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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: The World's End

November 18th, 2013

The World's End - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack

The World's End is the final film of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy. The first two films were Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. This film was the least financially successful of the three films, but is it also the weakest? If so, is it so weak that it isn't worth checking out?

The Movie

The film begins with Gary King telling us about the greatest night of his life, which was the night he graduated from school and he and his friends attempted the Golden Mile, a pub crawl around 12 pubs in Newton Haven. They never finished the crawl ending the night three pubs short. We then learn he isn't telling us this, but telling his group therapy session this. One of the group asks if he was upset they didn't finish the Golden Mile. At first he denies he's upset, but...

Throughout the credits, we see Gary and his now adult friends getting ready for their days. Gary first meets up with Peter Page, who sells high end automobiles at his dad's dealership. Gary asks Peter to join him and the guys on the Golden Mile, lying saying the others have all agreed. It doesn't take much convincing and Peter's in. Steven Prince is next. Steven is less excited, but agrees to go, out of what could be called a morbid curiosity. Oliver "O-Man" Chamberlain is even less excited to see Gary. (Gary mentioning Oliver's sister, Sam, certainly doesn't help.) Gary's energy finally wears him down and he agrees. Up to this point, everyone has asked if Andy Knightley is also coming, and Gary's said of course. The viewer won't be surprised to learn Gary hadn't asked Andy yet. It's clear these two had a falling out and Andy flat out refuses to go. Gary leaves, but before he does, he gives Andy £600 and explains why he's doing this now. Gary's mum passed away a few weeks ago and this has led him to remember the good times from his youth, and no one has ever been a better friend to him than Andy.

That said, when 3:00 roles around, all the friends are there in Newton Haven, well, everyone except Gary, who is late. Things never change with Gary. This includes Gary's old car, which he's had since 1989, and the mixed tape that he's had for as long.

The first couple of pubs they go to were taken over by corporate chains and look identical. The only thing of note that happens in the first pub, The First Post, is that we learn Andy is completely off alcohol. In the second pub, The Old Familiar, something more interesting happens. Sam shows up. Steven always had a thing for Sam, but Gary knew this and has always pursued her as a result. This time, it doesn't work.

The next pub over, The Famous Cock, is a very short stay. Gary King was banned for life in 1990, but the barkeeper is still enforcing it. Fortunately, someone who drank at the outside table left a few half drunk pints, so at least Gary can get his one pint at every pub. Next up is The Cross Hands. By this time, the guys are reminiscing and actually seeming to enjoy spending time with each other. Then Peter sees an old bully, who doesn't even recognize Peter. It's emotional for Peter, but Gary doesn't even seem to notice. It's the last straw for the group and while Gary heads to the loo, they decide to head home. Then Gary's mum calls. Gary told them his mum died, which is why he wanted to do this pub crawl, but now they know he lied, so the four of them go to the loo to confront Gary. However...

On one hand, this is the point in the film where we see the big reveal, which is a spoiler. However, it's a spoiler given away in the trailer, so is it really a spoiler? Regardless, I'm choosing to play it safe and end the plot summary there.

Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz both earned 91% positive reviews. That sets a nearly impossibly high bar to match, but I think this film might actually get there. The World's End has a deeper emotional heart than the other two films. Simon Pegg gives great speech near the end of the movie that is more dramatic than anything we've come to expect from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. The World's End also has a lot of humor, although one could argue not as much humor as its two predecessors. Also, the action sequences didn't quite have the same energy. That said, the acting was top notch and it was fun to watch the mystery unfold.

Overall, I would say that The World's End is, if not as good as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, it is so close as to not matter.

The Extras

Extras on the DVD are kind of weak. There's an audio commentary track with Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, plus a making of featurette. Granted, the featurette is 48 minutes long, so it is very substantial. There are also two faux trailers, one a for Newton Haven as a tourist attraction, and the other is the regular trailer, but with silly voices.

The Blu-ray has this, plus a ton more. Firstly, there's a Picture-in-Picture track with storyboards for the movie and a separate trivia track. There are also two more audio commentary tracks, the first a technical track with Edgar Wright and Bill Pope, and the second an actors track with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Paddy Considine. If that were all of the extras, it would still be enough for it to be worth picking up over the DVD. However, there's more. There's one deleted scene and four minutes of alternate scenes. Up next is 11 minutes outtakes. There are four featurettes under the Featurettes menu item. Combined they are about 15 minutes long. Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of 'The World's End' is a 28-minute long look at the special effects in the movie, as well as the the stunts and fight choreography. There are two scenes done in animatic form (basically storyboards with early audio). Up next is four minutes of hair, make-up, and wardrobe tests. There's six minutes of stunt scene rehearsal footage. Stunt Tapes looks at rehearsal footage plus storyboards for three fight scenes. VFX Breakdown shows several special effects shots and how they were made with a mixture of practical elements and CG effects. Bits & Pieces is three-minutes of alternative lines. There's Only One Gark King – Osymyso's Inibri-8 Mega Mix is a music video with lines from the movie mixed into a techno track. Signs and Omens is an eight-minute look at Easter Eggs / foreshadowing hidden throughout the movie. Edgar & Simon's Flip Chart is a 13-minute look at how Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright wrote the movie. There's a TV Safe Version, a four-minute look at the select scenes and how they would be shown on TV. Finally there is a gallery.

The technical presentation is fantastic, especially given the relatively low budget for a Hollywood film and the number of scenes shot in the dark. There are a few scenes where there's a bit more grain than you would expect, but that's really the only complaint. Other than that, the level of detail is consistently high, the colors are strong, the shadows are inky without swallowing details. The audio is just as strong as the video. The dialogue is always clear, which is important. There is also a lot of activity in the surround sound speakers, including a solid bass, ambient sounds, dynamic effects. It has everything you could want in an action film, and it is certainly more active than most comedies.

The DVD costs $18, while the Blu-ray comes in at $23, or 28% more than the DVD. That's a good price.

The Verdict

Pixels Per Second put out a short film called Hell No about people acting sensible in a horror movie, and how that would kill any real horror. Since it came out a month ago, I've seen two films that deal with this very problem using the same solution, alcohol. As much as I liked Grabbers, The World's End is the better movie. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD, but it is still worth a rental. The Blu-ray Combo Pack, on the other hand, is a clear contender for Pick of the Week.

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Filed under: Video Review, The World's End, Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, Darren Boyd, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Edgar Wright, Bill Pope