World’s End, The: Edgar Wright’s Third Comedy in Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz)

Highly intelligent, if only sporadically amusing and or satisfying, “The World’s End” is the third chapter of director Edgar Wright’s trilogy of comedies starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

The series began with “Shaun of the Dead” (2004) and continued with “Hot Fuzz” (2007).

Focus Features will release this comedy on Friday, August 23.

Set two decades after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes obsessed with trying the drinking marathon again. The group is convinced by Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old man trapped in his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub–The World’s End.

Once the premise is established, the ensuing narrative depicts the men’s efforts to reconcile the past with the present, which is an impossible task, realizing that it’s time to change, or in other words to mature for what’s lying ahead in the future.

But the bright amigos immediately sense that “something” is different in their former hometown. For one thing, their former bullies are too willing to meet and “befriend” them. Before long, the entire populace, men and women with blue light in their eyes and mouths are chasing them.

These creatures are hybrids, sort of automatons–but not mechanical robots-—whose intent is not to conquer and destroy the world, but help it reach the next level. At first, the troublemakers resist and fight back, with King claiming, “To err is human!”

Despite a too-long third act, dragging action sequences and an epilogue that would have been better left on the cutting room floor, the wit and ingenuity of the film elevates it above the norm and compensates for its dramatic shortcomings: action sequences that are not well integrated into the narrative, a conclusion that is not convincing and does not do justice to what precedes it.

It was only a matter of time before this trio of gifted actors look into the current (and next phase) of human evolution and its inevitable march. But does technological sophistication necessarily mean progress in human terms? Can we maintain our singular lifestyles and our idiosyncratic in this day and age? Is their any point in resisting the next level?

The World’s End doesn’t really provide answers to these issues, but just raising it justifies seeing this intermittently entertaining comedy, should you be tired of the big spectacles that dominated our summer.

Credits
MPAA: R
Running time: 109 Minutes
Directed By: Edgar Wright

Cast

Simon Pegg
Nick Frost
Martin Freeman
Paddy Considine
Eddie Marsan
Rosamund Pike