Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Case for Another End of the World

Shaun of the Dead.  Hot Fuzz.  Dave.  These are movie titles which bring a smile to the face of many a hard drinking man.  Well, perhaps not Dave.

But the other two are part of what is known for fairly random reasons as the Cornetto trilogy.  The final of the three, The World's End starring stalwarts Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, has finally arrived.   

Like the others, a few characters stumble across a situation which at first appears normal but underneath the veneer of normalcy, something untoward is brewing.  In Shaun of the Dead, it was a mini Zombie apocalypse.  In Hot Fuzz, an ordinary town was actually populated by characters with very, brutally dark sides.

In The World's End… well, something goes astray as well, and while you probably know what it is, I won’t go into those details here.  Suffice to say that the “normal” part involves a bunch of mature men in comfortable jobs being brought together by their teenage “leader” to complete the 12-bar pub crawl that they began, but never commenced, in their final year at high school.   

Pegg plays Gary King, a man stuck in the past and trying to relive old glories, taking his old school chums, including Frost (playing a respectable, intelligent lawyer rather than his usual mostly thick sidekick, for a change), Martin Freeman and some other well familiarly-faced British thespians (Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine) back to the town they left a long time ago and revelling (to varying degrees) in the familiar but not quite the same scenery.

The film starts out as it continues: with quite a few jokes and humourous 90s references amongst quite a bit of what feels like filler.  It’s all very pleasant (in an occasionally offensive way), and it doesn’t seem to want to rush to where it has to go.  That could be seen as being “leisurely” and “comfortable” with the characters, the dialogue and the actors, but for me it bordered on being just a little boring.  Indeed, the boys bar hopping seems to go on far past the point I would have ever thought it would have been allowed to, considering how other aspects of the plot develop.   

This is a completely laddish film through and through, with barely any female characters and only one that gets more than a couple of lines (the rather awesome Rosumund Pike, putting on her best unimpressed face).  And it’s hilarious at times, amusing at others, and a little… easy at critical aspects as well.  

Nonetheless, despite the fact it didn’t strike me as quite as amusing as the other Cornetto Trilogy entries, it’s a film determined to have a good time (sometimes a little too calculated) and for the most part it succeeds.

Verdict:  The World's End treads more familiar ground than the other films in the Cornetto Trilogy, but nonetheless, it’s a lot of laddish fun starring familiar actors (if not characters) doing the loveable, oafish and stupid things they do best.  7 plastic limbs out of 10.

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