Seeking out the

5000 greatest films

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The World's End

Directed by Edgar Wright
Produced by Nira Park, Tim Bevan, and Eric Fellner
Written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
With: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, David Bradley, Thomas Law, Pierce Brosnan, Rosamund Pike, and the voice of Bill Nighy
Cinematography: Bill Pope
Editing: Paul Machliss
Music: Steven Price
Runtime: 109 min
Release Date: 23 August 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Color: Color

The World’s End is the latest from the filmmaking team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg (Shawn of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), and it tells the tale of five boyhood friends, now grown, who return to their quaint English hometown to complete a pub crawl they never finished in their youth. It becomes evident midway through their booze-fuelled adventure that something strange has occurred in their little village; something we eventually learn could mean the end of the world as they know it. The film has a few good laughs, and it's fun to see the familiar actors reunited onscreen, but these small pleasures don't make up for the film's inconsistency and excessive length. Wright and Pegg send up a hodgepodge of genres, among them science fiction, classic horror, bromance, and midlife-crisis comedy.  Unfortunately, the balance between satire and storytelling is off-kilter in this effort; the film isn't funny enough to be a great parody, but the narrative is too over-the-top for it to be anything else. Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz combined semi-engaging plots with cinematic commentary/homage in a way that felt somewhat fresh and entertaining, but the novelty of this approach is wearing thin after only three pictures, and it doesn’t help that the filmmakers are already starting to repeat themselves with with same visual gags and movie references. Also troublesome are the inevitable comparisons to Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s This is The End, another 2013 film in which familiar actors playing broad caricatures confront a global apocalypse. It's hard for me to believe, or admit, that a team of hilarious Brits could be bested by a bunch of young-Hollywood Apatow upstarts, but This is The End strikes a tonal balance and finds a human center that The World’s End sorely lacks.