In a summer stuffed with sequels and reboots, it’s hard to find a truly original film. Thankfully, we have “The World’s End,” timed ironically enough with the summer’s end. Reuniting director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the trio aim to complete their British comedy trilogy started with “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” This time, however, they are setting their sights on sci-fi as opposed to zombies or buddy cop films.
Pegg plays Gary King, a grown man yearning to relive his high school days with his friends Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine) and Andy (Nick Frost), all of whom have moved on with their lives.
Gary hopes to reunite them to complete an epic pub crawl they attempted their senior year, where they tried working their way through twelve pubs, from The First Post to the World’s End. Last time’s attempt resulted in failure, so Gary is determined to complete this crawl no matter what. But when the five friends return to their hometown, they find their once happy community has been taken over by alien robots, whose ambitions reach far beyond their old town.
Though outlandish towards the end, the plot moves at a breakneck pace and never forgets its characters. Pegg and Frost are better than ever; their chemistry crackles as two lifelong friends who are reunited after tragedy drove them apart. They’ve only improved since “Hot Fuzz,” but the real treat is seeing them mix it up with Considine, Marsan and Freeman’s unique senses of humor.
Their well developed relationships and shared history ground the film amid all the sci-fi elements. These too are handled well, serving up not only some great comedy but biting social satire, while playing on themes of maturity and nostalgia. Ultimately, the film boils down to a hilarious reflection of confronting your adulthood and dealing with changes to your childhood home.
Bursting with engaging performances, gut-busting humor and a wholly intelligent story, “The World’s End” adds some much needed originality to an otherwise disappointing summer film season.