Thursday, 26 September 2013

The World's End (2013)

No one expected The World’s End to cap off the Cornetto Trilogy this way.

While Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were respectively the Airplanes! of zombie and buddy cop films, The World’s End is far less of a rhapsodic dig at genre film than an evolution of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s still-comedic writing to a more mature, confident tone that eschews the youthful, gag-a-minute stylistics of their previous films.

In The World’s End, Pegg takes centre stage as Gary King, a middle-aged man-child who ropes in his much more successsful, thoroughly conventional former high school mates to recreate the best moment of their youth—to raise hell in a circuit of 12 pubs in their hometown.

The twist is not that this Sandlerian reunion movie segues mid-way, Tarantino style, into an alien invasion horror-comedy but that Pegg’s Sandlerian character exists in the real world. King may fancy himself a Peter Pan figure who isn’t tied down to convention and obligations; all his buddies sees is an embarrassing, unreliable, and immature character trying too hard to be cool when cool has moved on in the last 20 years, cracking jokes and telling lies that fall flat all the time.

The World’s End goes much further than Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz to explore the disillusionment of growing up, fitting into society, and the tedium and facelessness of modern life. While the shift into horror gels with the tendency of recent horror films—and its two predecessors—to project unease with modern life into a supernatural setting, The World’s End directly critiques its man-child character, bringing the disjuncture between King’s self-image and his effect on everyone else around him and turns this into a constant comedy punchline running through (and tying through) the reunion comedy and science fiction horror spoof halves of the film.

The World’s End is a less cohesive piece of cinema than the earlier films of the Cornetto trilogy, but it’s a more ambitious, mature, and wistful comedy.

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