August 23, 2014

The World's End

Edgar Wright, 2013
Gary King (Simon Pegg) rounds up a group of his old mates and returns to their hometown in an attempt to complete a pub crawl that they failed to accomplish when they were much younger. But they only manage to get a couple of pints down when they realize that the residents of their old town don't appear to be the same as they remembered.

Wright and Pegg team up once again in this quirky take on the alien invasion genre. Instead of the Pegg / Frost duo fighting off zombies, they find themselves dodging blue-blooded robotic aliens with shape-shifting abilities who are trying to perform a covert takeover of the rural town person by person. Gary's priorities are skewed. He seems to be more inclined to make sure that they all complete the crawl this time around instead of worrying about his friends and family's well-being. This is very much frustrating to the rest of the group, who reluctantly joined him on this mission which pulled them away from their long-standing responsibilities. They have all grown older, found a significant other, found a nice career. Gary is stuck in the past, suddenly resurfacing as the friend who wants to pull them back into their old habits. Gary clearly has his own issues that he hasn't dealt with properly, mostly having to do with his inability to grow up and become a responsible adult.

Wright's invasion piece doesn't necessarily have all of the charm as some of his previous work. But there are some really amusing comedic moments as well as some well-executed action sequences. The most enjoyable element is probably when the group takes on groups of the aliens, grabbing whatever set pieces they can to use as a weapon against them. The film very much feels like a hybrid of Shaun of the Dead and Wright's video-game-romantic-action picture Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It feels like it takes a while for Gary to assemble the group and the action to pick up. The World's End would have been better served had Wright trimmed up some of the introductory fare and attempted to get the film down to the 90 minute mark.

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