Yes, expectations were high. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the two previous supposed links to this finale of the Wright/Pegg/Frost ‘Cornetto Trilogy’, are two fantastic action-comedies, and two of my favourite films. So whilst this trip to the cinema was an absolute must, I was forecasting gold and nothing less. The majority of production for the film was set in my town centre too, so whoever was accompanying me to this viewing should have already expected an earful of “I’ve been there” throughout.
Back when they were in school together, Gary King, played by Simon Pegg, and his group of friends failed to complete ‘The Golden Mile’ – a pub-crawl consisting of 12 pints in 12 pubs across their old town of Newton Haven. 20 years later, King decides to rally the group to finish it off, and as they join together again they realise that things have changed; in both their own lives, and in their old town too. The film starts as a sort of Stand By Me modern sequel and takes an unforeseen futuristic Sci-Fi twist, with zombie-like characters seeming to have taken over the group’s once beloved home.
In comparison to their previous work, you could mistake The World’s End as a Michael Bay picture with the amount of exaggerated drama, which is clearly unnecessary to the story. What surprised me the most about this film was the lack of references to its predecessors, being its last in the series. Yes there are the obvious running gags of fence-jumping, ice creams, and, if you listen closely, recurrence of the music from the fruit machine in Shaun of the Dead. They even brought back some characters from Spaced, and Bill Nighy and Rafe Spall. But I was craving more connecting jokes throughout that would make this trilogy feel ultimately complete. There are some zombie-like characters in this one – surely some Shaun references? Alas, no. We remain deprived.
Messrs. Pegg and Wright have really hit their audience with a curveball finale. The jokes were similar but some cheesy, and dumbed-down a little as if to accommodate for their ever-growing international following.
Overall – Yes, the storyline is gripping. Yes, there is violence and blood (or ink) and the prevalent theme of undying friendship and lots of killing is inscribed as per. But it’s strange that whilst some critics and fans are praising the concluding chapter for its continuous devotion to British-themed comedy, it feels as if it has been injected instead with a harsh dose of mainstream Americanised commercialism, that pushes it a step too far from its previous two.