The World’s End
I treated myself to something special for this film. One of our local theaters was hosting the Cornetto Trilogy, which was Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and then the World’s End and I loved every minute of it (plus they game me a free t-shirt. Wish I knew were I could get more cool nerd t shirts. Oh, wait. I do). I wish to hell Hollywood would take a lesson from Simon Pegg and figure out that big stars and massive gun battles (well, except for Hot Fuzz) are not what’s needed in a good movie.
Yes, another film I rolled in to with a predisposition, thus making my unbiased reviewer qualifications suspect. I am a fan of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and love all their films (even Paul). I expected this one to be amazing, and am pleased to announce that my expectations were met. I am sure a less generous (cough cough fan boy cough cough) reviewer might find things to take issue with, but overall I enjoyed this film immensely.
What’s neat is once again Simon has taken a nerd trope and made it cool again while reinventing his and his friends characters into something completely different. Nick Frost is no longer an unemployed pot dealing loser or half assed cop but rather a high powered and very responsible lawyer (at least until he gets five shots of whiskey into him). Simon Pegg is the loser in this film, a barely adult who has never let go of how cool he was back in high school and yearns for those days all over again (like most of the idiots I spoke to at my reunion. As for me those four years are in my past and if I could call in a tactical air strike on the section of my brain that remembers high school I would (along with my alma mater. Burn in hell SCHS)).
And of course where would a Simon Pegg movie be without a campy action sci fi component. Paul was aliens, Hot Fuzz was cops, Shaun of the Dead was zombies, and the World’s End is all about robots (and sort of aliens). There was also a very cool Invasion of the Body Snatchers component that I enjoyed a great deal. I actually believe a robot uprising to be even more possible than a zombie apocalypse (and if you know how much I believe we are due for zombie apocalypse then you understand how likely I consider the robot uprising) and therefore makes for a great story premise.
It kind of makes me wonder why we don’t have more robot themed movies. Last one I can think of would have to be I, Robot and it really didn’t do very well (to be fair, it was kind of a crappy adaptation of a really good book). I think the issue is most people kind of understand that if there ever were a robot uprising we the human race would be royally boned. Just like it’s hard to have a superhero who is too powerful to compete against (Superman, for example) you can’t have a villain (or villainous force) that the heroes can’t really compete with. It is difficult to imagine fighting something you will break your hand punching in the face. In movie fantasy everyone likes to see themselves as a hero cutting down dozens of bad guys with their machine gun or ninja sword, not one of several thousand faceless BBS’s (Basic Bullet Stoppers) assigned to climb onto a robot tank in order to break it’s suspension with the combined weight of their corpses.
This film manages to get away from that by making the robots old school G.I. Joe style, where the heads and limbs come off easier than a Mr. Potato Head with an M-80 in it. I don’t want to start finding reasons to give black holes, but if I were going to use robots to take over the world I would probably make them at least tough enough to go mano a roboto with some out of shape middle aged drunkards.
So the World’s End. The film starts off with Gary King (Simon Pegg-not going to bother with film credits. If you don’t know who he is get off my blog) recounting the greatest night of his life when he and his four best friends from high school attempting the Miracle Mile-a route planned out to hit 12 pubs in one evening ending up at the World’s End in Newton Haven. He then goes around trying to convince his now grown up friends to recreate the trek and actually finish it this time. They are all grown up and have responsible lives and little interest in a night of alcoholic debauchery. For the record they are Any Knightly (Nick Frost-same as Simon), Peter Page (Eddie Marsan-Snow White and the Huntsman, War Horse, the Best of Men), Oliver Chamberlain (The Hobbit: and Unexpected Journey, Pirates! a Band of Misfits, Sherlock Holmes), and Steven Prince (Paddy Considine-Now is Good, Girl on a Bicycle, Submarine). (See what they did with the names?)
Anyway, Gary bullies, lies, and cajoles them all to join him and they all return to their home town of Newton Haven, a quaint old fashioned burb that I guess England is loaded with and reminds me of a lot of small towns in New Hampshire. Andy is now a teetotaler (what does teetotaler mean? It means you should have stayed awake more in school). They hit the first couple pubs and notice odd things, like no one seems to recognize them. They run into Olivers sister Sam (Rosamund Pike-you know she is really very attractive and an accomplished actress but her filmography reads like a skunk/steamroller mass murder crime scene-Johnny English Reborn, Jack Reacher, Wrath of the Titans. Those three films garnered a total of sixteen black holes from yours truly (granted, Wrath earned most of them but none of them were in the positive)) who Gary did back in the day but Steven has always had a thing for.
Gary gets into a fight with a kid in the mens room and accidentally knock his head off, discovering the awful secret of Newton Haven-most of the town has been taken over by robots. He and his chums mix it up with more and take them all down. They decide the best way to survive is to finish the pub crawl to avoid suspicion (this part didn’t sit great with me, and here is where I show you all what a hypocrite I really am as I have tossed films I cared less about down multiple flights of stairs for plot holes less weighty than this). Gary seems the most interested in finishing it as he appears to have nothing else in his life.
So the film progresses. Things get weirder at each stop as they discover the secret of what the robots are after. The story gets super cool at the end and then hokey again.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Two stars. Robots. One star. All the inside jokes that only a fan of the Cornetto series will get are in full force. One star. A surprise appearance by some very cool stars. One star. Seeing Nick Frost go on a berserk rampage. One star. A film that manages to use the story and action to show the development of relationships between characters rather than treating character development like the muck you pull out of your rain gutter. A true buddy film in the sense that friendship triumphs in the end. One black hole. Free t shirt (which I am wearing right now). One star. Some very cool camera work (as per one of these films) and excellent pacing. One star. No need to bring in huge Hollywood names based on the mistaken belief that people will go see it just because of the star (cough cough Ben Affleck Batman cough cough). One star. Overall an excellent movie experience. Two stars. Total: twelve stars.
The black holes.
I really don’t wanna, but I suppose my much abused credibility needs a bone thrown to it once in a while. The fact that the robot costume I made with a cardboard box, some silver spray paint, and duct tape in 3rd grade had more strength and durability than these robots. Also what was up with the hand thing they all kept on trying to do? When you see it you will understand. One black hole. The logical reason to keep on with the pub crawl was tenuous at best and was literally the turd in the punch bowl for a big chuck of the film for me. One black hole. Total: two black holes.
A very grand total of ten stars. Yes, you should go see this. Yes, you should watch Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz again before seeing it. I’ll say this film was on the level of Hot Fuzz but not quite as good as Shaun (but remember also I have a love of zombies, making that opinion suspect too). See it in a theater and pay full price as a means of telling Hollywood what we, the unwashed nerd masses, want from our films. Date movie? Of course. If the girl you are seeing isn’t turned by a good Pegg/Frost film drop her off at the bus stop and give her a buck for fare as you will never find true happiness with her. Bathroom break? Hell no. Hold it for 109 minutes. Either that or get one of these portable Pit Stops before heading in.
Thanks for reading. I’ll see something else tonight and write it up tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu and like us on Facebook please. If you have a comment on this film or my review post it here, and any off topic questions or suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you soon.