Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘The World’s End’ is a near perfect blend of sci-fi and comedy

By Cory J. Willey

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This year, we have seen a high quantity of films prophesizing the inevitable destruction of the world as we know it. So it would seem an almost impossible task for a similarly-themed film to stand out amongst this doom-obsessed crowd. “The World’s End,” however, accomplishes just that by delivering a high tempo, character driven apocalyptic comedy blended with a satisfying, if not familiar, sci-fi story.

“The World’s End” is yet another collaboration between longtime friends Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The film, co-written by Pegg and Wright, is the third entry in the “Cornetto Trilogy,” which includes “Shaun of the Dead,” and “Hot Fuzz,” and is so named because each film features a different flavor of Cornetto ice cream. In keeping with the traditions of the trilogy, this one stars both Pegg and Frost, with Wright directing.

The film begins with Pegg’s character, Gary King, lamenting over the perfect night he had with his high school friends back in his prime. He (the self-proclaimed leader of the group), Frost’s Andy Knightley (the best friend), Martin Freeman’s Oliver Chamberlain, Paddy Considine’s Steven Prince and Eddy Marsan’s Peter Page had set out on an epic quest to conquer the Golden Mile. This quest requires King and his friends to drink a pint at each of the 12 pubs in their small hometown of Newton Haven, culminating at The World’s End. The group was never able to complete their task all those years ago, and King, now 40 and going nowhere, is looking to reunite with his childhood mates and attempt the pub-crawl once again in a misguided attempt to regain his former glory.

What ensues is a master class in comedic script writing that truly sets this film apart from the others. While other films such as “This Is The End” relied mostly on their cast and vulgar humor to carry the film, “The World’s End” creates and develops relatable relationships between the protagonists set against a sci-fi backdrop that delivers a deeper experience for the audience. Wright and Pegg are once again successful in setting up jokes early on and calling back to them at the most opportune moments. They also keep certain characters and their pasts vague enough to keep us interested in learning more about them.

The film moves along at a healthy pace, never missing a beat, comedic or otherwise. Wright’s signature swift camera pans and lightning fast cuts to capture character reactions, along with a seemingly endless flow of jokes, keeps the movie from getting bogged-down and uninteresting. It’s clear that the core cast truly enjoys making these films with one another, and each actor seems fully committed to making every scene worth its allotted screen time. Pegg and Freeman do an especially wonderful job this time around, as they are given the most to work with character-wise.

The overarching sci-fi plot of the film pairs nicely with the tale of five friends’ reconvening and keeps it from feeling familiar. And although the ultimate reveal of the secret behind Newton Haven may seem lazy, the writers are actually paying homage to sci-fi films of the past. Surprisingly enough, the film also finds the time to work in very entertaining and well-choreographed action sequences that simultaneously manage to keep you laughing and on the edge of your seat the entire time.

Going into “The World’s End,” I was expecting a comedy about a group of friends struggling against a backdrop of yet another apocalypse story. Instead, what I experienced was an ambitious film that placed just as much importance upon its characters and plot as it did on generating laughs. “The World’s End” is a perfectly paced sci-fi comedy with satisfying visuals and action sequences that will leave you with a sudden urge to gather up your best mates, grab a pint and maybe punch a few robots along the way.

Cory Willey can be reached at [email protected]

 

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