There’s something that rang true about Simon Pegg’s character, Gary King, in the last of the Cornetto trilogy, The World’s End.
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 note that while the actor appeared in the last series of Doctor Who, he’ll also be featuring in a new, related, documentary as William Hartnell, who played the original Doctor.
Go to page 2 for my conclusions.
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.