With all good things there is always an end. With that, The Cornetto Trilogy has reached its end. Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, along with director Edgar Wright, the geniuses that brought their genera filled adventures starting with 2004’s horror inspired Shaun of the Dead, seconded by the 2007 action themed Hot Fuzz, finish off with The World’s End. It’s only fitting they would end their series with a science fiction motivated film. Here we find five old friends trying to complete the Golden Mile, an infamous pub-crawl encompassing 12 pubs in their hometown of Newton Haven. The group attempted the crawl as teenagers, but failed to reach the final pub, The World’s End. Now adults, they try again, this time running into more than they bargained for, as the town has been taken over by robots.
The movie centers on Garry King (Simon Pegg), a massively troubled alcoholic who longs for the glory days of his youth in high school when he was a god among his peers, or so he thinks. He refuses to grow up; he’s caught in an early-90s time warp, still listening to mixed tapes of Sister of Mercy and The Soup Dragons. He even still thinks about his high school guidance counselor. Garry decides that the only why to capture that feeling again is to con his four best mates to try and conquer the pub crawl they attempted 20 years before.
He convinces his friends Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver “O-Man” (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Andrew (Nick Frost), who haven’t seen Garry in years, to join him once more unto the breach and relive their youth. Along the way the way they pick up Oliver’s sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), and they all find themselves lost trying to survive as the androids begin to take over.
Each character feels real and fleshed out, each has their ark and ending. Never once did you misunderstand anyone’s motivation. They have an idea and they keep working at it until it’s correct. The World’s End is another fine example of that. There are many scenes with such fast, funny dialogue that it brings a Monty Python-level of awesome, but always character-driven, which is a credit to the writing talent of Pegg, Frost, and Wright.
Like with their other two movies, there is always a lot of comedy mixed with some seriousness to give the movie a little weight. Here it’s no different. Each character has something they’re trying to work through, be it a high school bully, a divorce, lack of money, or Garry’s drug/alcohol past. Each character brings a real issue to the table, which is brilliantly acted by the cast. At the core of this film, like the other three, they’re about friendship and overcoming the odds.
The special effects and fight scenes work well. There’s just enough over-the-top-ness for you to have a laugh and enjoy, but never so over the top that it takes you out of the movie. There’s some really cool CGI effects with the human/robot characters missing limbs, heads, etc. As the guys get more and more drunk (and uncover the sci-fi conspiracy), the more outrageous the fight scenes get as more clumsy destruction increases. Nick Frost is a force of pure nature and rage, and a hero to those of us in the higher waistband range. His kick-assery against the blue-goo robots is very distinctive, he’s an unleashed juggernaut that is among the more entertaining things you’ll see all year.
There is a small underlining message in the movie about technology and how we rely on it way too much. The robots are metaphors for how much ease there is now, and how we as humans let it control our lives. They see us as a race that wants to be controlled, whereas Garry’s whole purpose is to be free and do what he wants to do, a sediment the robots do not agree with. This was just one more thought-provoking element that makes this movie so much deeper than how it looks on the surface, something Pegg, Frost, and Wright are really good at doing.
The movie is fun! If you like these guys and what they do, you’re already won over. As sloppy drunk as the plot may get, it manages to capture the melancholy spirit of men accepting, with some wavering success, that somehow they got old. Something everyone must sit down and think about to himself or herself at one point. This may be the end of the trilogy, but it surely will not be the end of projects from these guys. This keg is far from tapped-out.