WORLD'S END, THE
20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hell bent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by mate Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40-year old man trapped at the end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their home town and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub, The World's End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind's. Reaching The World's End is the least of their worries.
Review by Louise Keller:
There's a wonderful zany energy about this offbeat comedy from the Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz team whose exposition relies on a winning combination of character, ideas and execution. It may not sizzle, but the film is great fun and delivers more than you expect. Simon Pegg, who penned the script with director Edgar Wright leads the charge, dragging us along with his initially reticent school buddies on a pub crawl to rival them all. The film is packed with inventive ideas and surprises, although it is how the surprises are revealed that proves to be the best and funniest part. At its heart, the film is a buddy movie with a hilarious twist; a blast of entertainment that will appeal to the juvenile within.
After a brief flashback to 1990 describing the circumstances in which five school friends embark on an indulgent pub-crawl into perceived manhood, we meet all the main characters. As Pegg's Gary King tries to recruit his old pals to join him in this one nostalgic attempt to reconquer the fun and spontaneity of their youth in their home town of Newton Haven, we get a clear picture that fun and spontaneity has since gone walkabout. Pegg, his hair dyed black and wearing all black is the group's fully-charged battery, with enough enthusiasm to effect lift off. Pegg is terrific, especially in the way he manages to inject a melancholy undertone to his effervescent, occasionally obnoxious character. Nick Frost, as Gary's former best buddy Andy is the perfect foil and the fact that Andy is now a teetotaller, adds to the lunacy of the pub-crawl; ordering four glasses of amber and one of rainwater is hardly conducive to a good time for all.
As to be expected, Andy's teetotalling is reconsidered and after a sequence that begins with an altercation in the men's room, the phrases 'Marmalade sandwich', 'Blue blood' and 'Seeing the light' take on a whole new meaning. Rosamund Pike, whose comedic sense complements her beauty, is a great addition to the cast, and Pierce Brosnan is a welcome presence. Meanwhile, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan each add their own strengths to the mix. The names of the 12 pubs visited are as atmospheric as the pubs themselves (The Two Headed Dog, The Famous Cock) and the irony of the film's title being the final pub does not escape us. The ending fails to soar but there's lots of fun along the way.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Simon Pegg's on screen persona is the perfect embodiment of the immature Englishman, happily hanging on to the joys of juvenilism well after its 'use by' date. That's why he has so many fans who identify with him. He's managed this persona in a variety of roles and despite subtle differences, it remains his biggest ongoing advantage. Although that persona has never excluded alcohol, in The World's End, binge drinking of one pint beers takes this to new heights as the central motif, one relished to the bitter end, literally. So, even more reasons for the appeal of a film in which five English grown ups go on a nostalgic pub crawl in the sleepy hamlet of Newton Haven to try and finish what 20 years ago they couldn't quite manage, due to lack of stamina or other impediments.
The story would be rather thin and repetitious if that was all there was, and it does tire somewhat even though there is indeed more, of which I won't write to avoid spoiling it for those who wish to get in touch with their own inner juvenile and check it out.
Of the few things that even adult sensibilities would approve, one is Rosamund Pike who turns up and discovers that Gary King (Simon Pegg) is just as boorish and crass as he ever was when she first knew him 20 years earlier, as a friend of her brother's.
But all the cast is great fun as they work through some of the comedy material worked into the screenplay, which relies on a few crazy twists and high range sci-fi-based fantasy. So high range in fact that it becomes parody, and while this has a certain appeal, it just doesn't engage. The screenplay also weaves some dramatic notes into the story, a touch of black humour and a dose of rediscovered friendship.
All these elements should be enough to make the film funny, moving and surprising - but it just doesn't quite all come together enough to be the ripper it wants to be.
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WORLD'S END, THE (MA15+)
CAST: Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, David Bradely, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, Mark Heap, Julian Seager
DIRECTOR: Edgar Wright
SCRIPT: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bill Pope
EDITOR: Paul Machliss
MUSIC: Steven Price
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marcus Rowland
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 1, 2013