After succeeding in generating laughs with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the same team reunite for The World’s End. Using a simple premise for the raucous comedy, their latest effort attempts to be as cleverly ridiculous. Unfortunately the ensemble cast seem lost with the gags not flowing quite as easily as the lager its characters eagerly consume.
Wanting to re-connect with his old mates, Gary (Simon Pegg) plans to complete the ‘Golden Mile’, a long-ago pub crawl they never completed. Roping together friends including Oliver (Martin Freeman) and Andrew (Nick Frost), they plan to have a marathon boozing session concluding at The World’s End pub. Their escapades become rudely interrupted by an alien invasion. Determined to continue drinking fine alcohol despite extraterrestrial interlopers, their wild night becomes even more sensational.
After a promising start The World’s End becomes a disappointment. It begins well with Pegg’s character perpetually living in the past. His efforts in revisiting previous glories are painful, with his friends’ exasperation at his antics easily understood. Realising this isn’t enough to sustain a whole film, the writers then graph the alien invasion sub-plot. This is where The World’s End comes unstuck as it adds few laughs. Watching aliens being bashed repeatedly becomes tiresome very quickly as characterisation vanishes.
Fault could be given to director Edgar Wright, whose slack pacing drags proceedings down. His handling of the screenplay is lacklustre despite the performers’ energy conveying a true sense of camaraderie. They do their best with the script’s mix of drama and humour which never works. The dramatic aspects are far too serious and the humour is smothered by the personal naval-gazing. It becomes a chore to reach the conclusion even if the CGI is reasonably well handled.
The World’s End ultimately amounts to very little. Whilst occasionally amusing, it’s nowhere near the standard set by the production team’s previous work, with the end not arriving soon enough.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 4