When Justin Timberlake reunited with his ‘N Sync members at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, women and men alike lost it for a second and took a trip down memory lane—maybe even got transported to their tween years. Not everyone gets the chance to see their favorite childhood pop supernovas get back together.
Seeing The World’s End, which is currently out in theaters, is something akin to that.
The first time moviegoers had the chance to experience the comedic chemistry between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 2004’s Shaun of the Dead was a joyous romp. The movie proved to create a unique genre of its own in a saturated zombie-laden market. Britain’s two antiheroes Shaun (Pegg) and Ed (Frost) battled zombies with cricket bats and records with dry, acerbic wit (many thanks to writers Pegg and partner-in-crime Edgar Wright). There was even a “White Lines” tribute sung by Shaun, Ed, and a zombie. Enough said.
Wright and Pegg’s “Cornetto Trilogy”—aptly named after the three Cornetto ice cream flavors popular in England—continued with Hot Fuzz in 2007, an uproarious buddy cop picture helmed by Pegg and Frost. Even though it was clear that a final third film would complete the trilogy, it’s no less exciting to see these actors and writers reunite, and there’s a tinge of sadness that this is the last of them.
In The World’s End, Pegg and Frost play characters that are the antithesis of their past roles, and they do it gleefully and with ease. Frost no longer portrays the deadbeat best friend and his limitless fart jokes seem to have run its course. Instead, he is Andy, a bespectacled and well-spoken businessman, and Pegg is Gary, a fast-talking drug abuser stuck in the past. Gary rounds up his reluctant old high school friends, “The Five Musketeers,” some 20 years after graduation to complete what they weren’t able to do then—the ultimate bar crawl with the last stop at The World’s End bar. Andy still hasn’t forgiven Gary for an “accident” that happened between them (something not revealed until much later), and there is a great deal of animosity there. The group starts noticing something is amiss in their quaint British hometown, that the people there are no longer who they were when they left them. Without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say there are some sci-fi elements to this story that don’t disappoint.
Wright directed The World’s End to be just as stylistic as the other films in the trilogy, full of fast edits and quick zooms. The fight sequences are reminiscent of his work with Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World in its fist-pounding, video-game-like actions, and the visual effects are seamless and made with a seemingly hefty budget. Frost fights using two barstools as weapons and tackles folks with rugby-player brute strength. Viewers can’t help but cheer for him; he’s a scene-stealer.
Sure, theaters are already brimming with other doomsday films this year, what with the This is the End comedy with a similar name and World War Z. However, The World’s End manages to combine an emotional story with heart and charm that will keep audiences guffawing until the end.