Monday, August 26, 2013

The World's End review

 Overall, Edgar Wright has made four films now, the fourth being "The World's End," and it's crazy just how well-defined and assured his style is. "The World's End" almost feels like Edgar Wright in autopilot mode. It all feels so effortless and yet his style is so energetic and kinetic that it's hard not to be in awe of the way he moves his camera and how his films are edited together. It's been six years since "Hot Fuzz," yet the Wright-Pegg-Frost team picks up right where they left off here. They haven't missed a beat.

There have been a lot of "end of the world" comedies and sci-fi/dramas this year, which can't just be a coincidence, right? Regardless, "The World's End" is more concerned with being a buddy comedy than anything else and on that end, it succeeds brilliantly. Simon Pegg plays Gary King, a 40-something alcoholic who is hell bent on getting his "gang" back together. There's Peter (Eddie Marsan), O-Man (Martin Freeman), Steven Prince (Paddy Considine), and Andie (Nick Frost). The four of them reluctantly agree to join Gary King as they attempt to recreate the infamous bar crawl at Newton Haven, where they went to school at back in the day. Instead of the film playing out like some sort of raucous comedy, the genius of "The World's End" is that the events are more a sad display of a man who just doesn't know how to grow up. The four ol' friends pity Gary more than anything, who wants so badly to get to The World's End just so he can recapture the glory of his youth.

Much to their surprise, the campus of Newton Haven has completely changed as the people of the town have been completely replaced by robotic versions of themselves. The film takes a sudden turn into "Body Snatchers" territory and it never misses its mark on this end. Because Edgar Wright is such a natural when it comes to directing action, none of it ever feels forced. The whole Body Snatchers aspect of the film actually works brilliantly as it is represents the perfect metaphor for how Gary King and his friends would most likely see the town they left behind. Everyone is different. Who hasn't felt that way before about the town they spent their youth in?

It's arguable whether or not "The World's End" is as drop dead hilarious as "Shaun of the Dead" or "Hot Fuzz," but it definitely feels like the more meaningful (and relatable) of the three films. You get the sense that Wright and Pegg are writing this film from a personal standpoint and the fact that it's able to be so funny and entertaining yet emotionally complex and compelling makes it really stick out compared to the general dreck that's been released this summer.

Where Edgar Wright goes from here should be very interesting to watch. This guy can do it all. "Ant-Man" is supposed to be his next film which will be his first real action blockbuster of his career. There is no doubt in my mind that he can knock that film outta the park, I just hope the general public will finally catch on to his genius. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Edgar Wright is the most talented filmmaker there is right now. Pure talent. Sure, he's made only comedies up to this point, but he doesn't just point the camera and make his performers act silly. His comedies rely on his visual mastery in order them to work. He's so precise, so calculated, and yet he makes it look so damn easy. Oh, and his films are consistently hilarious too. How he's able to make such hilarious films with such a meticulous craft is just awe-inspiring to me.

And I hope this isn't really the end for the Wright-Pegg-Frost team. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are at their best when teamed up with Wright. "The World's End" never feels like a forced reunion, it's more like a welcome return. Unlike Gary King, I have no doubt that Wright-Pegg-Frost could re-team once again without things ever coming close to heading towards a disaster.

Grade: A

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