Gary King (Simon Pegg) only regrets one thing in his life – that when he was a teenager, he and his four friends, never completed the Golden Mile, a pub crawl of twelve of the local town’s public houses culminating at The World’s End. Having conned his former friends into returning to their childhood haunts, the group once again try to tackle the infamous mile but something is rotten in the small village of Newton Haven.
The third and final part of director Edgar Wright’s ‘Cornetto Trilogy’ is full of the humour and cultural references that we’ve become accustomed to in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, including the relationship between Pegg and Frost’s characters. This however takes a different perspective from how it is perceived in their other two films, but the pair’s chemistry is still rifle sharp.
If Shaun was a horror film and Fuzz an action, The World’s End is firmly in the science-fiction category. As the cast work their way through the Golden Mile they discover the truth about the residents, they’re robots, part of “The Network” that is infiltrating cities and towns all over the world in order to better cosmic relations. It’s not a plot line that really works, the build up is enjoyable but the final showdown is rather disappointing. The final payoff isn’t going to start a revolution but the journey that we take with these people is reward enough.
Always key in the Cornetto Trilogy are the relationships between its cast and aside from the given Pegg/Frost chemistry, the supporting players fit in perfectly around them. Martin Freeman as O-man (a play on Omen on account he had a birthmark in the shape of a 6 on his head), stands out the most, certainly having come a long way since that office in Slough. It is these performances which mean you can ignore what else is going on and just enjoy the people taking you there.
One element that causes further disappointment in The World’s End is the problems that Gary has. Having lived that one night as a teenager over and over again in his head, over the years Gary became an alcoholic and we open with him in a group therapy meeting. Aside from this opening scene, Gary’s problems aren’t really revisited. It could be argued that it is in Gary’s inability to let go of the past, for believing him to be a legend he never was, from the lies he tells to those he calls his closest friends, but we don’t see enough of a change in his heart.
Post World’s End Gary has given up the vicious nectar but has he really learned anything from his experience? There is certainly a beat or two missed here which could have been built on and it is the one thing, having left the film behind, that niggles. If you liked the other two films in this sort-of-trilogy, then you will like The World’s End, but whilst it’s enjoyable enough, it leaves you feeling it could have been something more.