"The World's End' wraps up 'Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy' September 21, 2013 • Patrick White
With an Edgar Wright film you are in for British lunacy with a subplot that usually overpowers the original plot by the end. This is a method of storytelling not often seen in the United States, so consider it a special honor that Wright’s latest film is gracing a Hastings theater with its presence.
Wright made his major directorial debut with 2004’s “Shaun of the Dead.” Since then he has made the “Dead” follow-up “Hot Fuzz,” the comic adaptation “Scott Pilgrim versus the World” and will begin production on Marvel’s “Ant Man” soon. “Dead” and “Fuzz” are part of the thrilling and often hilarious “Three Flavours Cornetto: Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” written and directed by Wright and starring his frequent collaborators, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. A third scoop of Wright filmmaking goodness is no doubt a tasty treat for fans and a marathon before seeing this third installment, “The World’s End,” might be thrice as sweet.
Pegg, Frost and Wright have built a brand of English comedy that only they can claim, which inserts a series of rapid-fire close-ups into worlds not unlike our own. The simple task of getting ready for work or getting a beer becomes just one more moment of excitement in a normal day.
Stories of friendship, romance and search for bravery are intrinsic in all of Wright’s films, but what makes them unique is what fuels the engines of his films. There is usually a fantastical or unusual element attached, the main characters must either face the conflict and live another day or meet with destruction. In “Shaun of the Dead” Pegg and Frost faced off against zombies, “Hot Fuzz” found the duo in conflict with a secret organization, and “The World’s End” pits the two against androids that walked out of a “Doctor Who” episode seeking world domination.
“The World’s End” finds five former friends 20 years later after attempting an epic pub crawl, but failing miserably. They return to their hometown as mature, masters of their domains to face this once youthful adventure, but what follows makes the epic nature of their last attempt a pale ale.
The film beginning with a flashback acts as a great introduction for the characters and their motivations as young men. The audience is then forced to fly through the years as we find Pegg and his mates in different surroundings and with more mature attitudes and occupations, all except for Pegg’s character, who would prefer to relive the glory days in his “Beast” and listen to old mix tapes.
Reviewer Pete Hammond of Movieline was hooked by the nonsensical adventures of a group of former friends led by Gary King in the first half hour, but I was waiting for everything to change into a real Wright adventure full of fun and fantasy. I was certainly not disappointed when King faces off against a young townie in a bathroom. The battle between old and young ends in a nasty decapitation, but don’t let that keep you away, because this boy doesn’t spew blood and guts — instead a blue dye spills out, revealing a plot that I did not expect at all.
If you are a fan of Wright’s previous films or have enjoyed performances from great English actors such as Simon Pegg (“Star Trek” franchise) and Martin Freeman (“Sherlock,” “The Hobbit”) then I can’t recommend Wright’s “The World’s End” enough. A battle of androids versus men ensues, but really what results is the important internal struggle King suffers as a man living in the past, but who’s to say who is in the right. You might walk away cursing the name of King or shouting his praises and dismissing the yuppie attitude. Wright allows you the chance to think who from these two social groups might cause or avert “The World’s End.”