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The World's End - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
The World's End
Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B
Editing: A-
Special Effects: B+

We may have just seen Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in the underrated Paul two years ago, but The World's End is their third collaboration with cult British director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz</i>). It's great to see all these guys together again, and this time around Pegg (who co-wrote) and Frost are joined by Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan.

These five guys are old high school friends, semi-estranged from each other, or at least they haven't all hung out in years. Pegg plays Gary King, the one among them in a state of arrested development. Twenty years after high school, in a bit of desperation, he deftly convinces all these friends to reunite to run through the 12-pub pub crawl in their home town that they were unable to finish in 1992.

Gary is an alcoholic, depressed, and possibly suicidal. The other guys join him on this trip almost out of pity. This makes for some pretty serious undertones to a comedy that is ultimately quite silly on the surface -- this thematic dynamic being a bit of an Edgar Wright specialty. Even when events turn otherworldly, the movie never stops being about these old friends, how much they love each other, and the circumstances that pulled them apart.

That's what makes The World's End -- named after the pub at the end of their pub crawl list -- like Edgar Wright's other movies, and thus what makes it worth seeing. It has a peculiar mix of sweet and funny. There's something sort of missing in this film as compared to the others, though, and that's an overt homage to a particular cinematic genre. Shaun of the Dead was a British version of a zombie movie; Hot Fuzz was a Brit-ified buddy cop action movie. Both were hilarious, and although The World's End is very funny at times, it doesn't quite stack up in the laughs department. It easily makes up for that, however, in simple sincerity -- characters that come across as genuine, even when put in a preposterous context, can go a long way.

I can't say much more without getting into spoiler territory. Let's just say that the people these guys find in the town they grew up aren't what they seem. And their motivations aren't quite what they seem either. More than once in this movie, it goes in a direction that countless other films have gone, only to take a sharp turn at the last minute. Places other movies won't go, this one will -- and they are places you didn't even realize were an option. That's what makes it fun.

There's a lot of opportunity for special effects here, and Wright uses them sparingly, pretty obviously due to budget constraints. There's a climactic sequence that looks fairly spectacular, at least, but the townspeople and what can be done with their bodies is oddly simplistic. It's not particularly important, though. Here we've got a movie where effects are not what drive the story, and instead it's the characters -- and they succeed at holding our attention. Simon Pegg is rather convincing as a middle-aged infantile alcoholic, and although this movie is a comedy, he reveals some subtle dramatic talent.

There's only one notable female character (Rosamund Pike as Sam, one of the friends' sister), which as always is a little disappointing. It seems like even British films are irritatingly top-heavy with roles for men, but in this case I suppose we have to be fair: the very story is about nostalgic middle-aged men insisting on completing a pub crawl even while it appears the world is indeed ending. What are the chances we'd ever see a group of women doing that? In a story like this, we'll take what we can get.

And really, although The World's End isn't quite on par with Edgar Wright's previous films, it's still close -- there's plenty to get from it, in other words. It's surprisingly genuine; it delivers the laughs; and it has delightful twists. It's still a fresh perspective, and it commands attention.

(L-R) Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Simon Pegg, Paddy Considine and Martin Freeman get a little more than they bargained for at THE WORLD&apos;S END.

Overall: B+
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