The World’s End marks the end of one of the most favorite franchises of movie nerds the world over, The Blood and Ice Cream trilogy. The end of a great movie franchise can be a sad thing. While it’s true those characters that we love might not appear on screen together anymore, we should appreciate the journey along the way to the destination that is the end of said movie franchise. But can a movie franchise sometimes not be a franchise at all? Sure it can, case in point, Edgar Wright’s Blood and Ice Cream trilogy. Not a traditional franchise in that it has the same characters for each of the three movies, but it does have a lot of the same actors. What’s great about the three films in this trilogy (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz being the previous two) is that actors that we love are able to explore different characters, particularly the two leads, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. This is part of what makes The World’s End succeed. It maintains the same comedic and dramatic tones, but presents them in vastly different ways.
When Gary King (Simon Pegg) fondly looks back at the happiest moment of his life, the night he and his four best friends graduated from school and then attempted to walk “The Golden Mile” pub crawl, stopping for a pint at each of the 12 pubs in their town. Gary’s never matured beyond this time in his life and his four friends all have. When he gathers them all up, reluctant though they may be to reattempt this most irresponsible of achievements, they’re in for much more than they bargained for because something is very different with the town they know.
The World’s End takes a lot longer to get going than Shaun or Hot Fuzz does. That could be due to both Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s characters being so different than anything you’ve ever seen them play, there’s a lot of groundwork to lay in order for their arc to be as effective as it, especially Frost’s. It’s also got a lot more moving pieces than the previous films, but those pieces are all essential and work fantastically together. Those pieces are of course, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, and Rosamund Pike.
Extras and bit players are used very well here, as they typically are in any Edgar Wright film. The trouble our cast of characters encounters is handled extremely well and while not wholly original, it still feels like nothing like you’ve ever seen at times, which cannot be said about either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz.
Whenever you’ve got a new film from an established filmmaker, or filmmakers in this case, comparisons to their previous work are inevitable. If you had to rank them, The World’s End probably would be ranked third out of the three. But the line that separates the three film is about as thin as the line of quality that separates films in a great trilogy like The Lord of the Rings. Absolutely fans of Shaun or Fuzz should see this, and enjoy it they probably will. What was always a great double feature is now a great triple feature.
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