Review: The World’s End

The World's End

The World's End - Credit: Archant

After creating the third greatest use of a half-hour comedy slot on a Channel 4 Friday night, the creative trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost moved to the big screen and made British films you weren't embarrassed to let foreigners see.

Some nine years on from Shaun Of The Dead, we reach, rather sadly, the final part of their 'Cornetto trilogy' and what better way to go out than with a big, celebratory booze-up.

The World's End is a film about a memorable pub crawl so it is appropriate that it starts slowly but gets funnier and funnier as they get drunker and drunker. (As opposed to a film about a typical pub crawl, which would start full of optimism and hope, and then degenerate into confusion and ill-conceived, badly executed action sequences – like many other summer movies.)

Initially it eschews the genre parodies of Shaun and Hot Fuzz.

Twenty years on, five school friends meet up in their home town to recreate an epic pub crawl they undertook the day they left school. The opening scenes of the gang as youths have an awkward sun-kissed Cemetery Junction feel to them and, once the group has been reassembled, it takes a while to break the ice.

Pegg plays a fairly desperate figure, a wild man who has never found anything in adult life to equal his teenage dreams, while the other four are all respectable, settled, middle-class professionals.

Fortunately, this isn't another tragi-comic tale of middle-aged yearnings and, when a sci-fi threat makes itself known the evening really takes off.

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This is a film that knows when to twist and when to stick, when it needs to tweak audience expectation and when to give them what they want.

Superhero movies await Wright in Hollywood and here he delivers a pub fight scene that is edited so crisply it generates more excitement than anything we've seen this summer since Star Trek Into Darkness.

Pegg is fundamentally miscast but it isn't allowed to hold the film back.

I howled with laughter quite often – though the next day couldn't really remember most of what was so funny. But I recall being charmed by the moments when Marsan's character can be seen cheerfully snickering away to himself. Even though he's in mortal danger, he's having the night of his life.


Director: Edgar Wright

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Rosalind Pike

Length: 109 mins