Thursday, 19 December 2013

Film Review: The World's End (streaming)

In the past, Edgar Wright has successfully taken certain Hollywood genres, like cop movies or zombie movies and successfully mixed them with certain aspects about middle-class Englishness like amateur dramatic societies and village fêtes.

The World's End tries to do the same with the alien invasion genre of films such as They Live and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which a group of blokes meet up for 20 years after a failed pub crawl in a new town/garden city only to find that the town has been taken over by aliens.

As a premise, there's nothing wrong with it, but in terms of delivery, it's pretty poor. I'm not sure if the production was cursed by the presence of 2 actors from the worst Bond film ever, but the main character lacks the sympathy that Simon Pegg brought to earlier films, the action sequences lack the humour that should have come from middle aged blokes trying to fight aliens and instead they all just look like they've been doing it forever, and are repetitive. And it doesn't have many laughs. It's then let down by an ending that could have been interesting but throws the film away.

It also struck me that Wright doesn't really have much of a grip on English pubs, and how large town pubs were rarely bastions of a choice of guest ales (Wetherspoons actually improved the amount of guest beers in towns). And I'm not sure if it was trying to make a point about certain aspects of modern society, but they really didn't work.

On the plus side, both Pegg and Frost show that they have greater depths of acting ability than have been used before.

Overall, I found it a witless, disappointing film that I would say is a passable way of spending an hour and a half, but not £3.50 of your hard-earned, so I would place in the Wait for TV category.


H said...

I must protest! Quantum of Solace is the worst Bond film ever, by miles.

The Stigler said...


I must confess not seeing QoS yet (despite owning the Bond Box set) due to people saying it's a bit of a waste of time. I shall watch and report on the result.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, on the topic of films, do you subscribe to Amy Farrah Fowler's theory that Indiana Jones is completely irrelevant to the plot of Raiders of the Lost Ark?

The Stigler said...


Absolutely. It's quite true.

But, it doesn't make it pointless. Indy didn't know the ark had vengeful face-melting angels inside, and if he did, he might have decided to stay home and teach archaeology.

SumoKing said...

I quite like Die another Day, it's like someone mercilessly mashed a load of good bits from Bond films together without making you sit through a long winded ropey plot about how annoying the Russians are.

In my experience plot gets in the way of many a good film. For an example of a "good film" I reccomend Doomsday, it has Rhona Mitra for a kickoff so always going to be good.

The Stigler said...


I don't have a problem with films that don't care too much about complex plots. Scorsese's films are often more about the characters than the plot. Gravity has about the simplest of plots. But it so well executed that you want to go back in and see it again.

And most Bond films have a very fixed plot about a supervillain wanting huge power, backed by a comical henchman, and Bond picks up some girls along the way, defeats the henchman and supervillain and ends up with the girl.

What makes Bond films work is in the execution, and there's almost nothing right about DaD. The pre-titles, the titles, the song, the Bond girl, the villain, the henchman, the action, the gadgets, the plot, it's all wrong.

Ian B said...

I thought it was pretty average too. I was going to say, "disappointing", but that would imply I expected something more from it, and I didn't. To an extent, it's too self indulgent; it's made by middle aged men, about being middle aged and yes, all those dreams of being pop stars and so on, when you were 16, and now you're just a boring accountant. Except there's no real pathos for that because the people making it aren't boring accountants whose dreams died, they're actors and writers and one got to play Scotty, which is in fact a more awesome reality than most teenagers' dreams. So in a sense it comes across as a bit of a sneer at other middle aged blokes who didn't get to be actors and stuff like that.

It also seems to be stuck with a problem that the movie exists because of a pun (not quite a pun, I don't know what the correct word is). A pub called The Worlds End... hey, a movie about that, but it actually contains the real end of the world, awesome!

I don't trust anyone who starts with the title, because in all likelihood you're going to end up with something contrived feeling. It's like you start with "Wadsworth" and then you're, hmm, it's about a man called, um, Brian Wad, and, um, what he's "worth", so, er, he has to prove what he's worth financially to satisfy the will of an elderly relative who just died... and hilarity ensues and, in the end, he has to choose between a Good Dead or the money from the will, so he chooses the Good Deed, which is what he's really "worth" and...

I wish that hobbit bloke would play another character once in a while. Not got much range, has he?

The Stigler said...

Ian B,

It's disappointing because the scripts for the first 2 films that Wright made are gold. And it felt like this one was knocked out without as much thought.

The Stigler said...

Ian B,

And no. It's one of a number of reasons why I skipped The Hobbit. I thought he might be a bit dreary.

Ian B said...


I stole "The Hobbit" from Usenet, and it was much as I expected it to be, including whatsisname playing his usual nice everyman character. I'm not entirely sure I can even be arsed to pirate part 2.

I get the feeling it'll be watchable once some enterprising internet type takes all three parts and edits them down to the single 2 1/2 hour movie they should have been in the first place.

Also, I hope that Wright does a good job with Ant Man.