I’m not really doing full reviews anymore, but when I get incredibly excited about something, I’ll do a long rambly thing like this. I think they’re called reviews. Hm.
The World’s End (2013) - by Edgar Wright
Despite a slow, if not interesting burn of build up and characters, The World’s End adds up its various good parts into something really great, and at the very least interesting when it comes to sci-fi bending and the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy. First off, it’s probably the most emotionally fascinating of the three films, being about old friends and the bad blood between them. Included are some really thoughtful explorations of maturity, growing up, and nostalgia that are sad, true, and are an absolutely worthwhile edge. Frankly, some moments really did make me feel bad for these guys- it all was pulled off really well.
As well, the film is just plain funny. It’s easy at first, though in a weird way. It’s like an Edgar Wright movie is trying to happen, quick wit and camera work and all, and those are there, but the characters’ lives clash with that of the protagonist, who so desperately wants the high energy- it’s a contrast that I’m not sure is intentional that deeply, but it still adds a unique edge. But as soon as the action really kicks in, it turns into your standard fare Edgar Wright movie- exciting and surprising at once. The humor is fast fast FAST, even early on in the slower moments. Pegg and Wright’s writing is some science-dropping wit mastery that is just enthralling to listen to on its own. The more action based gags are in top form and are purely delightful, just as Edgar Wright fans like it. The visuals are impressive, pulling off some really good fight scenes and a tension build up that rivals most plain action films, and even that of good ones. Wright is getting good; damn good. Did I use that right?
The cast works well together. The chemistry between the main friends is strong, and gets stronger as things get intense. Members of the town have that Wright flavor of weirdness to them, but there’s also a sense of earnestness I haven’t really seen since Shaun of the Dead. Michael Smiley, Tyres of Spaced fame, actually plays a very genuine role, and Rosamund Pike plays somewhat of the straight character after the straight characters get drunk, and holds it together very well! She fit in quite nicely. Martin Freeman is hilarious as this constantly busy, blue-tooth toting businessman, Eddie Marsan plays a meek father and man well, and Paddy Considine does a great job as a former business tycoon, and current man of heartbreak. He has an arc with another character that is incredibly sweet and turns out really well.
What surprised me most of all is the obvious kind of table turning of casting for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, wherein Frost normally plays the weirdo and Pegg plays a fairly normal being in comparison, The World’s End has them at opposite ends, and they both do a damn good job. Frost’s seriousness, at least for the first 1/3 of the film, is believable and impressive, and funny in its own right. Pegg’s manic nature as the fascinating Gary King is humorous and inspired all at once. And as soon as all hell breaks loose, the dynamic between these two is such a weird roller coaster of hatred, emotion, violence, and beer that is hilarious and heartbreaking all at once.
Frankly, the latter 2/3 of this movie are truly fantastic. The first portion is good set up, but I can see how it can bother people. It helps to be patient and thoughtful, as it pays off really well in such a weird ending. Where this end up are bittersweet, for sure, but the emotional implications throughout the film are wrapped up in a very satisfying way. In fact, I almost want a sequel. It’s an incredibly well realized, original world from Pegg and Wright that has a lot of worth to it. I know it’s the “end of a trilogy”, but I’ve heard those guys use that term lightly, and I actually would be really interested in a sequel to this. The build-up, though quick and nuts, establishes some story pieces that you almost want more of.
I’m excited for the new territory for all involved to tread from here on out, but forever and always will look forward to when they can work together. Wright shows great promise in being able to work on and possibly develop some deeper material, and Pegg and Frost show great capability as actors. I’d like to see them doing more interesting things, in and out of their wheel houses. The World’s End showed truly impressive work from all three, and as a whole just surprised me a whole lot. While I’m trying to figure out where it stands up against Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I can definitely say it made me feel more emotionally invested and excited by its end than those two did, and I think that really does stand for something.