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BREAKING: This is a review of a film currently in the cinemas. I know, a novel idea eh? (as always, minor spoilers maybe)
The World's End
Before I begin, let me ask you a question: “Just what is it that you want to do?”. Seriously, what do you want to do? Or, what did you want to do? Some kids want to be astronauts, some want to be doctors, some want to be Power Rangers. Me? I wanted to be a cat when I was younger, but that isn't important. I'm not sure what I want to be now, I'm not sure I'll even get the choice of what job I'll do when I either: Fail my A-Levels, fail my undergraduate degree, pass my undergraduate degree. Even the third option doesn't guarantee much these days, and it is that notion of security and belonging that runs rife throughout The World's End.
Just what is it that you want to do?
The final installment in the “Cornetto Trilogy”, three films linked by the vague use of ice cream, The World's End is a tale of five friends meeting up once more to relive a night of debauchery and finally complete “The Golden Mile” (twelve pints in twelve pubs in one small town), which they failed to do back in 1990. Simon Pegg (without ginger hair) plays Gary King, a troubled adult with an obsession of reclaiming his youth. His four friends,played by Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan, have all “grown-up” since their youth, and all four hold steady jobs and have become integrated members of society. They are secure in their lives, whereas Gary King is not.
Now, its hard to analyze The World's End without looking back at the two previous films in the loose fitting trilogy, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Shaun of the Dead, a “Rom-Zom-Com” as dubbed by Simon Pegg, deals with a zombie apocalypse, whereas Hot Fuzz, buddy cop action film, deals with the layer beneath the surface in middle-class suburbia, much in the same way as David Lynch's Twin Peaks did, or The Stepford Wives, or whatever comparison you'd like to make, there are hundreds I'm sure.
In fact, all three films in the series are tainted by their devotion to suburban life. Even Shaun of the Dead, set in London, seems like its own isolated bubble cut off from the rest of society. This feeling of isolation resonates throughout all three films, Shaun of the Dead with the zombie apocalypse, Hot Fuzz with village life being cover for a more macabre exercise, and now The World's End, where visiting old adolescent haunts gives way to the invasion of the very human race.
It is fitting then, that The World's End brings the trilogy to a natural conclusion, exploring themes of loss and having to grow up in a world where image now dominates. Simon Pegg's character, Gary King (yes, like the rival in Pokémon), is stuck in a sort of stunted adolescence. He worries that his life will never feel complete unless he finishes the Newton Haven “Golden Mile”. So, he rounds up his old friends and descends on Newton Haven to finish what he began 23 years ago. Closure is what Gary King needs, and closure is what this film brings to the viewing audience.
The World's End is a comedy (believe it or not) and like its predecessors, it has its fair share of funny moments, many coming from Simon Pegg's character. Despite him being funny, this leaves the film feeling uneven and the four other members of the gang feeling like background characters, only there to fulfill Gary King's quest. This does, however, fit in with the narcissism of King's character, the other four believing they are just “tag-alongs” on King's quest. So I suppose this is a minor gripe, when every member of the gang feels real and believable, something you can't say about a number of similar films.
Full of fantastic music fitting the era of their youth, The World's End is a fitting tribute to the Wright, Pegg, Frost triumvirate of the last three years. From humble beginnings playing “Timesplitters 2” in Shaun of the Dead, Pegg and Frost come full circle with the advent of the technological age. I hope this isn't the last film the three of them make together.