BY ERIN TORRANCE
We’re rounding one year after the supposed Mayan apocalypse, so it only makes sense that I rent a film that pokes fun at the idea of an apocalyptic event. And who could do it better than Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg? Now, before I dive into The World’s End, I feel it’s necessary to refute what I can only assume is the response of any Jonah Hill or Seth Rogen fans to my question. Yes, This Is the End was a great apocalyptic comedy—but The World’s End is different, so comparing the two, to me, just doesn’t make sense. The World’s End stands out among the crowd due to its unique and brilliant combination of high-school reunion meets mid-life crisis meets robots meets defender of the human race.
The film begins with Gary King (Simon Pegg), a smartass deadbeat stuck in the memories of his teenage years, regretting the night that he and his four “mates” (Martin Freeman, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan) attempted a pub-crawl. The goal: to enjoy a pint per pub, at 12 pubs (aka The Golden Mile), beginning at The First Post and ending at The World’s End. In a desperate attempt to achieve this one goal, Gary coerces his four friends (who really don’t socialize together much these days) into returning to their hometown to finish The Golden Mile. Of course, the other four have fairly established lives with steady jobs and families—needless to say, they’re not too keen on returning to their quaint little town to get blasted. But Gary’s clever, and once he manages to get them all there, well, adventure and trouble ensues. Turns out, their hometown isn’t so simple anymore—it’s overrun with robots passing off as the town’s previous inhabitants. So now they’re being chased by hostile robots while drinking pints and attempting to not pass their DNA off into the mouths of their high-school dream girls who would’ve never turned their way if they weren’t human in the first place. (Tip: If you’re a single human looking for an easy hook-up, a robot-infested village is the place to be…not Vegas.)
Overall, the plot, the acting, everything about this film—well, pretty much everything—was great. Being a big fan of Shaun of the Dead, The World’s End plugged right into that outlet. There were times that I thought the dialogue was prodding a little too much (as if someone was sitting by my side, nudging me, and constantly repeating, “Ha, did you hear that? Do you get it? Eh?”).
I admit, after my first viewing, I felt a slight bit disappointed. But then I started to read other reviews, wondering if I maybe didn’t get something? Turns out, I missed quite a bit. Each of the 12 pubs in The Golden Mile actually has a lot to do with the film’s plot and foreshadowing. The little details that tie it all together are subtle but brilliant.
So with all this in mind, I’ll throw down a rating here, but with an asterisk to note that it’s just a preliminary rating—I’m convinced that on second, third, fourth, etc. times watching it, the rating will inevitably edge higher.