On anticipation of this film, I was concerned that there would be a distinct case of what I call 'Austin Powersing' (using the same gags and punchlines, but just filming them from another angle. It should be added to the Oxford Dictionary soon). Watching a trailer involving Simon Pegg failing to jump over a fence... again... worsened my fears. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find 'The Worlds End' to be an altogether new and refreshing experience, as well as doing justice to the previous films in the trilogy.
|Only Martin Freeman made it through to the judges house.|
Of course, some necessary changes are in order to keep things unexpected: by this point in the actors' and director's careers, a robot invasion is pretty run- of- the mill. Firstly, the Frost- Pegg role reversal serves to make Simon Pegg's character, Gary King, what he himself calls 'a bit of a dick.' Far from the empathy we feel when Shaun lost his girlfriend back in 2004, Gary's predatorial arrogance incites fear lest he is unleashed on womankind. Scenes involving disabled toilets and getting off with school- aged girls don't do him any favours. In contrast, Nick Frost's character, Andrew Knightley, is on a par with 'Hot Fuzz's Sergeant Nicholas Angel in his determination to stay sensible, and, above all, sober.
The interplay between Gary's outright reckless stupidity and Andy's exasperated need to protect and follow him crafts this film into a cross between 'War of the Worlds' and 'The Inbetweeners,' perpetuated by the opening scenes showing school aged versions of the five unlikely heroes blundering their way drunkenly through their home town of Newton Haven. Interestingly, the location shots were filmed in Welwyn Garden City, which I'm sure my fellow Hertfordshire dwellers agree, could very well be the World's End (if it didn't contain the EPIC roller disco).
Fans of the trilogy will feel a glimmer of warmth and familiarity through playful references to the previous films. Whilst the gang try to look natural as they nervously negotiate their way to the pub, the classic zombie impressions from 'Shaun' spring to mind, whilst we also have the pleasure of witnessing a second ex- Bond, this time in the form of Pierce Brosnan instead of 'Hot Fuzz's Timothy Dalton (don't worry, Brosnan doesn't sing in this one... I still haven't listened to ABBA since).
|'Gaston! I thought you were dead!'|
Other memorable performances include Martin Freeman's portrayal of Oliver, an estate agent whose vapid cheeriness makes him the perfect candidate for alien mind- invasion, and Paddy Considine as Steven, the worthy winner of love interest Sam's affection through his comparative chivalry compared with Gary (he doesn't even make rude hand gestures!) Rosamund Pike is the perfect choice as the female lead, attractive and ditzy in equal measures.
Perhaps more macabre in tone than its predecessors, 'The World's End' develops an emotional depth explored in 'Shaun' (who can forget Shaun having to shoot his own mother?) and nearly forgotten in 'Hot Fuzz.' Through earning a larger budget for the final film, Edgar Wright takes advantage of spectacular effects sequences which give the trilogy a fittingly apocalyptic ending, whilst showing how far the team have come since their debut collaboration, 'Spaced'. He also manages to make Ford Fiestas look bad- ass. (Well, even more so).
Whilst perhaps not as concise as 'Shaun of the Dead', or as consistently hilarious as 'Hot Fuzz', 'The World's End' fittingly embraces the Cornetto Trilogy's mantra; the endurance of humanity depends upon fierce friendship, blind resilience and a LOT of beer.
P.S Check out some great fan art and photos on tumblr: http://thecornettotrilogy.tumblr.com/tagged/hot-fuzz