The World's End casts Simon Pegg as Gary King. He's an alcoholic and loser whose only goal in life from the end of his school days to approaching middle age is to have fun. King wants to relive his glory days and do a pub crawl that he and his mates failed to finish when they were in school.
They've all moved on with life. King hasn't.
He convinces them to make the trek. Early in the crawl, the group notices that things aren't quite right with the town folk. A fight in a restroom leads to a conclusion that an alien invasion is in progress that threatens all of humanity. The logical solution -- according to King -- is to continue the drunken march to the last pub, the World's End.
Pegg is an absolute blast as the narcissistic, unredeemable King. He wants what he wants, and recapturing his youthful glory years is even more important than the end of the world. His reluctant and panicky friends are wonderfully done by Pegg movie staple Nick Frost and Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins of The Hobbit), Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan. Rosamund Pike puts in a short stint as a former King girlfriend.
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Pegg and co-writer/director Edgar Wright are terrific writers with an off-beat sense of humor and life view. This is their most mature film. The World's End is not just fun and funny. It's an interesting perspective on the midlife crisis. Pegg's King fights growing up and growing old. He battles it and the boredom that accompanies both with every fiber in his being. While King refused to grow up, his former friends have fallen into lives that are safe, slow and boring.
You pity both sides as Pegg and Wright use clever and often comic dialogue to dig deeply and sometimes dramatically into the misery of middle age and the unmet dreams of youth.
Some of it works; some of it doesn't.
The World's End is the completion of a trilogy of films Pegg and Wright linked to a favorite British frozen ice cream maker. Shaun of the Dead checked in with a strawberry flavor reflecting the blood and gore of flesh-eating zombies. Hot Fuzz put the original blue ice cream into the plot to signify police.
Mint chocolate-chip is featured in The World's End signifying aliens and science-fiction. Here's the connection. It is my favorite of the three ice creams, but this movie is my least favorite of the three.
Director: Edgar Wright
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Pierce Brosnan, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language and nudity. It is playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.