Synopsis: For Gary King (Simon Pegg) and Andy Knightley (Nick Frost) it was supposed to be the ultimate reunion – one night, five friends, twelve bars. A boozy quest to the ‘Worlds End’ pub on which only the strongest will survive. Having the time of their lives, they’re ready to take on the world.. but tonight they might just have to save it. From the creators of ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ comes a wildly entertaining thrill ride of outrageous humour and explosive action that will raise a glass to the apocalypse.
The World’s End 7.0
eyelights: The Sisters of Mercy. the premise. The Sisters of Mercy.
eyesores: the infrequency of true belly laughs.
‘The World’s End’ is the latest collaboration between director Edgar Wright, and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It is the third part in what they call their Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, which includes ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’. It’s a loose series which is rooted inn Cornetto ice cream cones and the Three Colors trilogy by Krzysztof Kieślowski.
‘The World’s End’ is about a group of middle-aged men who decide, at the prompting of their former group leader, to revisit a pub crawl, “The Golden Mile”, that they attempted to do when they were teenagers. Their leader, Gary King, has bottomed out and sees this as the one chance he has to right the past and, thus, reset his present and make a better future for himself.
And so it is that they return to their hometown of Newton Haven to finally complete a twelve part drink-a-thon that would eventually lead them to The World’s End, a pub they never got to the first time around. Unfortunately, all of their fond memories are scattered the moment that they start noticing that things have changed – not just the places, but the people as well.
And thus begins the pub crawl to end all pub crawls, complete with exciting fisticuffs, chases, robots, aliens, and The Sisters of Mercy.
Okay, it may not be entirely true that The Sisters of Mercy are an integral part of ‘The World’s End’, but they were for me. As a long-time, diehard fan of the band (one who still has posters on his walls, wears the shirts and listen to the music!), I was blown away by the fact that The Sisters were so prominently featured in this film. Well, any film, really.
For years, I had daydreamed of hearing The Sisters on the soundtrack of some gothic horror film. It was not to be, but at least they were central to a key moment in this film’s dénouement. And they lead the closing credits. And Simon Pegg wore their shirt most of the way through as well as a necklace with the Eye of Horus (which was on the cover of their final album, ‘Vision Thing’).
Of course, being compared to Simon Pegg from time to time adds to the experience. While I by no means truly resemble him, I can see where some people would see similarities. Thus, as I was watching the film, I couldn’t help but relate to him – if not his character, Gary (as my gf remarked, Gary is sort of like my evil twin – if I lied, cheated and was an unrepentant drunk, he and I would be alike).
(…not that I plan on emulating him, of course.)
Otherwise, I couldn’t relate to much in this film. I don’t drink, and never have, so the fascination that comes with pub crawls is totally lost on me. I also don’t come from a small town and have lived in the same place all my life, so I can’t see the changes as dramatically as I would had I left. And I haven’t bottomed out, needing to revisit the past to give my life some lost sense of purpose.
But, mostly, it’s the drinking that was a wedge issue for me.
Whereas other people might find the notion hilarious and bring back fond memories, being a diehard teetotaler I simply could not wrap my mind around the point of it; for all the pointlessness of some of my own activities (blogging included), binge drinking is many steps beyond my understanding. It may be some form of bonding experience for these lads, but what else is there to it?
And why not something else, something more dignified and enriching?
So it’s a good thing that the cast was excellent and that the filmmakers were skilled at giving us a little boost every time the movie lost steam. With a less capable and congenial group and if the storytelling had been just a little off, it would have been a drag for me – having not seen the first two films often enough, I can’t get all the little recurring gags and references that Wright/Pegg/Frost fans would.
I’m sure that if I watched the three films back-to-back, and often enough, there would be all these little bits and bytes that would stand out from the mix, that I would be able to appreciate. Still, it remains an enjoyable film, no matter what. Aside from all the boozing, there’s nothing objectionable in it, it has plenty of humourous bits, tons of action, and a few wicked twists – including an ending that I never saw coming.
So, even though it’s my least favourite of the so-called Cornetto Trilogy, I suspect that I will return to ‘The World’s End’ sooner than later. I may even explore the three pictures as a whole, to truly immerse myself in Wright, Pegg and Frost’s creations. I would love to “get” what their fans have been on about from the onset; I really think that I’m missing out by only watching these films on a superficial level.
Still, if even this fails to stoke my zeal, there will always be the fact that The Sisters of Mercy are prominently featured in it. This may not mean much to anyone else, but that sure is enough for me.
Date of viewing: September 1, 2013