World's End, The (Blu-ray / DVD)
Directed by Edgar Wright
Simon Pegg reunited with his comedic brother Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright to wrap up what has become known as The Cornetto Trilogy with The World’s End, a sci-fi/comedy film based on a pub crawl that goes horribly awry.
Of course the success of the other two films in The Cornetto Trilogy, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, meant the bar would be set high for The World’s End, and as would be expected from Pegg, Frost and Wright, they delivered in spades. The film itself is a wonderful treat, filled with big laughs, real emotion and some seriously amazing special F/X, but fans who dive in for the Blu-ray version will be additionally treated to a package overflowing with special features.
The World’s End stars Pegg as Gary King, a man who nearly completed a 12-bar pub crawl called The Golden Mile when he was 19-years old in the town of Newton Haven. That night, he and four friends had the time of their lives, drinking, carousing and looking forward to the adventures that lay ahead on the road of life. Four of the boys moved on, started families, became successful businessmen…Gary did not. Unable or unwilling to grow up, Gary gets the idea in his head to reunite with his old chums 20 years later and attempt The Golden Mile once more, and this time make it to the final bar, The World’s End.
Unfortunately for the group, things don’t go as planned. There’s fighting, police involvement and a little matter of an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-type alien infestation going on right under their noses. Things go from bad to hilariously worse as they often do when Pegg and Frost are involved and before long they find themselves directly at odds with the alien menace.
As would be expected, Pegg is outstanding. He’s manic. He’s marvelously out of control. Still sporting the same clothes he wore on the original pub crawl 20 years earlier, Pegg plays King as a clown, but also a tragic character. Gary can’t move on. His life stopped advancing at age 19 and he became a straw dog, tossed away after being revered in his youth. Pegg brilliantly brings all this out on the screen not only with his outrageous actions and expressions, but with a real depth of acting that we don’t always associate with the guy we best remember walking around with a white shirt and tie brandishing a cricket bat and trying to survive a zombie apocalypse.
Gary is an utter disaster and the focal point of the film, however his cohorts contribute mightily. And none more than Pegg’s regular partner, Nick Frost. Frost plays Andy, the one who was closest to Gary in their youth and the most hurt by Gary’s reckless behavior. Andy comes along for The Golden Mile even though he hasn’t taken a drink in well over a decade. Frost plays the stuffy Andy with a great dry, comedic style, but is even more effective when Andy finally comes out of his shell. And in addition to the comedic delivery, Frost brings it harder than anyone else in the film when it comes to the elaborate fight scenes featured in The World’s End. For a comedy/sci-fi film, the fights are intense with some very, very complicated choreography.
The movie itself has a very ‘who says you can’t go home again’ message to it, as the quintet try to recapture a fleeting moment of their youth. Although to the other four, it’s no big deal, we learn that it is indeed all that Gary has left as he’s fallen that far. So no matter what happens to them, they willcontinue along The Golden Mile. And what we must remember is they are having a pint at each bar, so as the movie rolls on, all the characters are getting progressively drunker, making for some hilarious scenes and conversations.
The sci-fi element of the film is very prevalent and director Wright wastes no time getting to it. After only about a half hour of set up time, the fantastical portion of the movie arrives and twists the entire thing on its ear. The addition of the aliens to The World’s End not only brings about some very original and expertly conceived special F/X, but enhances the comedy as well, including a scene that felt very much like a comedic take on John Carpenter’s The Thing as Gary, Andy and the rest of the crew try to decide who is an alien ‘blank’ and who’s still human. Apparently the fact that you’re sporting a huge Sisters of Mercy tattoo on your chest is not enough to prove you’re human.
The World’s End is a social science fiction movie played out by a brilliant comedic cast. There are statements on the effect of technology on society and about how the small town you grew up in never seems the same when you go back. It’s filled with touching moments from many of the characters that will nearly bring a tear to your eye, that is until Pegg rattles off a line like, “Ah, fuck off back to Legoland you cunts!” Things like that tend to mellow out any emotional imbalances. And it features what may be the most perfect use of The Doors’ Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) ever used in film. This is a top notch thrill ride loaded with outstanding comedy, a great story and unbelievable special F/X. Definitely one to see.
As for the special features, they are voluminous. You’ve got a funny deleted scene, about 10 minutes of goofy outtakes and a bunch of alternate edits to set the table. Then you get into the real meat of the special features. A 45-minute piece entitled Completing the Golden Mile-The Making of The World’s End is the highlight of the bonus material as it offers a tremendously in-depth look from all the actors, the director and many members of the production crew as to what went into making the movie. Wright and Pegg even go back and discuss early writing session ideas.
Equally as entertaining and informative is Filling in the Blanks another thorough piece describing the behind-the-scenes work that went into creating the special F/X for The World’s End. Those who have seen the film know that it did not call for your traditional F/X requirements. Some of the elements this creative team was tasked with bringing to life were absolutely astonishing and it was intriguing to see just how it was done.
The bonus features also include a U-Control option to customize your viewing experience with optional features and also your standard fare, commentary tracks, trailers, etc., but go even deeper with some original script readings and other entertaining nuggets they dug deep to bring you. A quality offering all around!
The World’s End stunt and VFX teams. Watch rehearsals of intricate fight scenes choreographed by some of the movies’ best stuntmen. Learn how the VFX team enhances the existing footage to perfect the film’s look and style. (Blu-ray only)
4 out of 5
4 out of 5