Expectations were extremely high for the third instalment of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s Cornetto Trilogy, and rightly so. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are two of the best British comedy parodies ever, and the only argument about that is usually which of the two is better. (For the record, I’m undecided and I get a very mixed reaction from those around me).
The World’s End has generally received good reviews, with a lot of critics giving it four of five stars and a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, I would like to ask why, as it was actually quite weird and disappointing.
The story is based around five old school friends who, led by Pegg’s Gary King, return to their hometown of Newton Haven to re-attempt completion of The Golden Mile, a crawl of the town’s twelve pubs. They expect to have rifts between themselves, but what they don’t expect is a seemingly robotic invasion…
Don’t get me wrong, there was lots of really enjoyable stuff throughout the film. The character dynamics between the five friends are usually humorous and, at best, absolutely hilarious; Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan were the stand outs, demonstrating plenty with their range of facial expressions alone. I suppose what I’m about to say is actually that the best thing about the film was its humour, and that was obviously best when the film was purely a comedy, before the apocalyptic action kicked in. There were, in particular, some great gags about the first few pubs they mentioned as well as social commentary about how everything is becoming more generic.
Unfortunately, I just couldn’t remain so thrilled for the whole film. The main problem was that the action scenes just weren’t done with as much finesse as in Hot Fuzz; they were much more methodical and filled less with satire and more with the attempt to make the points that they were making. It began to feel a bit empty towards the end. Equally, the very end was extremely abrupt and made sense in concept but not totally in design. I don’t want to ruin it so that’s all you’ll get from me on the matter!
Two things that were done spectacularly: one cameo, which I also won’t ruin because reviews kept it quiet very well, and the essential Cornetto reference which comes in totally out of the blue.
You can probably tell, but I feel very mixed and conflicted about this film, and I don’t think I’m the only one; despite the excellent critics’ reviews, user reviews are less consistent on the whole. Perhaps I need a rewatch, but there seemed to be some je ne sais quoi missing from this offering.