The World’s End – Film Review

The World's End

It has felt like a long wait for The World’s End, the third film directed by Edgar Wright, produced by Nira Park and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, in a series loosely characterised as “genres the British don’t often do, done in a very British way”. The World’s End is also the weakest film of the three, but that’s not to say it isn’t good fun for your money.

Gary King (Pegg) is a man who, numerically at least, is in his forties. However, in his head he’s still 18. The World’s End is absolutely steeped in late 80s/early 90s nostalgia, with a soundtrack loaded with Blur, Happy Mondays, James, The Stone Roses and, incredibly, Soup Dragons. Gary King still plays the mix tape his friend, Steven (the always wonderful Paddy Considine), made for him when they were teenagers because in his last days of school Gary was popular, invincible and had the world at his feet. Now an alcoholic clinging to his glory days, nothing is going to make him grow up.

Drink Up It's The Word's End

Except maybe, just maybe, he will if he manages to complete the Golden Mile: a pub crawl of the 12 pubs in his hometown. Gary dates his adult failures back to when he and his four friends bailed from the crawl at pub nine and is now determined to fix his mistakes. He goes back to those four friends, Andy (Frost), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver “O-man” (Martin Freeman) and Steven, now with adult lives they seem perfectly happy with, and convinces them to go back to Newton Haven with him to complete what they started. Joining them is Rosamund Pike as Sam, Oliver’s sister and Gary’s one-time shag. Getting in the way of this quest is the small matter of an attempted alien invasion.

For those not familiar with the so-called Cornetto Trilogy, each film takes the form of a buddy comedy accompanied by over-the-top action. The preceding film, a cop action flick called Hot Fuzz, was released over six years ago. Shaun of the Dead, a zombie film, appeared on screen three years before that. And the television series that kickstarted it all off, Spaced, started airing on Channel 4 in 1999. I recorded each episode (on VHS!) to watch after I got home from drinking in the pub on Friday nights with my teenage friends. My entire adult life has been peppered with Wright-Pegg-Frost offerings and if any review is going to date me, it’s this one.

The Cornetto Trilogy

I mention this because just like Hot Fuzz did back in 2007, The World’s End carried a lot of expectation. The difference is that while HF surpassed my expectations; TWE failed to meet them. However, if TWE had followed Shaun of the Dead, I probably would have been pleased. Not thrilled and certainly not desperate to go right back into the cinema and watch it again, but I would have been satisfied. This is because TWE is essentially Shaun but with a much bigger budget. It’s funny, shows off some good action sequences and strong lead performances but has absolutely no plot and lacks a lot of the charm of Shaun. What TWE has gained in special effects, it has lost in emotional resonance. Although the flashbacks to the teenage gang are quite endearing.

What The World’s End also lacks are any truly stand-out moments. I am struggling to think of anything that had the same sense of fun as Shaun and Ed throwing vinyl at zombies, or the same whole-cinema-gasps-out-loud factor as Nicholas Angel knocking out an old lady with a flying kick. What it does have are some unexpected turns, a lot of laughs and too many lengthy monologues. Nick Frost puts in a sympathetic performance as the long-suffering Andy, Gary’s best friend back in the day and it’s fun to identify the recurring actors from the previous films: there’s probably a drinking game in spotting them. You’ll also get Wright’s manic, eye-popping direction and the running gags are a delight. Yet Simon Pegg should probably stick to playing nice guys. Not once did I believe Gary’s motivations.

The World’s End will keep you entertained and it steams by pretty quickly for its running time but as Gary King keeps pushing his friends to continue his quest to complete the Golden Mile, the reasons for complying, and the plot, get thinner. It’s been a brilliant ride but no more Cornettos please*; it’s time to grow up.

*I don’t mean this literally. If anyone wants to send me some mint Cornettos this summer, I will happily take them up on it.

The World’s End – Trailer

The World's End

The Cornetto Trilogy is nearly complete. The journey started in 2004 with Shaun of the Dead which introduced the zom-rom-com. Then in 2007 we got Hot Fuzz which took Midsomer Murders and filtered it through Tarantino’s brain. Now after Simon Pegg’s detours with aliens in Paul and Star Trek and Edgar Wright blowing my mind with Scott Pilgrim we are only two months away from the July 19th release of The World’s End.

And there’s a trailer at last!

From the looks of things we are dealing with an alien invasion during a pub crawl. So far there is no sign of a cornetto but we do have the classic fence jump. Visually the film reminds me more of Scott Pilgrim than Shaun or Fuzz and there’s a hint of Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block too.

Colour me excited. Whatever that means.

Movie Maths with Edgar Wright and Chums

Therefore

PLEASE NOTE: All films deliberately chosen to prove whatever point I was trying to make

Attack the Block – DVD Review

Film
We’ve covered this film so much you should know that we love it. Admittedly some cracks start to show on a second viewing but the excerpt from our review below still holds true:

This film is a powerhouse, particularly for a low-budget British monster movie, all the skill behind the camera makes up for any lack of budget, the aliens themselves a testament to ingenuity over cost.

Extras
At long last we have a DVD to review with some decent extras. The first disc holds the film and three different commentaries. The first features Joe Cornish and the young cast, the second Cornish and the older cast and the third commentary just Cornish and Edgar Wright. I only had time to listen to the final commentary, but being a fan of Wright and Cornish feel I made the right choice. With few references to the film as it played, this was more an extended discussion between two filmmakers about making your debut film. Funny and enlightening stuff.

On the second disc are five proper documentaries, one lasting for almost an hour. Rather than just talking heads and brief clips of behind the scenes action, this DVD goes in-depth into the whole production and doesn’t gloss over the more stressful side of filming on a tight time scale. One thing I couldn’t find was the featurette titled Joe’s Massage, either it was removed after the list of extras was released or it is an Easter Egg I failed to stumble upon.

Attack the Block is out on DVD and Blu-ray on September 19th 2011, and you should probably go and buy it.

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The Adventures of Tintin – Trailer Dissection

Adventures of Tintin

There are a lot of things to get excited about with the upcoming, Spielberg-directed, Tintin film. Getting us jumping about is that the scriptwriting credits read like the ultimate Mild Concern wish list: Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish were all tasked with stringing three of HergĂ©’s books into one film. That’s two trios of awesome right there. Then move down to the cast, bursting with Great British talent: you’ve got Gollum, James Bond, Billy Elliot and Westley (or Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell and Cary Elwes, if you’re fussy about your actors’ names.)

But we have fears too. There’s the obvious worry that no film could do justice to the original Tintin books, or even the (classic) animated series. Then there’s the hyper-realistic, motion-capture animation, which had me examining the trailer expecting the same creepy vibe I got off The Polar Express. Check out my conclusions, and other uninformed comments, after the jump.


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