Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The World's End

Description from Netflix:
Twenty years after attempting a marathon pub crawl, a group of friends reunited to give it another shot.  Their ultimate destination is the World’s End pub, whose name turns out to be rather literal.

Notable actors:
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Smiley, David Bradley, Rosamund Pike, Mark Heap, Bill Nighy, Peter Serafinowicz, and many, many more.  This movie became an exercise in “name that actor from previous Edgar Wright productions”.  “Look, it’s Duane Benzie.  Look, it’s ‘the other Andy’.  Tyres!  Brian!”  And so on.

My thoughts:
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Edgar Wright.  Beyond my love of the first two installments in the Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), I also love Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Spaced.  I’ve seen each of the movies at least five times, and have gone through the entire series of Spaced at least three times.   I might be in love with him.  I’ve made my peace with that.

This one had a different feel to it.  It had the same message as Shaun of the Dead (trying to grow up and leave childish things behind), but with a more somber tone.  Shaun was a slacker.  Gary is an alcoholic.  Shaun’s attempts at trying to save the lives of his loved ones were heartwarming.  Gary’s attempts at trying to save his loved ones were selfish. And so on.

There were serious moments in the previous two films, but nothing like what we saw here.  I’m hesitant to say much more than that, lest I mention any minor spoilers.  There were quite a few genuinely heartbreaking moments here.  And, while the previous films had some of these as well (the goodbye scene between Shaun and Ed in Shaun of the Dead always gets me), there were a greater number of them here, and they all hit home.

That’s not to say there weren’t jokes.  There were plenty of jokes.  But some of these jokes were different from the rest of the series.  Where the other two movies had a lot of quick-hitting jokes that were set up well, this one seemed to go for easy humor, at least in the beginning.  Weird little jokes, like Gary calling a glass door a “windoor”. 
Since most of these jokes came from Gary (the one in a state of arrested development), I assume that they were in there to get pity laughs from the audience.  They were cheap jokes.  Obvious jokes.  And they were coming from a man-child who was obviously trying to relive his high school days.  I believe we weren’t supposed to find these jokes funny, but were there to help us connect to Gary on a deeper level.  We felt the same level of pity for him that his former friends did.  These jokes were as desperate as Gary.  If that was indeed the reason for them, then Edgar Wright is brilliant.  (In case you wondered, I firmly believe this is the case.)
Still, the majority of my theater laughed pretty hard at most of these attempted jokes, so I thought that I was missing something.  Upon further review, I don’t believe that to be the case at all. 
One of the people in my theater nearly hyperventilated when a white-haired Cumberbatch appeared as Julian Assange is a trailer for The Fifth Estate, and later giggled maniacally when Martin Freeman showed up.  Other people started laughing when Gary told the others his mom died of “the big cancer” (someone actually repeated “cancer” loudly, then laughed heartily).  These were the people laughing at everything.  For the record, I love Sherlock, but I have a feeling that most of the people laughing haven’t seen many British TV shows/movies outside of Sherlock, so they assume that every single line said in this movie was supposed to be a joke. 

"That door says 'Gents'.  HAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Opening jokes aside, there really were a handful of terrific jokes in this film.  As is the case with the Cornetto Trilogy, a lot of the major laughs involved either extreme violence or extreme profanity, both of which I approve of.  The first really big laugh involved the first fight with a robot in a pub bathroom.  It was drunken and violent, and it ended with a decapitated teenager in a puddle of blue liquid.  And it killed me.
All of the fight scenes were terrific.  As the movie progressed and our heroes drank more, the fights got steadily sloppier.  It was obvious that a lot of thought was put into each fight.
After watching this, I found out that the stunt coordinator was also the stunt coordinator on Drunken Master, which makes perfect sense.

I loved the look of the robots.  They looked like normal people, but, when they charged to fight, they revealed bright blue lights from their mouths and eyes.  It was a great visual, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the aliens in Attack the Block.

One of the things that ties the Cornetto Trilogy together are some recurring jokes.  Here are a handful of the jokes I saw here:
1. Cornetto.  Of course.  It makes a very late appearance here.
2. Jumping the fence.
3. The noise the bar game makes when it starts up.
4. Knocking over a “Stay off the grass” sign.

I’m sure there are more that I missed.  I guess that means I’ll just have to watch all of them again.  That’s a challenge I can meet.  I’m nothing if not thorough.

Overall, I really liked this.  It was a great take on the sci-fi/bodysnatcher genre.  I would rank it my third favorite in the trilogy, but that’s more due to the strength of the previous films than the weaknesses of this one.  I have a feeling this will get better the more I watch it.  I look forward to many repeated viewings once this makes it to DVD.

Rating: 5/5

A collection of cool posters:


1 comment:

Daniel said...

brilliant, just brilliant. I've wanted to watch this, but haven't made it since evil dead. Now I'm convinced I need to check this one out. the worst Edgar Wright movie beats the best Michael Bay movie any old time.