The third and final film in Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost’s unofficial Three-Flavours Cornetto trilogy. I have to admit, I didn’t actually know what I was to expect. I don’t know why, but I expected it to be a comedy based in pubs with a bit of a haywire, oddball storyline. But given that I’ve seen and loved both Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, I don’t know why I thought it would be simple and straightforward. A moment of pure stupidity to be honest. So when it turned into a sci-fi epic, my interest immediately was picked back up.
The one thing about The World’s End is that it does feel very mid-life-crisis-ey. I think it is deliberately made that way, but some parts do feel really cringey and a bit rubbish. It does come across as a bit rushed and a bit lazy, particularly in the first half. It’s very expected, very run-of-the-mill and a bit dull. Having said that, I do think this could be because I missed the point of the film… Sorry! (us critics can’t be on the ball all the time…) Once the sci-fi element picked up the pace, I actually enjoyed it, even if it did drag on for a little too long. At just short of 2 hours, I definitely think the first half could have been trimmed down, and the second half, made a little more consistent. But, I laughed the whole way through, lots of running jokes left over from the first two films, lots of British-centred laughs and sci-fi nods.
The cast is the best of best in British comedy, even if a female influence is notably absent (which is something which seems inherent in the Cornetto franchise, possibly with the exception of Shaun of the Dead, but still it’s a little male-heavy). The cast though, is a sterling example of British talent, particularly Martin Freeman. The only flaw is that Simon Pegg’s character, Gary, is totally unlikable, even when he’s supposed to be likeable. He’s a flawed boring character who probably hits every single ‘mid-life crisis’ stereotype. The film’s finale is also a little flat. I think it tried to be understated in a ‘typical British way’. Basically, they tried to recreate a Hugh Grant conversation, with a little more swearing, lots of ‘errr well…’ and actually it was a little lame, it definitely deserved a bit of sincerity. It was at this point in the film that it was made clear, this film spawned from ‘Wouldn’t it be great to go out on a bender then end up fighting aliens?’, it’s like banter got out of hand and made its way onto our cinema screens.
I don’t know if The World’s End was lost on me a little, but it wasn’t as good as I was expecting. Maybe it was a bit lost on me, lots of reviews say it’s the best of the trilogy, given that trilogy contains Shaun of the Dead, I’m not too sure. Don’t get me wrong, it’s funny, it’s quirky, it’s interesting, but not quite engaging enough to be worthy of another watch. It’s a little too inconsistent, a little too ‘split’. The last scenes however, are absolutely spectacular. An all out apocalypse, nightmarish scene of hopelessness and lawlessness. I can’t help but feel that had The World’s End been similar in trajectory as Paul (for example) then I would have perhaps enjoyed it a little more. Maybe I should go against my gut instinct and give it another watch, see if I change my mind second time around. I’d like to hear what non-Brits thought of it? (comments below please!)
Overall, despite some rather large plot holes and fairly scattered storyline, I actually thought it was really funny and well made. Anyone who’s watched the first two unofficial Cornetto films should watch it purely out of a feeling of closure, but I think this might appeal more to sci-fi fans, it’s definitely a boys film. The tagline itself is ‘Let’s Get Annihilated’. Tells you pretty much all you need to know.