Updated: Jul 10, 2021
(c) Universal Pictures. Video courtesy of Universal Pictures via Youtube.
Have you ever caught up with some mates from high school and noticed that one of your mates hasn’t really moved on from their “glory days”? What about coming back to your hometown to discover that it’s been taken over by aliens’ hell-bent on converting the entire world to their rule.
Well now that I’ve spoiled the big reveal for the film, might as well drop the vague mysterious act and get into what makes the final installment of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy – The World’s End – such a great film.
The film follows Gary King (Simon Pegg) as he lassoes his high school mates together for another attempt at the infamous Golden Mile pub crawl back in their hometown that they attempted years earlier that Gary describes as the best night of his life. As you can probably guess, Gary’s never been able to move on from this night while the rest of his friends have moved on to bigger and better things.
So far, so midlife crisis for Gary the alcoholic. This isn’t anything too special for most films like this, especially when they finally reach their hometown and absolutely no one remembers or recognises them.
Things start to take a turn in the film once the group gets a couple of pubs in and end up in the middle of a full-out bathroom brawl. This seems like a typical Saturday night out at first but then Gary smashes one of the guy’s heads into a urinal and cracks it open, spilling blue blood oil stuff everywhere.
No, you didn’t get some pages from the latest sci-fi action blockbuster mixed in with the script, this is still The World’s End. This sets the plot off down a rabbit hole as the gang realises that aliens have infiltrated the town – Invasion of the Body Snatchers style. Luckily for Gary and his addiction, the gang reluctantly decides to continue on with their pilgrimage to disguise the knowledge of their discovery to the rest of the town.
I won’t spoil anything else for you but the way the film was tracking by the halfway point I thought I had the film figured out and knew what was going to happen by the end. I was so wrong and should have given Edgar Wright way more credit than I had.
The third act is filled with comedic gold, thrilling action, a twist I didn’t see coming, and an absolutely emotionally devastating scene between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. All of this culminates in an ending that felt like the perfect offbeat, quirky ending for the offbeat, quirky trilogy that is The Cornetto Trilogy.
A portion of the credit has to go to Edgar Wright’s direction and the script but for me, the main reason why this film works and the trilogy as a whole has to come down to Pegg and Frost. The two co-stars have magnetic chemistry that just brings a sense of fun to the entire thing. On reflection, much of the success of the trilogy has to be attributed to the great relationship between these two.
Not that the rest of the cast is anything to scoff at. Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan are great supporting actors as Gary’s friends that have been reluctantly dragged along more out of their pity for Gary than any want to genuinely reconnect with him. Rosamund Pike does the best she can with the understated role in the film.
There’s even a nice cheeky cameo from Pierce Brosnan and between him and Timothy Dalton in Hot Fuzz, I like to think that given enough films, resources, and money Edgar Wright would have had all the James Bond actors do cameos.
The soundtrack for this film was a real mixed bag for me. During the film, the soundtrack didn’t steal my attention from the film and didn’t stand out to me a whole lot while watching. However, after I finished watching the film, I checked out the soundtrack and definitely enjoyed the majority of it.
Edgar Wright’s direction is as great as always and did a great job of keeping me invested in the film and not distracting me with outrageous camera work and frilly extras for the “artistic merit”. The writing and the humour in this film are also top-notch and had me laughing out loud for most of the film.
Overall, while it doesn’t reach the lofty heights of Hot Fuzz, The World’s End is a great finish to the exceptional Cornetto Trilogy and if you haven’t checked it out yet – what are you doing? Drink up!