Review: The Worlds End
This is the second of five films that fellow contributor Jeremy Shaw challenged me to watch and review. I have chosen not to watch The Worlds End because I have grown tired of the formula. Ten years ago I loved Shaun of the Dead, and two years later I loved Hot Fuzz. Then I moved on. A few years went by and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost teamed up once again (albeit without Edgar Wright in the directors chair) in the movie Paul. So considering I was a fan of the troupe I went into science fiction comedy expecting to love it. With the addition of a cgi alien voiced by Seth Rogen and SNL alumni Bill Hader it had to be awesome. I watched maybe thirty minutes, turned it off and decided that I was done with Pegg and Frost team ups.
Edgar Wrights career without the comedy duo on screen wasn’t very good either. I am always willing to give credit that Scott Pilgram vs The World had a nice look to it, everything else falls quite flat. The one thing I do remember laughing at was the very brief cameo by Tom Jane.
In addition to growing quite tired of these three filmmakers (Pegg has been great in supporting roles like Mission Impossible and Star Trek) the summer movie season was bloated with movies about the apocalypse. Hollywood having such a short attention span it seemed that the 2012 apocalypse meme’s were all that they cared about. Sure there was a break in remakes, but we were cluttered apocalyptic comedies. So seeing Wright, Pegg and Frost team up once again to complete their Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy (even the name of their trilogy irked me) didn’t appeal to me at all.
It was clear from the start that we were getting the same treatment. Simon Pegg as the goofy, screwed up beyond repair slacker and Frost as the bumbling sidekick with an ensemble of quirky British straight men to play jokes off of.
Honestly, I may not have accepted the challenge to watch this movie if I didn’t finally give Paul a second chance this year. After watching it for a second time I actually really liked it and decided that eventually I would give The Worlds End a shot. Now that I have watched it I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
Don’t get ahead of me with I told you so’s. Everything that I expected to bother me about this movie did bother me. Simon Pegg is the lovable loser and they surrounded him with uptight British tightwads like in the first two films in the trilogy. This is an undeniable fact, no matter how “lovable” Peggs character is.
The first thing that I liked about the movie was that Frost played a character who lived in regret, and hated Pegg. These guys have been friends and film partners for years so they have a natural chemistry. Because of this, the angst between them didn’t feel any bit phony, but quite genuine. Despite the very see through character arcs that the two would ultimately go through getting there wasn’t as painfully dull and predictable as I expected.
Finally after about 40 mins we get to the alien robots and the pace of the film takes off, and it really doesn’t slow down. It was a good mixture of Shaun and Fuzz in a sense.
Now another complaint that I often have about modern science fiction is that it’s too sleek, dark, and boring to look at. The Worlds End thankfully doesn’t fall into those categories. I had feared that it would since Hot Fuzz is so dry in both humor and presentation, but TWE is rich in color pallet and has an interesting take on the Body Snatchers mythos. (Which is what this film truly is another Body Snatchers remake). Which I absolutely love. There’s something about Body Snatchers that I love so much that I have enjoyed every damn version of the film, every movie influenced by it. Seriously even the Aliens reach out like Donald Sutherland at the end of the original remake.
The movie’s climax was exciting and funny, in fact the final “confrontation” with the aliens was probably the funniest part of the movie and it leads to a very surprising ending wherein the world has sort of ended, and humanity is reduced to the dark ages once more. The combination of good humor, good action, and a lot of Easter eggs and nods to past films I quite enjoyed The Worlds End despite some see through plot and the fact that I wanted to hate it.
This is exactly the same movie that they have made twice already. Simon Pegg and sidekick Nick frost, stuck in a town while surrounded by zombies, conspiracy renegade cops, Alien robots.
With a little bit of drama thrown into the mix of comedy and action. It is not exactly a new or fresh take from these guys, but all the same it is enjoyable to watch. Of the trilogy I still very much love Shaun the most, but am glad I finally watched this. based on it’s merits and efforts alone this is absolutely a great companion piece to Shaun, or a stand alone picture.