If you're going to find out that the Earth has been colonized by alien robots, it may as well be during an epic pub crawl. That is the premise for The World's End, the grand finale of the "Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy" dreamed up by director Edgar Wright, producer Nira Park, and writers/actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Beginning with zombie spoof Shaun of the Dead in 2004 and following up in 2007 with the buddy cop/conspiracy movie Hot Fuzz, the trilogy is now complete. And we hope they immediately start working on a new one... perhaps the "Three Flavours Fudgsicle trilogy"? We're just spitballin' here.
Like the other two Cornettos, The World's End is a great mix of comedy, action, pratfalls, and full-body nerdouts. And for once, it is Pegg, not Frost, playing the oblivious screw-up. His character, Gary King, peaked early, experiencing his happiest moment after attempting a pub crawl called the Golden Mile with his tight-knit pack of high school friends. 20 years later, Gary's friends have all moved on to successful careers and family life, while he is still mentally and emotionally 18-years-old. In a last ditch effort to reclaim his glory years, Gary convinces his friends to give the Golden Mile another go. His aim is to do what his younger self couldn't: make it The World's End, the 12th and last pub in the crawl.
But something has happened to their hometown of Newton Haven. Residents regard them with suspicion. Old friends seem afraid to speak openly about the eerie shift. And most importantly, when Gary pulls off the head of a teen during a bar fight, it's clear the boy is artificial. Damn, dude. The town is infested with humanoid robots!
The fun has just begun at this point, and The World's End does an amazing job of raising the stakes in every scene. Whether it's discovering the extent of Gary's downward spiral or the extent of the robots' imperial plan, there is no room for fat in the movie. As with the other Cornetto flicks, there is also a great deal of heart built in, and Nick Frost delivers an especially amazing performance as Gary's once-best-friend Andy. His arc shows him disappointed, then enraged, then completely ball-busting in his fight against the robot overlords. Gary's climactic rant is easily the most entertaining last stand since Mal Reynolds took on the Operative in Serenity. Dare I say, it is almost Shakespearean, as Gary offers up an incredible defense of humanity's ailments with passion that only a Falstaff-level drunkard can muster. It is a beautiful thing to behold.
Rest assured, the action goes down to the bitter end. Or, as the case may be, the lager end.
The World's End opens on August 23rd.