“Oh my God he’s got an arm off!!”
That’s my favourite line from Shaun of the Dead. It’s simple, unbelievably silly and face achingly funny thus perfectly summing up my feelings on the film as a whole. Hot Fuzz is just as brilliant of course, just as funny and just as silly. In fact, just so you know, my favourite line from that film is ‘He’s not Judge Judy and Executioner!’ You can see why I like it.
I say that so you get a view of how important it was for me that The World’s End was brilliant. It was one of my 5 most anticipated films of the year, it’s directed by one of my favourite directors and it follows what I believe are the 2 best British films of the past 10 years. No expectations then….
I am happy to report that The World’s End lives up to expectations though, and then some. The film, sees Simon Pegg play burn out Gary King, a 40 year old man still clinging to an epic pub crawl him and his friends attempted 20 years ago. They didn’t make it through all 12 pubs then but he is determined to this time, despite the fact that the boys haven’t met up for years, he’s lost contact with former best friend Andy (Frost, playing the straight man role for this time around) and what looks ever increasingly like the coming apocalypse.
The films starts slowly and takes a while to get to the weirdness as we learn who these 5 men are. The relationship building is great fun though and it almost feels a shame when the punches start getting thrown. Only almost though as the fight scenes are equal parts hilarious and bone crunching. Taking what he learned on the incredibly under appreciated Scott Pilgrim, Wright has gone to the next level in turning this quiet English town into the setting for the largest bar brawl cinema has ever seen. The tonal shift is somewhat jarring at first but much like with Shaun of the Dead, when everything starts kicking off you’ll be so enthralled by it all you really won’t care.
Everything you expect to find is here of course. References to pop culture (10 points for spotting references to Shaun/Fuzz), the Frost/Pegg bromance, very clever dialogue and a few fence gags thrown in for good measure. There are some things that you won’t be expecting though and this is where the film really shines. The romance between Pegg and Frost moves on from before, providing some of the most poignant moments of the film. King could be a very one note character but the final third adds the extra layer we’ve been looking for and this is all down to the chemistry between Pegg and Frost.
Also worth a mention is the soundtrack. Edgar Wright has already proven with Scott Pilgrim that he rivals Danny Boyle and Quentin Tarrantino with his music choices but here he outdoes himself. The music perfectly fits Gary’s early 90s state of mind and even finds its way into the script on numerous occasions providing some of the biggest laughs of the film.
As a trio Wright, Pegg and Frost are unbeatable. I hope that this conclusion to the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy isn’t the end of their collaborations but if it is then they’ve gone out on a high. One of the films of the year and a worthy successor to their previous work.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what my favourite line of World’s End was, well, I don’t have one. But watch out for Nick Frost leaving a pub. It’s simple, unbelievably silly and face achingly funny. Now where have I said that before?
Reece Lipman is a freelance filmmaker and writer who specialises in low budget short films and music videos under the banner of Shimmer-Man Productions. Reece has also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe comedy festival and has a dangerously nerdy fascination with pop culture. He can often be found trying to convince people why Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who are the greatest things that have ever existed and wakes up most mornings wishing that he was Joss Whedon or Edgar Wright. You can read more from Reece on his website or you can follow him on Twitter (@ReeceLipman).