The Cornetto Trilogy‘s final installment, The World’s End, is, fittingly, the most mature of the series. In terms of supercharged editing, it’s somewhere between Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz; and like its predecessors, it uses the tropes of a (sub)genre to tell a story all its own.
Simon Pegg plays Gary King, a selfish, nostalgic man-child who convinces his more successful, mature childhood friends to come back to their hometown of Newton Haven to complete the Golden Mile, a pub crawl they failed to finish after graduating high school. But the town (and its pubs) aren’t quite the way Gary and his friends left them, and the changes aren’t all due to redevelopment initiatives…
Gary King is a fascinating protagonist. There’s a vulnerability to his character that stops him from being utterly unredeemable, even when he is at his most impulsive and irresponsible. A good chunk of the film’s comedy is derived from Gary’s seemingly incurable foot-in-mouth disease, along with the contrast between his childlike behavior and the crumbling tolerance of his more adult friends. As the film progresses, however, and the central characters become more and more inebriated, that emotionally salient gap between Gary and his friends is closed, resulting in both additional hilarious situations and a good deal of character revelation and development.
On a technical level, World’s End is a perfect ten; on a story-crafting level, it’s at least a nine. My one complaint is that the only woman given more than five minutes of screen time is, of course, The Love Interest, destined to be fought over by Gary and one of the other male characters until she ultimately picks one even though neither of them are worthy of her. I say “of course” because men fighting over a woman is something that happened in Shaun of the Dead and is the entire point of Scott Pilgrim, another film directed by Edgar Wright. Therefore, it’s slightly upsetting that, while Wright’s technical skills as a storyteller improve with each film, his methods of incorporating women into a story haven’t evolved since 2004.
That being said, this is a great sci-fi film that I recommend to anyone old enough to watch it.
The World’s End is no longer available to stream on Netflix. You can request the DVD through their site, or you can rent or buy a digital copy from iTunes and Amazon. You can also just splurge on the Blu Ray edition of the full trilogy. (Cover photo abducted from Den of Geek.)