Title: The World’s End
Country: UK, USA, Japan
Genre: Comedy, Action, Sci-Fi
Director: Edgar Wright
Music: Steven Price
Cinematography: Bill Pope
THE WORLD’S END, British enfant terrible Edgar Wright’s fifth feature, caps the “The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” after SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) and HOT FUZZ (2007), all star the dynamo-duo Pegg and Frost.
Continuing the trilogy’s genre-bucking tradition (buddy comedy + violence), this time, the Pegg-Frost pair must buckle down to battle an alien-invading conspiracy theory in the present day, in company with three other school friends (Considine, Marson and Freeman), on the premise that Pegg’s alcoholic Gary King convenes them to complete the “Golden Mile”, a pub crawl encompassing 12 pubs in Newton Haven, their hometown, a feat they failed to consummate when they were teenagers in the year of 1990.
Gary’s nostalgic monomaniac of insisting in reaching the drinking finish line, the last pub is timely named as the film’s portentous title, is played up as a recurring resultant theme of a disappointing adulthood he has experienced, since after that epic night in 1990, Gary’s supposedly auspicious future never takes off and two decades later, all he hankers after is to relive that glorious moment, only this time, not all the cohorts are in the same page with him, in particular, Andy Knightley (Frost), who holds a grudge towards Gary’s arrested development and nerve-racking garrulity. Still, he is somehow persuaded to get on aboard in their reunion trip (by an asinine white lie from Gary), the Five Musketeers are back in town and what a small world! Gary’s old flame Sam (Pike, in her dismaying before-GONE-GIRL-spell of thankless offers), the sister of Oliver Chamberlain (Freeman, evinces a whiff of bluetooth-hooked savvy) is also visiting, although it is Steven Prince (Considine) who has been secretly carrying a torch for her all these years.
Only in the midway of their four-pints-and-one-water pub-crashing (Andy is teetotal now), a blunt incident changes the gear from blokey tipsiness to alien combat, before soon they would realize the entire town is populated by extraterrestrial doubles in the form of their human hosts, a bit hokey, right? (amongst them inhabits tiny few original human beings) But the hair-raising discovery is almost instantly and jejunely diluted by the fact that the aliens are quite gawky in action and fragile in substance (basically a blue liquid filled broken-easily body), thus, purveying Gary and co. a splashy and rough-housing chance to heroically fight their way to the World’s End pub in spite of being cosmically outnumbered.
Wright’s quirky make-up preordains that goofiness and recklessness are in the forefront, and any attempt of cerebral parsing its context would be scuttled by the heady but over-familial chase-and-rumble, squabble-and-quaffing wackiness, veritably, the ultimate weapon to demoralize the pedagogic and incorporeal alien mastermind (voiced by Nighy) is the devil-may-care cheekiness embodied by Gary, an anticlimax built on boosted egoism and utter puerility, not to mention Pegg’s over-zealous performance only cause irritation to escalate, there is no charisma whatsoever in such a self-centred character.
Once getting through the whole trilogy, one may get the impression that Wright is nothing but a one-trick-pony, ingratiating into the mainstream spotlight with his seemingly path-breaking pastiche of comedy and other more grisly genres, with three features repeat its rudimentary sameyness of a simpleton’s fantasy and eschew a more grand scenario in favor of downmarket goofiness, thrills and spills wear thin inevitably and fatigue transpires, which makes Wright’s next project BABY DRIVER, scheduled in this August, a salient testing ground for him to prove his worth, sink or swim? At this point, the former looks more likely for this reviewer’s money.