Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The World's End

If you're a fan of movies or, even more importantly, a fan of CINEMA (OF COURSE THERE'S A DIFFERENCE) you've surely heard of the team behind The World's End.  Yes, it's true, after years of anticipation, the trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are back with their third, and perhaps, final installment in what has become known as The Cornetto Trilogy. Yes, yes, I know the word "trilogy" should signal that, if you'll pardon a pun using another summer movie title, this is the end.  But I'm still hoping that if all the good little movie-going boys and girls give their money that Santa will green light another film from this entertaining trio.
Along with its predecessors Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, The World's End features a script from Mr. Wright & Mr. Pegg, co-starring duties from Mr. Pegg & Mr. Frost, genre-inspired shenanigans, a soundtrack that really knows how to aurally please, and at least one delightful ice-cream reference.  There truly is no better way to chill out after a long day of fighting zombies, buddy-copping your way through a corrupt neighborhood watch, or dismantling alien-robot plans to take over the planet than a "creamy vanilla and choco dream".  Sorry, any human who is reading this, but I was just hoping that if I threw in some Cornetto advertising, I might finally get a 3-month supply of cones.  That's all I'm asking, 3 months!  But enough about my dessert cravings.
The World's End sets about tackling the apocalyptic-science-fiction genre (which has really picked up steam, it seems) with a take that is all its own.  It is 1990 and five boys are on the eve of colliding with adulthood: Gary King (Pegg), Andy Knightley (Frost), Steven Prince (Paddy Considine), Peter Page (Eddie Maran), and Oliver Chamberlain (Martin Freeman).  The names, I must say, are a thing of beauty (look again, I'll give you a minute).  In order to send their adolescence off in style, a plan takes shape to tackle "The Golden Mile", a pub crawl that involves 12 stops in the idyllic suburb of Newton Haven.  Though they are defeated in their ultimate goal, it is the kind of night that shapes a life, the memory of which can live on long after others have faded.
More than 20 years later, all 5 of the men have reached that Bermuda Triangle of Life phase.  You know, where it seems as if the sea is calm, and boring and yet one storm can knock you completely off-track; that time where it feels as if everything can only be described as "tenuous".  Andy is a lawyer, Steven is an entrepreneur, Oliver is in real estate and Peter is a partner in the family car dealership.  All well-respected, socially accepted careers.  Gary, however, having adamantly refused to conform, is in a more difficult spot, having hit a personal rock bottom, it seems.  But he will not be deterred.  With an urgency that belies one final wish, Gary sets about getting the gang back together to complete the pub crawl.
Once back in Newton Haven, though, it becomes clear that the night will not go entirely smoothly.  First, Oliver's sister, Sam (Rosamund Pike), drops by, complicating things between Steven and Gary.  It turns out, old slights are sometimes still the ones we feel the keenest.  Then, as an almost aside to all of the personal issues that have surfaced once the car crossed in to town, the guys discover that a robot-like alien race has infiltrated suburbia, and more specifically, their suburbia.  In both a bid to save themselves and save the town/world, they begin using the fight/drink/fight method of alien defense and try to remain undeterred from their ultimate goal, completing The Golden Mile.
This is a movie that should remain unspoiled beyond this point, which, I believe you should have been able to gather from any trailer put out before-hand, if, on the off-chance, you're reading this BEFORE you see the movie (a choice for which I -A- thank you and -B- now beg you to go see this movie and give your money to your local theater so it can eventually be tallied with the rest of the country's box office) So without saying too much more about the movie, suffice it to say that it is filled with the same referential/reverential pop culture treatment that always accompany a movie from this crew, and it's always appreciated.  However, this film hits much more firmly in the heart than the previous two films.
There's a recognizable growth and maturity, both in subject matter and in tone of The World's End.  That's not to say that there was anything missing in the previous two installments, but it's very clear that this movie was written by people who have had to deal with the subtext of life.  It's an attempt to answer, albeit, mostly in a truly funny way, the old question of "can you ever truly go home again?"  It's the story of the friends we let slip away, the memories we cherish, the things we wish we would have done and the things we still can do.  That's an awful lot of philosophy to stuff in between kick-ass fight scenes and here, the combination delighted me.

Between an amazing ensemble cast (I mean, come on, you're a Cumberbatch, Hiddleston, and Maggie Smith away from a British Royal Flush), great pacing (each pub is the equivalent of a short story entry into a novella), writing that is sharp and poignant as ever, and a decidedly welcome turn from Nick Frost as both the anchor of the group AND a powerhouse fighter (it's serious fun when the old rugby player in Andy gets unleashed) there aren't really any misses in the film.  It's a worthy entry into the Cornetto Trilogy, living up to all of my expectations, and now, the only thing left for you to decide is which flavor of the Trilogy you like the best.  I do have my mind made up, as of right now, but I won't say here, because, let's face it, I can commit to ice cream flavors for about as long as a sane person should commit to Crocs.

Overall: 4.5  out of 5 (and even that's pretty much just because all we got from Bill Nighy was his voice)

P.S. If you're interested in leaving your theories as to what each pub means, or reading others theories, you might want to check out THIS LINK to Edgar Wright's Blog




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