This is How the World Ends


Go see The World's End. That is all.

Wait, you need more? Well, I wasn't planning to write anything about it. I'm too busy now, and forever apparently, and I do this purely out of love. What follows is not so much a review of The World's End as it is an urging you to see all three films in the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy, so dubbed after an ice cream that makes a number of appearances. They are not technically a trilogy as each stands completely on its own, with different characters, situations, and settings. It's not necessary to watch them in order, and you won't be lost if you watch only one. But they are related as they share a sense of humor, a fast cut editing style used for comedic effect in certain scenes, a nonchalant attitude that turns to anxious action when the characters finally wake up to the reality around them, and a creepy Halloween feel of crisp air, falling leaves, and danger around any corner. There are also familiar faces, a terrific running visual gag about fence hopping that never fails to crack me up, and in every one, in the middle of everything there are tender moments, some purposefully melodramatic and milked for laughs but many genuine. 

The first of the series is Shaun of the Dead. I had no respect for any zombie movie until this one. Cardboard cutout characters, bland acting, and appalling writing gave me no reason to. Shaun has everything the genre was lacking plus a lot of personality and laughs, but it doesn't pull punches. Neither does Hot Fuzz, a buddy cop movie where the bodies start gruesomely dropping left and right before the Village of the Year competition. Still the police investigate small town mischief, track an escaped swan, and participate in the fair. "Yarp," this is another great one. The latest, The World's End (if you hadn't seen me use the name twice already), tackles science fiction territory with an alien invasion by body-snatching takeover. 

It all starts with Gary King (Simon Pegg) trying to get the gang back together to attempt an epic pub crawl in their hometown of Newton Haven that they had failed at 20 years prior. Though Andy (Nick Frost), Steven (Paddy Considine), Peter (Eddie Marsan), and Oliver (Martin Freeman) wanted nothing to do with it, Gary is the king and always gets his way. Everyone has grown up, but Gary is stuck in his past, desperate to recapture something he never had, a realization he points out in the beginning that is also a key earned moment in the end. So the reluctant group sets out to visit the 12 pubs of the Golden Mile, from The First Post to the World's End, via a circuitous route seemingly designed to stymie the wasted. But it doesn't take long for these former friends to clash, one of them not even drinking (sacrilege!), because of something that happened between him and Gary. Oliver's sister, Sam (Rosamund Pike) joins them on and off, but Steven still has a crush on her that he has kept secret for these many years. In short order they get to a point where old feelings are bubbling to the surface, especially from poor Peter. You just want to give him a big hug after he pours his heart out about being bullied. Then a fight ensues in a bathroom, finally revealing the town's secret: robots have taken over. But don't call them that. They don't like it. What I love about these "blanks" is that they aren't super powered and indestructible. They can be taken out by a bunch of drunk guys who may have had a few self defense lessons. I loved watching the husky Andrew kick butt...and run. He did so much running he made me tired, and I kept thinking, "WTF?" - another great joke, by the way - "How did Nick Frost not have a heart attack? Good for him."

I'll stop there before I give away more than the trailers. Pegg, Frost, writer/director Edgar Wright, and company will send you into fits of laughter and then tug at your emotions. Characters are believable as human beings. They're not boring fill-in-the-blanks. They are witty, foul-mouthed, vulnerable, maddening people, and you care for their well-being. As always, Simon and Nick's real-life friendship shows through fantastic chemistry. When they finally fight their way to the End, there is a great example of how to fit sobering drama into a comedy. It was a touching scene where all the pent up frustrations finally boiled over. There's a lot of heart in this trilogy along with the frequent laughs, so if you haven't seen any of it yet, you may want to get to the theater as soon as possible. I would have thought that there would be more fans of these movies in the States by now, six years after the last. It's sad to think that so few know about them. They deserve to be seen and loved and shared and endlessly quoted. There's just such a wonderful feeling I get from these collaborations that it's hard to put into words. But at least I tried.

I was late with this because the family didn't feel well on opening weekend and the next was too busy. We went last Saturday and it took me all week to write because things. Life gets in the way, as I'm sure you well know. Maybe one day I'll get a chance to review each movie.

Some interviews to pass the time when you're done:

Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright Talk MOTY and The World's End ~ GQ

Interview: The World's End Director Edgar Wright and Star Nick Frost ~ The Week

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and director Edgar Wright talk about their trilogy-capping new comedy, The World’s End ~ AVClub

Interview at the World's End: A Cornetto Retrospective with Pegg, Frost and Wright ~ Geek Exchange

Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost Talk Themes and Foreshadowing in The World's End ~ SlashFilm

The World's End Interview: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost Reveal the Formula Behind Movie Beer ~ ShockYa

Cornetto Trilogy Easter Eggs


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