Once again, what the hell took me so long to see this movie? That is a question I’ve asked myself too many times recently. Today I felt like I was watching the final movie of a trilogy. Only I wasn’t. But I kinda was. Today’s film is the 2013 Edgar Wright Sci-Fi/Comedy The World’s End.
I say that this movie isn’t part of a trilogy because technically it’s a stand alone movie and stand alone story, but it is the third in a series of movies directed by Wright and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Nicknamed Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (also known as the Cornetto trilogy or the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy), the series includes today’s movie, 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, and 2007’s Hot Fuzz. The three movies take a funny look at a zombie movie, a cop movie, and a sci-fi movie – and they all have a reference to the Cornetto ice cream treat.
The best part about this movie is, if you knew nothing about the story going into it – you would have NO IDEA what you were in for. The story revolves around a group of friends who, when they were kids, attempted to do an epic pub crawl in their home town. 12 pubs and 12 pints in one night, finishing at “The World’s End” pub. They never finished their quest as kids and all of them have grown up and movied on, except for Simon Pegg’s character, Gary King.
Now, 20 years later, Gary wants to reunite the crew, go back to their home town, and do the pub crawl right. He coerces all his former friends to join him for an amazing evening, even though not all of them are that thrilled to be there. They all have jobs and families and responsibilities now, but Gary is still living in the past, still dressing the same, dying his hair the same, driving literally the same car – and even listening to the same tape in the car’s stereo.
See, that alone is a movie right there. That alone would make for a fun comedy about growing up vs. living in the past.
But that wouldn’t be an Edgar Wright movie, would it?
See, when they go back to their town they notice things are a little different. People are acting weird and nobody seems to remember them. Finally when Pegg’s character goes to the bathroom he ends up in a fight with a young man….And ends up pulling off his head.
Not chopping his head up. Literally – pulling it off.
That is when this movie takes a major turn from a standard comedy – to a hilariously strange science fiction adventure. I feel like I’ve already said too much in giving away how the rest of this movie goes. Just know that what is going on in this sleepy little British town, is part of something much, much larger, and the big explanation and ultimate climax of this movie are both hilarious and great.
A few things to note
- I love Simon Pegg in this movie. He and Nick Frost always work off of each other so well. If you didn’t know, the two of them – and director Edgar Wright – before all these movies, did a television show together called Spaced. I’ve seen every episode and loved it.
- There is a gag where a character tries to hop a fence that actually is used in all three movies (World’s End, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) and it makes me laugh every time.
If you like British comedy – hell if you just like to laugh – I think you’d enjoy this movie. It’s smartly written with great acting (and hey, there’s Bilbo). It was a lot of fun, and I’m mad that I didn’t see this movie in the theaters when it came out. But then again, if I did – I wouldn’t have been able to watch it today.