In the beginning there was Shaun of the Dead which single handedly reignited the zombie flick and introduced audiences not already familiar with the UK’s Spaced to Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. Then came Hot Fuzz which presented a hyperactive take on the buddy cop genre. Now the boys from across the pond tackle aliens, addiction, and social politics?!?! It’s true! Pegg, Frost, and Wright reunite for the explosive finale to what has been dubbed “Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy” with The World’s End, a film that is easily the best in the series.
The premise is simple: five friends, twelve pubs, one night. It’s the ultimate bar crawl which Gary, Andy, Steven, Peter, and Oliver never quite finished when they were young. Now it’s 20 years later and Gary King (Simon Pegg) has managed to talk his old buddies into one last go at the fabled “Golden Mile” in their hometown. Never mind the fact that Oliver (Martin Freeman), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Andy (Nick Frost), and Steven (Steven Prince) have moved on in their lives to become successful in their own ways and Gary’s, well, still Gary. Regardless, the old gang is now back together. Hilarity ensues. The end.
But no so fast! As with all of the Wright/Pegg/Frost team-up’s, everything is not as it seems in the quaint town of Newton Haven as aliens have moved in and begun to quietly assimilate townsfolk here and there in an effort to make Earth more desirable. Now the real hilarity ensues as our hapless heroes battle for their freedom, each other, and ultimately their right to be nasty earthlings.
Everything about The World’s End is a step up on the previous entries into the “Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy”. The most noticeable of fixes here is that The World’s End conquers the pacing issues that rattled both Shaun… and Hot Fuzz making this a solid film from start to finish, getting continually better as the movie continues on. There’s also an equal focus on heightening both the drama and action tenfold. On one end you have these great John Woo-esque choreographed fight sequences (Frost’s “Andy” channel’s Will Ferrell’s “Frank The Tank” after the reformed alcoholic gets back on the sauce and turns into a veritable Hulk against the aliens) and on the other you have these deep, heartfelt character pieces as Gary battles against addiction or Marsan’s Peter faces his fear of bullying all while this insanity rages on around them.
Maybe it’s fitting, too, that this go round sees the roles reversed with Pegg’s King serving as the screw-up and Frost’s Andy as the straight man (mostly). It’s an odd switch but surprisingly works really well which is a testament to the chemistry Pegg and Frost continually bring to each new role they play against one another. Move over James Franco and Seth Rogen! The 21t century comedy bromance award belongs to Pegg and Frost and in the Summer Showdown of apocalypse comedies, The World’s End wins hands down.
The World’s End is in theaters on August 23rd.