The World's End

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Years and years ago it felt like I was a lone voice of dissent. Spaced is utter dogshit I would tell people. It’s just a series of film references. Yes, you’ve watched Star Wars a million times and now you’re referencing Jedi mind tricks. Oh, what a fucking genius you are.

Colour me pleasantly surprised when Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz turned out to be rather good. Maybe Spaced was just a painful learning exercise. From now on, everything’s going to be great.

Yeah, bollocks to that. The World’s End is a painfully disappointing film. It feels like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy. It’s Shaun of the Dead’s pasty, unfunny, twin brother. So much of the film falls flat.

Right from the off you know you’re in trouble. The film begins with a painfully unfunny introduction to the main characters. The writing is plodding, heavy-handed and stale, and all the visual pyrotechnics in the world aren’t going to save it. Yes, here are some kids who were friends at school and then they went out drinking. It feels like the film takes ten minutes to convey this information. It’s a completely unnecessary sequence.

For what it’s worth, the story focuses on a fucking loser played by a rather emaciated and unhealthy looking Simon Pegg. He’s an alcoholic who has never moved on from his teenage years. He wants to complete a pub crawl comprising of twelve pubs in his childhood town. But he wants to do this with all of his old friends. Needless to say, they’ve all moved on with their lives. We’ve got a car salesmen, an estate agent, a business executive etc. Will they join Gary’s (Pegg) quest to reach The World’s End and down a twelfth pint? What the fuck do you think?

But they’re not going to do it before some desperate padding and unfunny attempts at comedy. One-by-one Gary has to convince his old friends to join him, leading to some horribly repetitive shit. With each successive scene, Gary comes over as increasingly sad and pathetic. And not in an amusing way. He’s no Withnail. He doesn’t have any funny lines. He doesn’t have any amusing behaviour. There’s no wit, there’s no edge and no bite. It’s just Simon Pegg horribly overacting as he tries to wring some juice out of his hapless script.

Once they finally start the pub crawl, we again have to put up with annoying repetition. Ask for drinks, same shot of pints being pulled, cut to characters chugging it down, cue a little bit of squabbling about the past. By the time you get to the third pub, it begins to dawn on you that you’re going to have to put up with this another nine times. Hand me a bottle of vodka and pour it into my eyeballs, this is going to be a long ride.

Of course, The World’s End has a twist, but again it feels recycled. Shaun of the Dead had zombies so The World’s End has...alien androids. Sounds like it could be amusing, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. It just feels like warmed up leftovers. Oh, so before we were killing zombies? Now we get to kill androids that have blue blood! See what we did there? See how we made it totally different and unique?

The first attack on Gary, by a pack of chavs, is ridiculously choreographed. Gary gets into a scuffle with a kid and then does a Rock Bottom into a urinal and decapitates the teenager. Okay, so drunk Gary can execute a perfect wrestling move? And of course he has no idea that this kid is a robot. So he legitimately thinks it would be a good idea to do this move through a urinal which, if the kid were human, would probably kill him? Look, I know logic isn’t high on the agenda of this film, but the characters in this movie are so stupid that it beggars belief. And after this, Gary’s friends and a whole bunch of alien robots join together for a huge fight with more ridiculous choreography. Apparently everyone here should be wrestling in WWE. Everyone’s flying around like Rey Mysterio. There are gorilla presses and back breakers and flying elbows. And it also seems like the alien robot kids are made of glass, because they shatter with just the slightest impact. One kid gets broken in half when he gets thrown against a sink and another shatters when he gets elbow dropped in the head. High technology but terrible construction. Are they are a bunch of iPhones?

You’d think that after this attack, Gary would maybe decide to go home and forget the pub crawl. But seeing as he’s insanely single-minded, we have to carry on with the arduous endeavor. On and on it goes as the group debates whether so-and-so is a robot or not.

Eventually all hell breaks lose and the androids are chasing Gary through the streets. When he reaches the final pub, The World’s End, he’s interrupted and lead to a secret chamber where it’s revealed that alien androids have already infiltrated the world and that they’re responsible for all the advancements in technology. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Everything then goes kaboom and the film ends with an apocalyptic hellscape.

What makes the ending thoroughly amazing is that it kind of ends as an action movie. Most of the characters are doing their best to make the most of the end of the world, but Gary, ever the child, is transformed almost into an action hero. He walks into a bar with some android friends, who are not trusted by anyone, seeing as they kind of helped to destroy everything, and then draws a sword when a bartender refuses to serve the androids. It’s thoroughly bizarre and quite depressing when you think about it. So the world has ended and yet you’re still some ridiculous cartoon. You’re still a child. You’re now living some post-apocalyptic, comic book fantasy. Please take this movie away. Please eject it violently from the rectum of the film landscape.

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