So a lot of people have seen and loved the work of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Between them they have the twin successful titles of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, both of which have met with a good reception from critics and fans alike. Pegg and Frost have been a very successful comedic duo for a while now, with their own slightly less well known but no less good sitcom on the BBC, Spaced. Still, a three-peat is very difficult to manage for almost everyone, and there were a lot of expectations riding on their latest work, The World’s End. I am here now to say unto you, they nailed it.
The Worlds End tells the story of five high school friends who are summoned by the long-lost ringleader of their group, a man both mentally and physically lost in that glorious time before their lives really ever began. The story nominally follows this leader; a man fortuitously named Gary King, as he collects his friends and brings them all to their old stomping ground in the village they grew up in. They are all brought together by King so they can re-enact the legendary bar crawl from their youth, hitting up 12 separate pubs in a single night.
In total, the movie is a tale of a single pub crawl gone monstrously, terribly wrong as they begin to notice things going on in their old village, both among the folks that live there and among each other. Through the events of the movie, you begin to pick up a lot about the characters and about how their roles in the group and in school formed each of them.
In a way, looking at them offers a slice of life and gives you a simultaneously mature and immature view of what life is like between disappointments and triumphs, the ways in which some of them changed, and in which King (played by Pegg) really hasn’t changed from who they were.
Honestly, there is simply meat on the bones of this movie. On the one hand, you can watch a group of lads get drunk and have an adventure, which is something that is very good if it’s produced well (and it is). Then if you want to go down the rabbit hole, there is a lot there to think about. The entire movie’s worth of drunken behavior can be seen as a mostly direct allegory for where they went with their lives and what they have left to do. It can be a very mature look at life, and at how who you were forms who you are now, and yet does not have to define you. In Frost and Pegg’s main characters you get both of those ideas.
Out of the whole movie, the only problem I have is with the ending. It still feels a little wonky to me even a few days later. It’s true to the characters but it’s just a little out there to me overall. Even in the face of that complaint though, I still have to overwhelmingly recommend you see this movie. This is exactly the kind of cinema we should support. It’s smart, it’s funny as all get out, and it has a hell of a lot of heat for an action comedy about the end of the world.