I’m a fan of Simon Pegg, although I admit to have not seen much of his work. Yes, I’ve seen him as Scotty in the new interpretation of Star Trek, and in Mission Impossible, and I was delighted to have seen Shaun of the Dead, but I missed Hot Fuzz, Spaced, Paul, and even Band of Brothers.
But I do know Pegg was the visual inspiration for Wee Hughie in “The Boys.” (Film dudes, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up.)
Anyway, when I saw that Simon Pegg was going to be in a movie with his frequent collaborator Nick Frost (who, again, I’ve only seen in Shaun of the Dead), along with Martin Freeman (who I really like), I was already on board.
Enough backstory about me.
Tonight my wife and I had a chance to go see The World’s End at our local theater, and we did not leave disappointed. We had a really great time.
Susan Monk over at Geek Girl Soup mentioned that she was looking forward to my review, so I took that as an omen that a movie review should be my next blog post. And here we are.
The World’s End Movie Review by Pat Sponaugle (c’est moi.)
I’ll spare you all a grueling recap of the flow of the movie. (If you miss that, feel free to re-read my Elysium or Enter the Dragon recaps… If You Dare.) I’ll give some non-spoilery review, then some spoilery thoughts and observations, then call it a night.
Non Spoilery Part
IMDB helpfully categorizes The World’s End as an action, comedy, science fiction movie. That’s right on all three counts. Although, there is some significant setup at the beginning that isn’t necessarily action packed, science fictiony, or even that funny. It’s pretty much a drama. But after awhile, the comedy begins to creep in, then the action starts, and then the SF. (And by SF, I don’t mean San Francisco.)
If you need some things to compare it to, it’s similar in some ways to Hot Tub Time Machine, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But again, I’m mentioning movies that have some similar aspects, this movie did not feel derivative.
There’s a lot of charm to the movie, and heart, and action. The action sequences, in many ways, were more sophisticated than I expected. I love surprises like that.
Anyway, if you get a chance, go see the movie. If not just for Simon Pegg, go see it for his buddy Nick Frost, who I loved in this movie.
And now, SPOILERS.
The movie basically is the (reverse) twelve-step program of Simon Pegg’s character, Gary King. Gary wants to relive an attempt at a classic pub crawl: a pint at each of the twelve pubs along the golden mile in their old hometown, starting at the aptly named First Post and stopping at the again aptly named Word’s End.
It’s not exactly clear why Gary so desperately needs this, but it seems to have been well enough established that Gary is pretty much at the end himself and either has an idea that actually completing the failed attempt would be a symbolic turning point in his life, or this is a bucket list item of a man with nothing else to live for.
Since this is a comedy, I’m okay that we don’t get a good answer (people can feel free to enlighten me with their opinions), but even without really knowing, the movie surprised me with the amount of emotion and heart that was not as present in Hot Tub Time Machine, which had a similar character to Pegg’s King in Rob Corddry’s Lou.
Much of this drama came out in King’s relationship with his childhood friend and wingman Andy Knightley, played by Nick Frost. Frost is fantastic in this movie, not only emotionally but physically as the surprisingly effective anti-alien badass.
Now, I really enjoyed Pegg’s performance as the main motivator for the story, but it was Frost’s story that I found the most engaging. Did I say already that I love Frost in this movie? Well, I’m pleased to say it multiple times then.
When he grabbed two stools, one for each arm, as makeshift head-smashing bludgeons, I felt like I was watching a Jackie Chan movie. I’m a big fan of the Everyman Hero Who Kicks Ass, and now I’ve been acquainted with the British football hooligan pub-brawling variant.
Everyone in the movie was great. I always like seeing Freeman, Eddie Marsan was sweetly likable as the meek Peter Page, and although I don’t think I’m familiar with Paddy Considine, the actor who played Steven Prince, I really liked him as the man who in the past had chafed being stuck in the shadow of the King.
Those names were a nice shorthand: King, Prince, Knightley, Page, and Chamberlain (Martin Freeman’s character, Ollie.) I’m glad I didn’t notice the names so much in the movie, it wasn’t until afterwards that the associations other than Gary King being “The King” hit me.
So, the movie wasn’t crazy amazing. It’s a bit of a stretch that the aliens just gave up rather than continuing to debate three drunken Englishmen. Or killing them as they had Ollie and Peter. But I was happy enough to go along.
And the fact that there actually was a post-societal apocalypse surprised me and delighted me. The surreal aspect of Simon Pegg’s character, dressed like Vampire Hunter D, going into a bar with the rebooted robots of his childhood buddies was just great.
And, didn’t Pierce Brosnan look great?