As Hollywood refuses to make more than a handful of actually good movies each year I choose to go see The World’s End only because it was the biggest question mark as to quality (and it was pretty much the only one people hadn’t already made up their mind about before even seeing it—either you’re desperate enough to go see the latest pile of dung based on a poorly written teen novel or you’re not; nothing a critic has to say will change that). But back to The World’s End.
It’s a British comedy (sans of most of the low comedy that Americans just don’t get…honestly British low comedy is almost all sex and bodily functions with the maturity of a 12 year old boy…I can only imagine what they say about our low comedy, whatever it is, they’re probably right, we’re just used to it)…and for the most part it’s fairly entertaining in slapstick, nonsensical sort of way. Almost a tad inspiring. I was almost going to give it a C+. Then I saw the ending. A dark, hopeless, shallow ending that negates any joy and makes you feel depressed leaving. So taken as a whole the movie gets an F. (I’d go lower if I could.) Now if you want to leave the movie right when the explosion starts and just tell yourself they all live, C+…but you won’t take my advice, you’ll stay for the entire movie, so it’s an F.
So if you’re either willing to take the chance (or if you’re willing to follow my warning) here’s what the film is about. Gary King (Simon Pegg) is a loser in every sense of the world. He’s in his 40’s and the high point of his life is still the pub crawl that he and his four friends made on the day they graduated high school. The only thing that ruins that memory is that of the 12 pubs in the town they went to school in, they only made it to 9. In a chance to relive his favorite memory and accomplish what he never could before, he gets his friends back together (despite the fact that all of them have actually grown up and become fairly successful, to one degree or another). After conning them all in one way or another he convinces them to come and the first third of the movie is his friends figuring out how Gary is the same loser he has always been having never gone past the cocky teenager who thought a pub crawl was the most important thing in the universe. That’s about the first third of the movie…it’s got a few good laughs but it’s rather dull…good thing they stumble upon a plot by alien robots to conquer to world and it’s only these five drunks who can save the world.
As you can guess the film takes a quick turn toward slapstick as our heroes figure the only way they can avoid detection is finish the pub crawl, ending at the aptly named “The World’s End” tavern. And in between fighting off alien robots that are replacing real people a la the Invasion of the Body Snatcher, drinking a few pints, and coming to terms with life Gary and his friends might actually save the world and grow up just a little…if you walk out before the end. Otherwise you’ll be treated to a theme that says you should never think for yourself and you should only listen to your betters and follow their orders.
It’s a clever film (save that one huge caveat) and has some very entertaining parts. It’s certainly not the deepest film of all time but it’s good for a few laughs.
Just walk about when the explosion starts.