Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The World’s End

The World's End
  • Released Internationally on 18/07/13
  • Released in Malta by KRS on 23/10/13

Review (08/10/13)
3-word review: Sadly, too silly.
The Cornetto Trilogy
I am a huge fan of the first two instalments of this unofficial trilogy, which features different stories set in different times, but sharing a certain level of craziness and black humour. They're all written and directed by Edgar Wright (who also brought us the wonderful Scott Pilgrim), and they all star the duo Simon Pegg (Star Trek) and Nick Frost (The Boat that Rocked), who have great chemistry on screen. The first, Shaun of the Dead, was a near-perfect humourous take on zombie films; and the second, Hot Fuzz, was a wildly entertaining homage to over-the-top action films from the 80s. This third outing unfortunately falls short of its predecessors, especially in the second half.

The World's Start
Things start of promisingly, with a fast, joyous and entertaining prologue sequence that introduces us to five old friends and the legendary antics they got up to a few decades ago. Their present day incarnations are all rather serious types, except for the loose cannon Gary King (Pegg), who never quite grew up. The one thing he has going for him is his infective enthusiasm, and he manages to convince the old gang to head back to their hometown and try to complete the famous pub crawl that they attempted many moons ago. Apart from Pegg and Frost, the central quintet is rounded off by Martin Freeman (The Hobbit), Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum) and Eddie Marsan (Happy Go Lucky).

The Nostalgia factor
Of course, as happens with nostalgia, things aren't as amazing as everyone remembered them to be, and the film offers some half-hearted commentary about the unfortunate gentrification of British pubs, and the rose-tinted distortion of childhood memories. It is, however, fun to watch the central five warm to each other as the pints get consumed and the stories start coming out. When the levels of testosterone get too high, Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) waltzes in to offer a female touch, and she triggers off a whole slew of further memories.

The above lasts all of forty minutes, and is fun to watch, in a warm, non-demanding way. Then, as expected, all hell breaks loose. I was, of course, expecting this, since the film's title is evidently not just the name of the pub crawl's final pub, and in Hot Fuzz, the sudden change in tone of the film half-way through was marvellously executed and great fun. But here, things manage to get too silly. I am fully aware that 'silly' was a core element of the previous two films, but there's a limit. This film crosses that limit, and hands us a second and third act that are too ridiculous to sustain any prolonged interest. It's a pity, because in between all the carnage and nonsense there are a handful of good jokes and potentially touching moments. But it's all drowned in a big, expensive-looking mess.

In the end
The messy ending is made even worse by an epilogue scene that adds nothing and doesn't make much sense, and by the time the end credits rolled I had nearly forgotten the high hopes and warm feelings I felt throughout the first part of the film. Thankfully, the three films in this 'trilogy' are separate entities, so in future years we can still look back at Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz with the respect and affection they deserve, whilst hopefully forgetting about this one.