The World’s End saw something that rang true about Simon Pegg‘s character, Gary King, in the last of The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy.
And that is that we’re witness to a man who finished school in June 1990, thought he could take on the world and, to this day, still behaves like a big kid with no intention of getting married, having children or settling down in any shape or form. All of those apply to me, although I went to University from 1990 to 1993. Then again, I mostly drank a lot while I was there, graduating with a proud 2:2.
Gary King’s plan is to, as they say in the Blues Brothers, “get the band back together”, a line used here which also has additional depth, and it’s little touches like that in Pegg & Wright’s script which makes it such a joy to watch. He wants to complete ‘The Golden Mile’, a pub crawl of 12 ale houses in their hometown of Newton Haven, which they weren’t able to complete first time round. At one pint per pub, that should total 60 pints, except for the fact that Andy (Nick Frost) has been tee-total ever since “the accident”… something we’re not privy to until the script tells us at the appropriate time.
He faces resistance from them all, none of whom really want anything to do with them, but if he didn’t find a way of persuading them then this would be a very short film. Once they’ve arrived and are starting their pub crawl, the plot folds out in a relatively surprise-free but pleasing way. I say ‘surprise-free’ because while there is something about Newton Haven which has definitely changed since they arrived, it’s already been splashed about in the trailer. If you haven’t seen that, then I won’t spoil it, but it’s safe to say that it’s a well-known fact that in this film, the end of the world is upon them.
All I’ll say is that I wasn’t expecting a film as good as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, as this appears, on the face of it, to be a straight-forward comedy about a long-awaited pub crawl – and it plays out in fairly linear fashion for a while – but the writing from Pegg and Wright is consistent, the reaction to the weird situations is consistent and, quite frankly, there is nothing to find fault with, here, bringing the ‘Cornetto Trilogy’ to an end in superb style. There was even a nice hint of Douglas Adams at one point.
And I had to laugh when, early on in ths credits, I saw that the music supervisor was Nick Angel. I presume he was the inspiration for Simon Pegg’s character’s name in Hot Fuzz.
On a music note, there’s so many good songs in it, mainly from around 1990, such as Primal Scream – Loaded, Soup Dragons – I’m Free, Suede – So Young and Happy Mondays – Step On. In fact – check out the soundtrack album which has 20 music tracks on it, plus 8 dialogue segments.
Of the copious cast, Pegg and Frost do what they do best when working with Edgar Wright and it works a treat. Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan provide spot-on backup with their fellow roles as, respectively, estate agent, property developer and car salesman, on the pub crawl, Marsan playing a nice character for a change, compared to the angry/nasty character he normally appears as, and at which he excels. Considine appears in a role in which you’d normally expect to see Craig Parkinson, most recently seen as Glyn in ITV’s sadly cancelled Great Night Out.
The only weak link in the main cast is Rosamund Pike as Sam, brother to Freeman and object of desire to Considine, but that’s because I never thought she could act her way out of a paper bag. She proved that in Die Another Day, Jack Reacher and now here, too.
There’s also great support from all concerned, including Mark Heap as a publican, Julia Deakin, Pierce Brosnan as their former teacher Guy Shephard, Bill Nighy in a voiceover role I won’t reveal here and David Bradley as mad old man Basil, and who also appeared not only in the last series of Doctor Who, but also as in An Adventure In Space and Time as William Hartnell, who played the original Doctor.
Go to page 2 for my conclusions on the film and the presentation.
For me, the trio of Pegg/Frost/Wright only work best when they’re all together. I wasn’t drawn to Paul and I didn’t get Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, only managing to get halfway through it before calling it a day, as it just didn’t work for me in any way. To be fair, I’m not a big comic book fan, so the style it portrayed just looked way too outlandish, but I had a feeling that would be the outcome when I tried it.
If I had a slight niggle – and this isn’t a spoiler – it’s that the credits begin with The Housemartins‘ Happy Hour, which in a way is fair enough as it’s a song about drinking in pubs, which is what the film is about. However, it then goes onto The Sisters of Mercy‘s This Corrosion which would’ve been a far stronger kick at the end – especially given *how* the film ends – and also because Gary’s favourite band is The Sisters of Mercy. I’m not sure what would’ve followed is, as it needed a further song to play during the end credits, but the Housemartins feels a bit twee by comparison.
And, yes, when I’m in the cinema, I’m one of those people who stays for the end credits – and, damn, did the Sisters of Mercy sound wonderful booming out through the auditorium.
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and looks stunning. With bold daytime scenes leading to pin-sharp evening scenes as all hell breaks loose, I couldn’t find a single flaw to the print. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma screen with a Samsung BDP1500 player.
Audio-wise, the DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack really delivers. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz proved Edgar Wright knows how to deliver in an action-comedy and it continues here, whether it’s explosions leading up to the finale or effective shots like the pints being pulled early on.
Go to page 3 for the extensive extras.
The extras are precisely what you could hope for and stand as proud as those on ‘Shaun’ and ‘Fuzz’:
- U-Control: Picture-in-picture: The entire film storyboarded scene by scene. That’s an extra that’s more cool than Gary King!
- Deleted Scene (0:55): In the B&B before they set off. I’m sure there would be more than one deleted scene?
- Out-takes (10:44): A great selection of them, including a special one at the end.
- Alternate Edits (4:32): Slightly different takes on a number of scenes.
