Over the past few weeks, Den of Geek writers have been voting for their favourite films of the year. The votes were weighted, calculated, and compiled into a list of our favourites of 2013’s films. Here, at number 2, is The World’s End…
2. The World’s End
This feature contains spoilers.
There are very few filmmakers that carry the accolade of having made a great cinematic trilogy. More often than not, one film at least will prove to be a weak link, or as is so often the case in the last decade, a director or star (or both in the case of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull) will return to a once beloved franchise only to ruin the mythology. Yet as fate would have it, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost can now lay claim to that holy grail, which also happens to be held by the man who so heavily influenced their early work – Mr Sam Raimi and his Evil Dead movies.
Certainly there are those who triumph some films in The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, but find others lacking, but in this article you won’t find a bad word against any of them. The main reason for this is due to the consistency with which Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End have uniformly managed to make for exciting, hysterical and, at times, existentially upsetting movies. The trilogy, like Spaced before them, speak directly to those of us who have coveted genre movies as our own private refuges and championed those parts of popular culture that most people have never, and most likely will never, understand.
While on a simple level Shaun Of The Dead made for universal viewing as zombie movie and love letter to horror directors such as George A Romero and Hot Fuzz took inspiration from action movies, including the kingly Point Break, which helped to tie in a wider audience, The World’s End is much harder to categorise. But that merely helps to strengthen its unique character. End feels like a much braver movie, as if the success of the previous two outings allowed Wright and Pegg to go all out on making a more intimate film, that just so happens to be surrounded by science fiction, rather than being a slave to any rules, as is often the case in an homage.
The World’s End also manages to be a much more affecting film than both Dead and Fuzz, which is why so many people have had such an emotional response to it, And that’s down to the perfectly observed way that friendship is depicted. While the pub culture aspect may have ostracised some viewers with its sheer Britishness, at its heart The World’s End reflects on how much of an impact addiction and emotional trauma can affect those closest to us, as well as ourselves if we’re the ones at the centre of the destruction. Pegg’s Gary King really is a tragic-comic work of genius, managing to elicit laughs through gritted teeth, while just retaining enough likeability to carry the film as a focal point.
Of course this being the work of Wright and Pegg, you’re free to take as much or as little from the film as you’d like and the more times you watch it, the more you’ll notice. While the latent emotional core struck a cord with many, there’s also the ever present comedy which runs the gamut from literal toilet sight gags, to recurring plays on dialogue such as the ‘WTF’ moments (again which serve as more than they first seem) to the sheer joy of watching five friends acting like drunken idiots.
The World’s End is also a first class action flick (which is why it placed so highly in our list here) as the fight choreography is just remarkable. I’ll try and refrain from giving too much away, but the incredible blend of physical action mixed with visual effects make for some unforgettable punch ups. And even when you’ve adjusted to the initial shock of what’s happening on screen, the impact never lessons even in later events. Again it’s down to the care and effort taken to ensure that nothing happens without a reason, and the film also certainly never passes on the chance to find comedy in splatter – think along the lines of the “There’s a girl in the garden” moment in Shaun Of The Dead and then amplify it.
Along for the ride in The World’s End cast are plenty of familiar faces (and voices) from other parts of the trilogy, which have always made for a fun game of ‘point and shout’ when you recognise someone, and again enforces the sense of insider rewards that Wright and Pegg have always championed for their loyal supporters over the years. It makes a viewing of one of their films feel that little bit more special.
The principal cast here are also outstanding, with the spark between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as strong as ever, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan (who seem to be in every other feature here at Den Of Geek at the moment) are on great form and the always excellent and arguably chronically underappreciated Paddy Considine and Rosamund Pike get some of the films’ sweeter moments to shine.
For this writer it was the years’ best film and even for those who didn’t engage with it as personally as others, or who found the end difficult to digest, it’s hard to argue that the filmmaking combination of Messrs Wright, Pegg and Frost hasn’t resulted in some truly heartfelt and unique output. The World’s End marks the end of the Cornetto Trilogy nine years after Shaun Of The Dead first belted zombie brains across cinema screens and it’s just fantastic to see things go out with such a bang (in every sense of the word).
The only downside is that it’s all come to an end. But what an end.
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