Sunday, August 25, 2013

The World's End

Righty-right. Let's discuss The World's End. Directed by Edgar Wright, written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, co-starring
guess who? Pegg and Wright and their loose ensemble. Probably catered by Pegg and Wright. My take?

Hilarious movie, kids. Let's get one thing straight right up front. The World's End is not a repeat of Wright and Pegg's last two hits
Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz — parodies of the zombie and cop film genres, respectively. This is a parody of paranoiac sci-fi films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Stepford Wives. If you take the joke on its own damn terms, it's pretty funny.

Starting out, The World's End doesn't wear its genre badge on its sleeve. You'd think it's another coming-of-middle-age comedy, and for the first 40 minutes or so you'd be right. Simon Pegg plays Gary King, an aging bad boy determined to relive (and rewrite) a failed triumph of his adolescence. Once upon a time in 1990, the lad and his mates attempted to do a 12-pub crawl (consuming a pint in each pub) after graduating from the Brit equivalent of High School in their sorry home town of Newton Haven. (The town's only claim to fame: it was home to the UK's first roundabout.) They fell short in 1990; King hopes to go the distance in 2012. Through trickery, cajoling and lies, King rounds up his middled-aged mates and they once again set forth on their 12-pub mission.

Somewhere along the line, the lads realize that the town's inhabitants (and pubs) are even more bland than they remembered. Sometime after that, they realize that Somebody Up There substituted a small percentage of the human population with blood-blooded, lookalike androids. (They only replace the few humans who won't play nice. Mostly, the aliens rule by technological bribery and goody-good example.) It's not so much an evil invasion as a bland one: The aliens are turning Newton Haven (and presumably the rest of the planet) into a chain in their intergalactic, corporate franchise. (Which explains why all the town's pubs are now blandly identical.) Now, the lads know what the aliens are up to and the aliens know they know. Chaos and chase scenes ensure. Nontheless, King, wanker that he is, insists on continuing the crawl to, well, The World's End the final pub on the list.

Great flick full of laugh-your-ass-off jokes. (Including plenty of sci-fi injokes for aging and unrepentent nerds.) The film lacks the underlying fear factor of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead  but that's part of the joke. The aliens aren't all that scary. They're a comforting shroud of compromise wrapping our planet up in all the adult restrictions King refuses to accept, immature wanker that he is. Turns out, he was right all along. Growing up really does suck, despite adult assurances that it's not the end of the world.

In the world according to Wright and Pegg, it actually is.  

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