It’s the end of the world, the end of the trilogy and the end of a cultural milestone in British film and comedy.
The Worlds End is Edgar Wright’s third and final part in the Cornetto trilogy, a film series linked by themes, running jokes and the trio of Wright himself, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz before it, The Worlds End is a film drenched in homage to all things film, this time the genre is Science Fiction, however The Worlds End has the task of closing the series so is as much about the previous films then cinematic history or genre.
The film follows Simon Pegg as Gary King, a middle aged man in a serious mid life crisis after realising the best moment of his life was a failed pub crawl known as the golden mile, he recruits his long since estranged friends played by some of Britain’s best actors, Nick Frost Paddy Considine Martin Freeman and scene stealer Eddie Marsan, in to recreating that faithful night but this time finishing that mile. All somewhat reluctant and with a sympathetic heart agree to do it, unfortunately their home is less welcoming then they expect.
The film works on a few levels first is the narrative level, where the story is just that a story about a middle aged man attempting to recapture his lost youth, and realising the older you get the more things change and nothing is what it used to be.
Next is the social comment level, in which the film is still about the narrative but also about the social impact that has happened to British towns in the 23 years in between pub crawls, the identikit culture of the high street, or as Paddy Considine’s character Steven puts it Star-Bucking and the effect of the ‘Global Village’ we now live in thanks to the development of technology in particular the internet. It’s a comment on capitalism and communism and gives of something of a liberal message.
The Third is the thematic level, the themes of the past, age, technology and change all seem to merge from time to time to tell the story. The alien planet in this Sci Fi is the present, the hometown you once left and returned to, and the aliens are the people you left behind, everything looks the same but also different. However the overarching theme is recapturing pervious glory something that the film itself needs to do which leads to the fourth level.
The referential level, any fan of Edgar’s will know all his work from Spaced to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is referential but none more so then the worlds end. Its referential in the usual Edgar Wright way it homage’s great and cult cinema, British and American pop culture but unlike before it references the previous Cornetto films in story, jokes and style as-well as the metaphysical reference of the ‘real-world’.
The film is about trying to recreate past glory, the film itself undoubtedly would be compared to its successful predecessors so it takes that idea head on and runs with it, but it goes past that. Simon Pegg’s character Gary King is the one trying to get ‘the boys back together’ for one last adventure, and in real life its Pegg who would often be in the public eye talking about getting the spaced guys back together for the last Cornetto film. The film takes place primarily in pubs, something the fans would know has a presence in all Cornetto films and the TV show spaced. The end of the film even deals with the future, it ends in a future that seems like a high concept blockbuster, the eventual future for many of the men involved.
Because of all this, it may be one of the best third parts in movie history, it is essential watching for anyone who has ever seen Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz as it fits in and wraps everything up perfectly, yet manages to be different to the other films tonally, its more mature and very possibly better because of it, the films have grown more mature with the cast and crew and the story helps reflect that. Edgar Wright delivers a film for the audience that has the same feeling that the characters have for their home town, it’s what we expect, but not quite what we expect it has the prophetic lines and running jokes we know, but it’s also serious and touching. Its laugh out loud funny but it’s also sad to see an end of an era. It’s a Cornetto film, but it’s not drenched in the green we’ d except instead we have a highlighted blue colour this time, not referencing the Cornetto but the film Attack the Block and its director Joe Cornish who owes a lot to Edgar Wright.
This film is the evolution of Edgar Wright and while it’s hard to say bye to the spaced crew for a second time, we know it’s right, Wright Pegg and Frost will be known as our generations Monty Python, and it may be a while before we treated to another great comedy group, or great mainstream British director who can transcended the Atlantic but we have to be happy and now look for Edgar Wright to fulfil the potential he showed us with Scott Pilgrim and become Britain’s best export in Hollywood.