Oops. Forgot I had a blog there for a minute.
One of my favorite comedies of the last decade was the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost collaboration “Hot Fuzz” and their other film, “Shaun of the Dead”, is recognized as a cult hit. Needless to say, there was some anticipation on my end for what was promised to be the final chapter of this little trilogy.
“The World’s End” teams up director Wright and the Pegg/Frost duo with other talented actors like Martin Freeman, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan and Paddy Considine to deliver their unique take on sci-fi invasion films. Pegg plays Gary King, a washed-up juvenile delinquent still living off of past glory who decides to round up his childhood friends for a night tearing up their hometown. Years ago, the pack (Pegg, Frost, Considine, Marsan and Freeman) attempted a drinking challenge known as the Golden Mile (12 pints in 12 pubs) but failed. After some scheming and manipulation, King is able to convince his reluctant former friends to give it another go. As if the reunion weren’t awkward enough, the boys stumble upon an “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”-type scenario after noticing many odd changes to their hometown.
The premise may seem a bit odd, but this group has done a great job with their past two films of making the laughs work with other elements of the story. Here they manage to weave an interesting sci-fi tale with some of the year’s best comedic material. I’m not sure I can say it’s funnier than “Hot Fuzz” for me, but the film is easily one of the year’s best. Since its creators have such a passion for what they are doing, fans of the series can find all kinds of nods to previous films and inside jokes. However, if you’re not familiar with “Shaun of the Dead” or “Hot Fuzz”, the film will still make perfect sense to you.
It would be easy for a film like this to rest solely on its jokes and space invaders twist, but there is real character development for each member of the drinking crew. While all five of the men provide admirable performances, Simon Pegg really shines through with a strong showing. I honestly wouldn’t be shocked by his name being in the mix for a Golden Globe nomination.
One of the only negative things about the film is that it requires a bit of strained faith to understand the progression of the plot. Even after the group discovers the secret of the town, they decide to continue their pub crawl in order to keep up appearances. This is one of a few instances where “drunk logic” keeps the plot moving. The only other thing to point out is that the film’s ending feels a little bit underwhelming at first viewing. Given more time to think about it, it’s not too big of a problem though.
On top of its quality science fiction and great dialogue, there is a lot of heart in “The World’s End”. As the characters mature and the story progresses, the film has a good bit to say about addiction, friendship and a few other topics that might appeal to audiences. After a summer of lackluster popcorn movies, this is a film that truly entertains.
Next up for review is “Riddick”, the third live-action film of the Vin Diesel series. Hoping it’s good since I’ve waited through many Fast and Furious movies for Diesel to return to the role.