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.