Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's Ice Cream and Blood Trilogy (each film features ice cream, blood, and an exaggerated play on film genre) ends on a high note with The World's End. This clever sci-fi/comedy is the ridiculous love letter to the genre you've come to expect from the creators of the RomComZom (Shaun of the Dead) and one of the most entertaining, self-referential cop/action films ever (Hot Fuzz). Gary King peaked in 1992 when he and his four best friends spent one glorious night going head to head with the Golden Mile. This 12 part pub crawl required the teenagers to drink one pint of beer at twelve different pubs in their home town of Newton Haven. They failed, but had the time of their lives instead. When Gary realizes that his goal was never achieved, he tricks his former friends into returning to Newton Haven for the first time in 20 years to finish the Golden Mile. Tensions reach the boiling point right when the friends discover something is terribly wrong with the town they ran away from.
The World's End is a very clever film. The first act crams in a whole lot of exposition without feeling like a lot of exposition. It's just so funny and charming that you go along with it. When the sci-fi content takes over, the film starts to soar. The dry humor and wordplay of the first act is amped up to absurdity as the friend take on whatever monstrosity has taken over their home town.
Like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz before it, the acting is what really sets this Wright/Pegg collaboration apart. Simon Pegg plays against type as the obnoxious, immature, and totally delusional Gary King. Nick Frost is also playing against type as Gary's former best friend Andy. Something drove a wedge between them and Andy came out on top as a smart, kind, considerate, sober, and even-tempered businessman unwilling to put up with Gary's narcissism any longer. Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan round out the friends with keen comedic timing and a total commitment to the slapstick style of the Ice Cream and Blood Trilogy.
The special effects deserve special mention here. The World's End takes a common sci-fi trope and reinvents it with a brilliant monster design. The mechanics of the invading characters are mind-blowing and hilarious in equal measure. The makeup and effects nod to several iconic genre films--Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Evil Dead--without copying what those films are known for.
The World's End is a fantastic treat for any sci-fi fan who feels the big budget action films haven't been paying proper tribute to the genre. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright clearly love the genre and reinvent some of the most reliable pure genre elements into a simultaneous love letter to and send up of science fiction.
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