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Movie review: ‘The World’s End’

Posted 8:53pm on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013

R (pervasive strong language, including sexual references); 107 min.

The World’s End feels like a grand last hurrah, a victory lap for those Hot Fuzz/Shaun of the Dead/Spaced mates Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and their writer/director-partner-in-crime, Edgar Wright.

A rollicking, drunken romp through beer, weepy co-dependency and alien pod people conspiracy theories, it allows these no-longer-lads one last chance to be lads — playing guys who have aged out of getting drunk and hitting every pub in town, but are trying to recapture that past.

That’s what Gary King (Pegg) wants. We’ve met him recalling one epic pub crawl, the Golden Mile, from his youth — 12 pubs in Newton Haven — all in one night.

But that gets him to thinking. He and his four mates (Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan) never got from The First Post (a pub) to The World’s End (the 12th). Even though they’re all 40-somethings, Gary rounds them up and somehow persuades each to join him for one last shot at glory.

And just as the alcohol-as-truth serum starts to kick in and people reveal their failings and disappointments, something sci-fi happens and they’re having to brawl their way from one pub to the next for their very survival.

Wright stages the nightmarish night of drunken fights with not-human barflies with skill. But this is a movie that floats by on dazzlingly silly banter and well-slung slang.

The energy flags, but in reviving the formula that made Shaun of the Dead such a blast, Pegg, Frost and Wright put an exclamation point on the truism that Douglas Adams first explored in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: When the apocalypse comes, there’s no place better to ride it out than in your friendly neighborhood pub.

— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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