The World's End
Premise: Five childhood friends from small-town England, now in their late 30s, reunite in order to attempt a twelve-pub crawl called the Golden Mile, after they failed to do so when they were teens. But when they get back to their old home town, it has become overrun with alien robots... No big deal. I feel the need to get the premise across, because when I was buying tickets to see this, the old lady in front of me asked this excellent question, in the most feeble old lady way possible, "Is World's End the one with the piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirates?"
-In a just world, Simon Pegg deserves some awards recognition for his role as Gary King. He's never been better. I personally thought it was one of those kind of roles where I was magnetically drawn into the movie intensely every time he was on-screen. I guess the most universal equivalent to relate to what I'm saying is like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight or something. I just thought he gave a mesmerizing comedy performance.
-The character of Gary himself was also very well written. I wouldn't say Gary has a traditional arc, but considering how unlikable he was the entire movie, it's pretty remarkable how much I cared about him. He's a dude frozen in 1989, and he doesn't understand why the past can't be replicated. That's something I assume most people can relate to. Everyone has glory days they wish they could relive, but then when you try to do it again as actual adults, it just seems... ...well, sad. Very sad. The World's End is a great character study of someone who has absolutely nothing left to live for except the fond memories of his youth.
-Probably the biggest theme of the film is about coming back home after years of growing away from it, and everything seems the same, yet completely different. That's something every person can relate to as well, as it's a basic component of growing up. Normally that doesn't mean people are replaced by robots, but that's why The World's End is something we call a movie. It's not too hard to read into.
-It has the typical Edgar Wright fast talking, witty dialogue. It's on par with the rest of his work.
-Also on par with Wright's high level of consistent quality: the soundtrack. A great mix of late 80s/early 90s alternative/pop music. (And a well placed Doors song)
-I liked the opening montage of the guys as teens, I thought it set up the characters pretty nicely. And that's in addition to the fact that there was character development up the wazoo for the rest of the film as well. This is one of those comedies that's, uh, how do you say it...? Intelligently written? In contrast to another recent comedy I've seen, like We're the Millers, what do we learn about Jason Sudeikis' character over the course of the film? That he's a drug dealer? That he's smarmy? That he's a smarmy drug dealer? Wow, he really went full circle there... :/
-The final confrontation with Gary and the alien leader is probably my favorite scene in any film released this year. It was easily the funniest scene in the movie, and definitely the most engaging. And to follow that up, the epilogue was also well worth putting into the film. It's kind of great how Wright doesn't take the easy way out for the characters, and instead shows to what lengths it would actually take for them to come to some form of happiness.
-All of the side characters are worth mentioning in a giant clump as very good, even if they all get overshined by Pegg.
-There's lots of cool little details in the film, like the names of the pubs directly relating to an event that's going to happen in them. It makes me really want to watch the movie again to look for all the "hidden" stuff. I'm kind of really itching for a repeat viewing, to be honest.
-The first act is really slow, especially compared to the second half of the film. It's a pacing problem in a sense, but not if you look at The World's End as two different stories. It actually reminded me of a better version of From Dusk Til Dawn. The story starts one way, then takes an abrupt twist into a supernatural direction, and much to the detriment of the characters, they have to continue advancing the problems that were present before the twist occurred. I always wondered when another movie would tackle this kind of approach, because I like it. But still, if you're not at least partially sold on the plot's potential before you even walk in the theater, I could see how the first chunk of the film could be very slow-moving for you.
-The action scenes were ok. They seem below average compared to Edgar Wrights other work, but they were just ok as a standalone film. They didn't really escalate all that much, other than adding more robots; so the first action scene in the bathroom feels the same as the climactic action scene in the bar. This is much less of a sci-fi genre spoofing than I thought it would be. The sci-fi elements are merely used as a metaphor for progressing the characters' growth. Unless you look at the film very literally, in which case, yes, dudes are punching a ton of robots.
Final Thoughts: If I must compare The World's End to the other two films in the "Cornetto Trilogy" (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), it's definitely the worst. But it's still better than most other movies that have come out this year. I guess it had a high expectation problem. Yet, it's standing out glaringly in my mind, several days after seeing it, and I really want to see it again. I think I would have given it a slightly lower score right after I watched it, but it's gone up slightly now that I've had more time to think about it. It's definitely one of the more fun movies ever made on the subject of drinking. Yeah, I'm looking your way, Leaving Las Vegas... You bummed me out, Cage... You bummed me out...
9 out of 10