Thankfully what I ended up getting was, as expected, a very well made film that was exciting, stylish, mysterious, funny and surprisingly heartfelt all at once. And while this was only to be expected since that list of attributes could be slapped on the box of every movie Edgar Wright ever made, it still is worth repeating because it just goes to show how impressive of a filmmaker this guy is. I'll say this right now: There are few directors out there whose works are more consistently entertaining than Edgar Wright. When this guy makes a movie, it's to your benefit to pay attention.
"The World's End" follows the adventures of five friends from school who once had a legendary night of pub crawling in their younger days. Twenty years later the de facto leader of the group, Gary (Simon Pegg), who is now a high functioning alcoholic, attempts to get the group back together to relive that night, which in his mind was the greatest moment of his frankly pathetic life. The rest of the group aren't really into it, having moved on and realized that Gary is a titanic schmuck some time ago, but eventually they all cave in and agree.
Oh yeah. Who wouldn't follow this guy?
Past that point is gets a little weird. Once the pub crawl begins, it becomes clear the town and people in it are a bit different since they were last living there. At first they chalk up to them being older, but pretty soon it starts going an "Invasion of the Bodies Snatchers" route, and things get officially, as the English would put it, cocked up. This leads to an escalation of sci-fi craziness that would seem bizarrely out of place had it not been written in such an effective and exciting manner.
The cast is pitch-perfect and made up of some of the funniest people I can think of. Of course Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are two of my Funniest People In The World in No Particular Order, but Martin Freeman does his best revival of his turn as Watson in "Sherlock" to play the uppity one to hysterical effect as well. What's amazing about Simon Pegg though is how much of a pathetic scumbag he's playing in this, but still manages to be somewhat charming and loveable, and you actually want to see him succeed. I suppose that's just called "acting talent."
The script, penned by Pegg and Wright, is full of the usual rapid fire, too-smart-for-most-American-audiences cleverness that is predominant throughout the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy of this, "Shawn of The Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," but whereas those films hit the ground running at a thousand miles an hour, "The World's End" takes it's time and is a bit slower paced with both story and jokes. The laughs aren't as densely packed as the other films, which gives it a sense of maturity the others lacked but at tradeoff of not being as memorable or endlessly quotable. That's not to say it isn't funny, which it very much is, but it's not nearly as goofy as the rest of the trilogy.
"Reservoir Dogs" would have been far less tragic (and more drunk) if it had been these guys. About the same amount of profanity, though.
All of Edgar Wright's films have recurring themes, among the most common of them being growing up, whatever that means. And finding out what becoming "an adult" is all about and what it means to each individual person is at the forefront of the story of "The World's End." Ultimately it's about Gary making amends for his past transgressions (kind of) and coming to terms with himself and realizing what it takes for him to be happy while embracing his faults. And ultimately he saves the world by doing so (kind of). And thanks in no small part to some surprisingly powerhouse acting on the parts of both Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, it winds up being a rather moving story.
While it may not reach the levels of side-splitting hilarity as the rest of Edgar Wright's filmography, "The World's End" is a worthy final entry in the Wright/Pegg trilogy. It's always nice to know that no matter how many wretched, unfunny comedies are spewed out en masse from Hollywood, there's at least a few people left who still get it. You just have to go to England to find them.
Check out the trailer. I chose the one that DIDN'T give too much away.
THE BOTTOM LINE - "The World's End" is a delightful romp of drunkenness that is charming in the way that only Edgar Wright and his cast of regulars can manage to be. Despite being more leisurely in pace than "Shawn of The Dead" or "Hot Fuzz," it's the most touching and visually impressive entry in the series. And while it's not as jammed to the brim with gags both overt and subtle as the others, it's still very, very funny. You gotta check this one out.