Edgar Wright‘s new film, the final chapter in the loose trilogy of films that also includes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is The World’s End. The movie opened outside the US earlier this summer, but this weekend it hits the States. The story of five friends (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine) who are roped into taking on a pub crawl they failed twenty years prior, the film is a sci-fi comedy that explores the effect of nostalgia and the ways that life goes on (or sometimes doesn’t) as we grow older.
This is a slightly different sort of comedy from the prior two films in the “trilogy,” but one that is still very definitely related to those individual chapters. In the comments below, tell us what you thought of The World’s End; keep in mind that spoilers are encouraged here.
There are a lot of things to talk about with respect to The World’s End, but I’ll keep this short. I’ll just air (or re-air) two points that continue to stick with me.
The first is the way that Wright, Frost, and Pegg shy away from making this a film about robots or aliens. While there are otherworldly elements to the story, they’re not the focus. That’s as it should be, I think. Sure, they could have gone into great detail about the precise nature of the metaphor-made-real faced by the characters. But in the end that would be too neat, and potentially rather dull. Much better to leave some mystery there and focus on the human characters and what their encounters do to them, rather than exploring the specific origin of the sci-fi elements.
The other note is to applaud that the climax of the film is a conversation (or an argument) rather than a battle. There’s no shortage of fighting in the film, but I love that the real meat of the encounter between Gary and the aliens plays out as it does. That sequence stands out among so many summer film climaxes because of that fact, and also because it may be the best Douglas Adams sequence that Adams never wrote. As someone who goes back to the ’05 Hitchhiker’s Guide film just for the bits that did turn out well, I can see the very Hitchhiker’s-esque climax of The World’s End as something I want to watch many times in the future.
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