Monday, July 21, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—The World’s End (2013) ****

R, 109 min.
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, Pierce Brosnan, David Bradley, Michael Smiley, Steve Oram
Voice: Bill Nighy

“The World’s End” was one of my favorite movies from 2013. I think some people might look at it and wonder why. It’s a strange British movie. It’s part of the Cornetto Trilogy by filmmakers Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The two previous films were “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”. The only three things that really tie them together are these three artists, the fact that the ice cream treat called a cornetto appears at some point in each film and each is a spoof of a decade specific genre.

“Shaun” skewers the zombie flick redefined by George A. Romero in 1968. “Fuzz” sends up the buddy cop movies popular in the 80s. “The World’s End” takes on 50’s b-movie alien invasion science fiction. Of course, for a good portion of the film it seems like it’s just about a guy trying to recapture his lost high school days with four friends who have moved on with adulthood. But then, the two aren’t entirely unrelated. That’s what I liked about it so much. It works on both of these levels and they’re both really about the same thing, our need to cling onto the triumphs of our youth. We go back to our hometown years after we’ve left and everything’s changed. It all seems terrible. Why can’t it stay the way it was? The way we remember it was anyway. Those 50s sci-fi flicks were about turning into something that you didn’t want to be.

It approaches this rather serious subject matter with droll British humor and what could pass for Hollywood style action in a sci-fi spectacular. Just combining British comedy with Hollywood action is a feat enough for a movie, but to imbue it with perfectly executed sci-fi allegory to boot; well, that’s a movie for me.

Read my original review here.

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