Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's the End of the World as we know it....

Following 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz,' the third and final entry of Edgar Wright's so-called Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy is an epic "pub crawl" with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan.  Owing to sci-fi classics like 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' and 'The Stepford Wives,' Wright described 'The World's End' as "social science fiction" because its theme deals with the human condition.
In what may be his best performance of the trilogy, Pegg plays Gary King, a middle-aged 'rebel without a cause' and slacker who sought to recapture the lost glory of his youth by completing the 'Golden Mile,' an epic pub crawl (what we Americans call bar-hopping) of 12 pubs with names like 'The Famous Cock,' 'The Two-Headed Dog,' 'The Mermaid' and, of course, 'The World's End.'  You can read more about these fine drinking establishments here:  He recruits his old buddies, who are by now all middle-aged men with real jobs and families, to join him in finishing what they couldn't before when they were carefree teenagers with their airs of invincibility, which is recounted brilliantly in the movie's snappy opening montage.
'The World's End' combines slacker/stoner comedy with alien invasion sci-fi and social commentary.  When Gary defied 'The Network' by making his rousing speech that he'd rather be a flawed human than a soulless automaton and thereby bringing about the apocalypse, Wright is really commenting by proxy that our society as a whole has given in to conformity and that we have lost our individuality.
Witty, funny and filled with numerous references that you'll likely only catch with repeated viewings, 'The World's End' is trademark Edgar Wright and makes for a fine ending to the Cornetto Trilogy.  As the R.E.M. song goes, "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine."
Grade: A

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