Ah, it’s the final scoop in the fabled “Cornetto” or “blood & ice cream” Trilogy from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It’s been almost 10 years since Shaun of the Dead – can you believe it? Ten years since that little Indie film from Britain invented a genre all of its own (zom-rom-com) and inspired a myriad of clones in the next wave of zombie film saturation.
So, The World’s End. A lot of folk like myself have been hanging out years for this one. After Hot Fuzz, the boys went on to do a handful of separate projects and some were worried that this third film might not even happen. Paul (Frost, Pegg) was good and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Wright) was great but neither fulfilled the needs of the salivating fans who wanted the original trio who brought us Spaced back together again.
Yes, ten years after Shaun of the Dead and twelve after Spaced. How to approach a film that would be the final chapter in a body of work that was so “of its time” in terms of humour and tone? The boys are all older now (no longer boys, really) and fans who love the previous films are nostalgic for a different time. How do you address this and keep it up to date? Well, maybe just have our protagonist as a character who never moved on? It’s a reunion movie on more than one level.
Gary King (Pegg) has been thinking about the past and how the last great thing he ever did was back in his teen years with the old crew when they attempted “The Golden Mile” way back before they all moved on and found lives of their own. The Golden Mile is a pub crawl that involves 12 pubs and 12 pints – which is a pretty good effort if you can do it. They never finished it and Gary thinks it’s about time they did so he contacts and convinces each of them to give it another shot. Things aren’t the same though when you’re twenty years older. People change. Or do they?
As the crawl progresses we learn about the history of our characters and why they’ve become the people they are today. Meanwhile, something’s not quite right about the townsfolk who don’t seem to remember any of them. It soon becomes apparent that the townsfolk aren’t themselves and that they’ve been replaced by something sinister.
Our core cast are in fine form with Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike fulfilling their duties most competently and you’ll recognise a few other faces (and voices) scattered throughout that have been a part of previous excursions to varying degrees. The chemistry between Pegg and Frost is as strong as ever although this time around there’s a twist on their usual character dynamic which shows us how far Frost has come as an actor in his own right.
There are some frenetic action sequences that Wright has skillfully directed having polished his chops on Scott Pilgrim and the effects are top-notch.
In its way, The World’s End revisits the themes of that first film, pays homage to its science fiction inspirations yet still retains the originality (a fine line to balance, I imagine) and charm that the previous two films had.
If you’re a fan, you’ve already seen this. If not, give it a shot and when you’re done – check out the first two (and track down Spaced while you’re at it) as well. You won’t be disappointed.