“The World’s End” is the type of film best enjoyed without any prior knowledge of the plot. I went into the film fully expecting to see an average science fiction comedy. I was happily surprised to find out that was not the case. The film takes its time, building up to the big turning point when extraterrestrial forces appear. The moment when this happens is jaw-dropping and shockingly hilarious. Despite the fact that I knew it would be coming at some point, it still caught me off guard in the best way possible.
The film stars Simon Pegg as Gary King, a self-destructive alcoholic, nostalgic for the old days of pub crawling with his four best friends. When he realizes that life never got better than high school, he visits the four now-successful, estranged friends hoping to recruit them to attempt a pub run through their home town. Their goal is to drink at all 12 of the pubs in the town of Newton Haven, a challenge known as the “golden mile.”
As the group makes their way through the town, the film starts to feel like any other hangover movie. The pacing might be slow but that actually works in the film’s favor when the action finally begins. Without spoiling anything, the town locals are not the same people they used to be. The situation suddenly turns sour and the group is forced to battle teenage boys in a pub’s restroom. The fight choreography in this scene is fast paced and incredibly well done.
From this point on, the film does an excellent job of pacing action and story exposition. The group progresses through the drastically changed pubs, slowly learning more about what is going on in town as well as learning who each friend has become as the years passed. It all culminates in the final pub, The World’s End, with a conclusion that might seem anticlimactic at first. But the ending actually is a perfect for the tone of the film. It reinforces the theme that humans, while imperfect, always learn and improve upon themselves, while also fitting perfectly into the direct comedic tone of the film.
Behind the impractical premise and exaggerated action, “The World’s End” actually contains a very mature story about growing up and whether it is possible to go home again. The characters really hold the film together and are all given their moments to shine. Each of their individual personal stories helps emphasize the meaning behind the story.
“The World’s End” is much more than a simple comedy science fiction movie. It turns the simple idea of not being welcome in your home town into something much grander. The film is exactly what British science fiction should be. There are plenty of laughs throughout, but there is more to “The World’s End” than science fiction comedy. It is an excellent example of how to combine meaningful themes, sharp action and witty comedy and should not be missed by fans of drama, science fiction and comedy alike.