A surprisingly entertaining satire for the summer doldrums of August.
The World’s End
Director: Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead)
Screenplay: Simon Pegg (Paul), Wright
Cast: Pegg (Hot Fuzz), Nick Frost (Paul)
Runtime: 109 min.
by John DeSando “We're going to see this through to the bitter end. Or... lager end.” Gary King (Simon Pegg)
Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright are at it again satirizing pop culture, this time with an entertaining send up of zombie movies (even their own spoof, Shaun of the Dead) and boy-man buddy vacations like Hangover.
Five middle-aged blokes, led by the perennially immature Gary King (still the “King,” he’d like to think), return after 20 years to their hometown to finish the crawl to the 12th and final pub, The World’s End. The obvious allegory is fun to follow as robotic replicas of actual humans try to take over the world. Their mission is to make earth and humans perfect, a goal any lame brain knows is impossible. Aliens have been trying to conquer earth since movies began with little success given our need for independence and ingenuity finding the alien weaknesses.
The real strength of The World’s End is in the dialogue with its rapid repartee. For example: Gary King: And here we go! Just like the five musketeers. Steven Prince: Three musketeers wasn't it? Gary King: Well nobody knows how many there were really do they? Oliver: You do know that The Three Musketeers was a fiction right, written by Alexander Dumas. Gary King: A lot of people are saying that about the bible these days. Steven Prince: What, that it was written by Alexander Dumas. Gary King: Don't be daft, Steve; it was written by Jesus.
Covering authorship and ignorance issues while being amusingly clueless is the endearment of Pegg and Wright’s democratic humor—after all, none of the players is exempt from stupidity.
Perhaps more importantly, however, is the thematic point about not being able to go home again. The protagonists grew up in the same town, and returning to finish their crawl reveals that no one remembers them! Of course, since the townies are almost all robots, they couldn’t remember them anyway. Yet the point is figuratively well taken: Nobody cares about you after you’re gone.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com