To bring those of you who don’t follow these things up to speed, Writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg‘s previous movies (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) were the first two entries in the so called “Blood and Ice-cream Trillogy” (aka “Three Flavours: Cornetto”). Un-connected story-wise, the movies share a production team, a handcuff of the cast (Pegg and Nick Frost play the lead duo – other cast members overlap in roles of varying size), a lot of visual jokes, a general tone, and a cameo by everyone’s favorite pre-packed ice-cream cone. In each movie the colour of the wrapper is a vague reference to the plot ; Shaun had strawberry (red) symbolising blood, Fuzz had a classic (blue) for the police uniforms.
The first thing that we the public knew about the third entry in the trilogy (before even its title) was that it would feature a mint Cornetto (green) – Money? Aliens? Water? Reptiles? Something else entirely?
If you’ve seen the spoilery trailer, you’ll already know what the green symbolises (albeit not well), if you haven’t seen the trailer, I implore you not to until after you have seen the movie.
Pegg plays Gary King, a deadbeat who’s life hasn’t moved on since high school. The movie opens with Gary recounting the best night of his life – one summer in 1990 when he and a group of friends attempted ‘the golden mile’ – a route around their hometown of Newton Haven, which encompasses 12 pubs, ending with the titular “The World’s End”. When a member of his therapy group asks if he regrets not having completed the full mile, he is inspired to put the old gang back together, and give the mile one more try.
Once the crawl is underway, it isn’t long before things take a turn for the fantastical, and completing the pub crawl may just be the groups best chance of survival.
It’s a genuinely funny film, and makes for a great SF/F comedy, but it is every inch the comedy; that’s not to say its silly, or slapstick, or a disjointed series of set pieces… the humour is certainly what we’ve come to expect from Penn & Wright. All of the jokes have context and either fit the plot, or actually move it forward; right down to the resolution to the story’s threat.
Joke-as-resolution is fine in a comedy film… But not so much in a Blood and Ice-cream entry; Without the romantic comedy, Sean of the Dead still works a zombie movie. Without the Buddy Movie, Hot Fuzz would be a rather sinister (if far fetched) conspiracy movie… But take the jokes out of The Worlds End and the fantastic element would fall flat.
Sadly, that seems to be the case throughout the movie… Missing are the call-backs and references to the previous films, gone is the foreshadowing, and the conversation in the first half of the movie that turns out, in retrospect, to give away the entire plot; I honestly think that the idea of the trilogy was a throwaway line, and the guys really didn’t have a 3rd entry in them… A normal (but entertaining) comedy has had a single gag, a Cornetto, and a handful of cast members, forced into it to ‘convert’ it into the 3rd part of a series. There’s even a fluid which is central to the plot, and is bright blue; would it have hurt to make it green, to tie in with the wrapper-colours theme?
As a fan of the first two movies, primed to look forward to more of the same, I was bitterly disappointed… Which is a crying shame, because it really is a very good SF/F comedy film in its own right.
I’m free, to do what I want… Any old time.