Sunday, September 08, 2013

"The World's End" (2013) - Movie Review

In a summer that has not motivated this reviewer to not seek upon any of the blockbuster and the one that was sought barely crossed the line of mediocre, “The World’s End” would have to be the first movie in a long time to be greatly expected for. As the third installment in the Cornetto trilogy (which not many people are aware including yours truly till the recent past), “The World’s End” is not at par with the love I have for “Hot Fuzz” and the surprising rise of talent in “Shaun of the Dead” is not because of complacent direction or haphazard writing. As how I lost interest in “Shaun of the Dead” in the third act when it becomes the full on zombie horror film it was paying homage to, “The World’s End” intentionally bodes of predictability in the first act.  I understood why it was done in the former and I do in the latter. Nevertheless it is funny to see Simon Pegg assembled along with his buddy Nick Frost and the added talents of Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Paddy Considine.

Just hearing the premise sounds fun. A man who clearly has not outgrown his high school days gathering his buddies from those great days wants to venture the Golden Mile (and yes, the capitals are intentional) for the run of 12 pubs and 12 pints of great ales. How magical the sound of it rings in any beer aficionados and alcoholics? This man is Gary King, dressed too well for a homeless person and too terrible for an average guy, we see him recite that night of serious drinking, mischief and debauchery only to not finish the Golden Mile in its entirety in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Director Edgar Wright gets right to the business because as Gary he cannot wait for this epic night to begin and successfully end.

This is where the predictability is, well, too predictable. With Gary’s penchant for influencing his friends, he even manages his best buddy who has quit drinking due to an unspeakable accident with Gary involved of course to partake as well. That is Nick Frost’s Andy. Along with Andy are Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman) and Steven (Paddy Considine). They go back to their small quaint village (similar to “Hot Fuzz”) Newton Haven. Nothing phases Gary other than to finish this thing as though this is his only destiny and achievement.

“The World’s End” is signature Edgar Wright film with fast cut edits with amplifying the simplest actions. The pour of the ale in to the glass or the start of the car are elevated and our sensory are heightened as though there are great things in those movements. That split second joy and the smile to follow for the nature in which he used those exemplifies that a talented man is in action. The film begins to entangle into something entirely different which is the world is taken over by body snatching alien robots. There is no secrecy in that as Gary begins his first stunt of several with these humanoids. From that moment onwards, the film races to the end as Gary himself would like to.

As much as this would become a film wherein the filmmakers would enjoy involving copious amount of drinking, the care for the presentation is subtly evident. The film progresses and in any other film there is a cut from the time one begins to drink and the end wherein they are drunk or lightly buzzed. “The World’s End” might be the first film to take us through the progress of being sober to being drunk. The story itself takes that turn of things falling out of sky and things seem to be acceptable, doable and more importantly thoroughly enjoyable. Not even the great threat of beings from another planet taking over their small little town and the entire world phases them. They are panicked and unaware but as Gary keeps hurrying through pub after pub looking for one pint after another, the friends begin to give into the elated state these liquids put them through.

The stunt choreography is one to be mentioned which is interesting to see it handled with great clarity and entertainment for a comedy. There are no shaky cameras and what a welcome relief that is. The actors participating in those do it with so much conviction that we begin to believe these average folks kicking the butt of the alien robots with great technique, strength and agility. As the apocalypse ends and I was in wonderment of how they could finish it, the brilliant conversation with the supposed alien voice and Gary King is the best thing I have ever witnessed for a climax in a long time. It is witty, truthful and downright Edgar Wright. I would be in blunder for not mentioning the performance of Simon Pegg who plays Gary King both with spite and sympathy but also truly appreciate his comedic timing.

I cannot help but to wonder whether all this pubs are going to get its real life existence and how many pub crawl this is going to give birth. I am sure I will be starting one crawl though I would be done with pub number four. Anyone could have made a film about drinking heavily and great partying. For that fact, many have and few have succeeded. The brilliance in Wright is that he makes it a personal experience though drawing from the common foundation everyone have in their high school days or college days in my case. When we see “The World’s End”, we understand Gary’s motivation in a weird way. We remember those times of revelries when things like that are the things to live for. As adulthood phases through, one forgets those revelries in the name of maturity and rightfully so but time and again, you need that kick and the reminder on why we are here which is enjoy this existence. Yet Wright does not alone capitalize on that feeling but take it to spoof/homage he does with genres and here he once again brings those with timed perfection. Along with that, the running jokes throughout the film, the cameos and several other fun things I have not mentioned out here makes “The World’s End” one of the better summer films I have seen this year.

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