viewings. But this was definitely the Return of the Jedi of the trilogy for me.

  11. 10 years ago, when I was starting out in this world we call work, I turned down a job as Edgar Wright’s assistant. Who’s laughing now? (HE IS. HE DEFINITELY IS)

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