Watching The World’s End was a frustrating affair for me. It was so close to being a classic but I am left with negative feelings about the film. It shouldn’t have been this way.
All the ingredients are there with The World’s End – it is extremely funny, it is probably more British than the other two Cornetto films and most important of all, it is the darkest film of the trilogy. I respect the film makers for essentially making it less accessible to a casual audience, this can be seen in the liberal use of the C word (I first watched this film with my elderly mother-in-law to be… she walked out).
The problem I have with this film is the final act. Sometime after Pierce Brosnan turns up, the film felt both laboured and rushed at the same time (a paradox). It was as if the film-makers did not know how to end the film. Don’t get me wrong, I found the development of Simon Pegg’s character interesting, but so what? They didn’t actually address his alcoholism and this left the film feeling soulless. Instead they have him literally living his childhood all over again, probably for the rest of his life.
I was also annoyed at what happened when the film actually got to The World’s End pub… I hate being lectured to. Everything and I mean everything about the scene at that pub felt forced and unlike anything from the two previous Cornetto films or even the stellar start of the same film.
By the time we got to the world ending, I stopped caring about the film and its characters, which is a shame.
With all that said, there is some very good things about The World’s End. I feel lazy just saying this, but the acting in this in this film is great – Nick Frost and Pegg especially don’t disappoint. You believe that the main cast have a real history which the majority of them are trying to forget.
What makes this film special to me are the action sequences. The fight scenes had me in disbelief they were so good – real jaw on the floor stuff. The toilet scene with the gang of youths is spectacular but the garden scene with twins – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like it. Masterful.
I wanted to love The World’s End. I wanted to gush about it like I did Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz – but I just can’t. Unlike both of its predecessor, The World’s End feels uneven and the ending lacks the uniqueness it showed at the beginning of the film.
I know people that feel very differently than I do and that is fine. I know people that feel like this film touched on something very special about the British experience, especially school life in this country – and I don’t disagree.
But this film could have been the cherry on top of the Cornetto (do they even do that?) – but for me it is like finding out there is no solid chocolate at the end of the cone. Frustrating.