- Completing The Golden Mile: The Making Of (HD) (48:06): Edgar Wright and the main cast members talk at length about the idea for the film and how much they enjoyed making it, plus a look at the inception for the characters themselves and the whole Cornetto Trilogy.
As this is the first major extra that you’re going to be interested in, I would’ve thought Universal would put this one at the top. “Making of”s normally do. Also, it’s the first extra you come to that’s in HD. However, that’s not Universal’s only faux-pas with this piece – it’s 48 minutes in length and there’s only TWO chapters.
- Featurettes (12:13): Four here, all of which are cut-down brief snippets from the main ‘making of’.
Director at Work (3:04): Pegg, Frost, other cast members and producer Eric Fellner talk briefly about enjoying working with Edgar Wright. Nick Frost sums it up: “It’s going to be a hard 13 weeks, but you know you’re going to get a great film at the end of it.”
Pegg & Frost = Fried Gold (3:34): And the love is returned to the other two main stars of the show.
Friends Reunited (3:46): A brief run-through the characters.
Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (5:18): Just slightly different to the ‘Three Colours Trilogy’ this title is taking off, I like the way this piece mixes in clips from the films to complement the words spoken by Pegg, Frost, Wright and co.
- Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of The World’s End (HD) (27:40): After working on Scott Pilgrim Vs The World with Bill Pope (The Matrix) and Brad Allen, Edgar Wright wanted to bring them to this film to, for example, give an American cinematic take on British pubs and also beef up the fight choreography.
There’s great fights such as those in the bathroom and pub, but there are some incredible effects such as Martin Freeman’s half-a-head as well as the fights which involve the Blanks which have since lost their heads. Chat in this segment comes from a whole host of crew members who played their part in doing a perfect job for this film.
- Animatics (11:17): Storyboards for the prologue, where Pegg narrates his time in 1990, and then the Catacombs, deep inside The World’s End pub.
- Hair and make-up tests (4:07): All the main characters give us a twirl. It ends up looking like a dodgy C&A advert 😉
- Rehearsal footage (6:20): Practicing the fights, stunts and visual FX, plus content for the prologue.
- Stunt tapes (12:13): Stuntment testing out in the warehouse for the Bathroom Fight (3:22), Twinbot Fight (1:53) and Beehive Fight (3:31), all shown as they appear in the film.
- VFX Breakdown (8:39): VFX Supervisor Frazer Churchill talks through various scenes, showing what was filmed, the breakdown of each shot, and the final version. This was a very fascinating extra.
- Bits & Pieces (3:23): Full shots and alternate takes which were later edited down, plus a nice addition of showing them celebrating every 100th scene being shot.
- There’s Only One Gary King: Osymyso’s Inibri-8 Megamix (4:36): A dance remix of a stack of dialogue from the film.
- Signs & Omens (7:51): A look at the darker aspects of the movie, and some things you might miss on first viewing.
- Edgar & Simon’s Flip Chart (13:08): As they did in 2001 for the Shaun of the Dead DVD, here they run through a flip chart for The World’s End. They refer this to be the third one they’ve done, but I don’t recall the second one featuring in the extras for Hot Fuzz.
- Trailers: Four for this film, two normal-style trailers: a UK trailer (1:47), Domestic trailer (2:32), Newton Haven (0:55) – done in the style of a 1970s tourist information film, and “The Man Who Would Be (Gary) King” (1:59), rather similar to the two main ones but with Simon Pegg pretending to (badly) sound like Michael Caine and Nick Frost doing the same for Sean Connery.
- TV Spots: Three of them at 32 seconds apiece: Trilogy, Survive & Pegg Frost, each concentrating on a specific aspect but also largely being the same.
- TV Safe version (3:41): Certain scenes are toned down. Sadly, this is necessary because it’s bound to end up on ITV who’ll cut the strong language out so, at least, Edgar Wright got to it first. “Steady on, you fluffy alky!”
Well, ITV aren’t quite that bad these days, but they don’t allow the c-word, hence why that was replaced with ‘cocks’ in the first scene of Shaun of the Dead to name but one example.
- Galleries: Stacks of pics across five categories: Production Photos, Animatronics & Prosthetics, Theatrical Posters, Concept Art and Hero Pub Signs. The player cycles through them automatically, whereas it would’ve been nice to control this manually.
- Trivia Track: The subtitles are replaced with a wealth of information throughout the entire film. Another great reason to watch it all again.
- Credits: A list of names of many of those involved.
- Audio commentary: With feature writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.
- Audio Description: Does what it says on the tin.
- Ultraviolet and Digital Copy: The former ‘in the cloud’ and the latter for phones and tablets, this is so you can watch the film wherever you are, but… I’ve never yet anyone who actually uses these! I can only imagine they’re cheap to create and add because there’s a proliferation of them on Blu-rays and DVDs these days.
The menu mixes images from the film with a piece of looped theme music. There are subtitles in English only, and there’s a reasonable number of chapters with 20, although I prefer one every five minutes on average as a rule of thumb, so it could use more.
Running time: 109 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
Released: December 16th 2013
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Edgar Wright
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Nira Park
Screenplay: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Music: Steven Price
Gary King: Simon Pegg
Andrew Knightley: Nick Frost
Oliver: Martin Freeman
Peter: Eddie Marsan
Steven: Paddy Considine
Sam: Rosamund Pike
The Network: Bill Nighy
Guy Shephard: Pierce Brosnan
Basil: David Bradley
Publican: Mark Heap
Young Gary: Thomas Law
Fitness Instructor (26): Jenny Bede
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.