Skip to content

The World’s End (2013)

August 26, 2013


As the closing credits of The World’s End flashed on-screen and the lights in the theater came up, I couldn’t help by shake my head. I felt a slight scowl on my face as I tried to comphrehend the barrage of images that just took place. I was confused about my reaction. It’s been three days since seeing The World’s End and I’m actually still pretty unsure whether it was a film that I disliked or one that I found sub par. Sure, The World’s End has its hilarious moments and is probably Edgar Wright’s greatest directorial effort. Nevertheless, as a whole I just didn’t find it on par with his earlier and brilliantly executed films, Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. Is it fair to compare The World’s End so heavily to Wright’s previous works? Yes! Especially since The World’s End is the self-proclaimed closer to the trio’s “Ice Cream trilogy,” which includes the aforementioned films in its canon.

Edgar Wright’s auteurism is so perfectly poised and flexed in The World’s End that its simply awe-inspiring. Wright’s visual style is like no other, a facet that alone makes The World’s End enjoyable to watch. His use of hyper-stylized editing cuts to images in seizure-like urgency making mundane tasks like starting up a car or pouring beer an expeditious venture. His cuts are so quirky and unique that you can’t but laugh at its ridiculousness and ooh at its grandeur. When Wright isn’t taking advantage of the principles within editing laid out by Sergei Eisenstein, he heavily integrates tracking shots into his scenes that move through time and space transporting viewers into the homes and lives of each character. Wright’s perfection of aged 90s British aesthetics is even showcased during the film’s opening to a 16mm introduction of Gary and his ragtag crew of misfits.


Gary King (Simon Pegg) is a loser and recovering drug addict who can’t help but to relieve the summer of 1990. Back then, Gary was truly a king in his town of Newton Haven where along with his four best friends he believed he could conquer the world. Gary also believed he and his pals could conquer The Golden Mile, a Newton Haven bar crawl that challenged participants to have at least one pint of beer at 12 bars in route. Typically, teenage angst, foolishness, and mayhem prevent Gary from achieving his goal, leaving an empty shell of man twenty plus years later. Determined to relive his glory days Gary attempts to reunite the old gang for one last go at The Golden Mile. Yet, Gary and his pals soon find that the task they seek will be a difficult one to achieve as they stumble upon a strange extraterrestrial conspiracy about the town they once called home.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost playing aging friends who kick major alien ass definitely has its hysterical moments. During a particular fight scene, Frost throws a teenage boy over his head sweeping him around into a backbreaking WWF move that had me near howling with laughter. The World’s End’s humor is rooted in absurdity and a biting tongue in cheekiness that’s so British it almost makes your teeth rot. The problem, however, is that as a whole the humor of the film doesn’t generate consistent howls or even cackles. Much of the jokes featured in The World’s End comes off stale and a bit ad nauseam when delivered. Running jokes like Oliver (Martin Freeman) repeatedly using the acronym “WTF” when in shock or disbelief seems dated and reminds viewers of the cast’s ages.


I didn’t find the laugh out loud moments within The World’s End a constant or frequent occurrence; therefore, I was left to focus on the story and dialogue, both of which are mediocre at best. What makes Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead engaging and so damn funny to me is primarily the chemistry between Frost and Pegg. The two seem like genuine childhood chaps who know each other in and out and probably knew each other in a past life. Their quips and grips with one another are usually always endearing. However, much of that is missing from The World’s End because the story causes for the two magnets to repel each other strongly due to bad blood in the past. Because of this, much of the film features the two butting heads rather than being each others punchline. Instead, we are forced to endure the interactions of the group including Oliver, Steven (Paddy Considine), and Peter (Eddie Marsan). Now don’t get me wrong, these men are not all entirely wet blankets that meander through much of the film, but these characters are far from being interesting enough to demand our attention.

I respect and adamantly love the film’s last 20 minutes, although not its final scene. The World’s End’s commentary on the human race and our place within the intergalactic system was brilliantly exhibited even if the antagonist’s entire plan and strategy was not. Overall, I respected The World’s End’s method, merit, and message, I just don’t think it was executed well. I’m not sure whether my disappointment with The World’s End was from my obviously high expectations (I’m kind of an Edgar Wright fangirl) or because it’s just straight up meh movie. I feel like I should see it again to confirm either, but I just have no desire to.

Meh. Regardless, The World’s End is still one of the most impressive and diverse film to come out in a while. But, if you’re an Edgar Wright fan don’t be surprised if you come away feeling unfulfilled.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: