All good things must come to an end. The final installment of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy aka “Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” (a popular UK frozen confectionary) has come to a close. We saw bumbling buds Simon Pegg and Nick face great horror, delve into action, and finally sip down suds in the end-all sci-fi flick, The World’s End. It’s a bittersweet bookend to a beloved nerd trifecta but at least we’ll always have the memories.
Nostalgia is a prevalent theme in The World’s End as Gary King (Pegg), the film’s burnout lead reassembles his chaps to reclaim his glory years. The year was 1990 when Gary and his four best friends; Andy, Peter, Steven, and O-Man attempted “The Golden Mile” an epic twelve-bar pub crawl in their quaint hometown of Newton Haven. Though as Gary’s friends moved on over the years Gary found himself left behind, retelling the story of his greatest night to addicts and junkies in a recovery center. The only regret now in his egotistical noggin is that he never made it to the final pub, “The World’s End”. With the ever burning desire to relive his youth and complete the pub crawl, Gary manipulates his former mates to go back to Newton Haven. Though it doesn’t take long for the fivesome to notice something is off about their once humble hometown.
In an homage to Invasion of the Body Snatchers and other social sci-fi stories of the 50s and 60s, The World’s End depicts a society assimilated by an intergalactic threat. In this case we have the “Blanks”, a race of cybernetic humanoids with plans to assimilate humankind and create a perfect world. Those who refuse to be assimilated become mulch (literally) and once Gary and the gang take notice, they start taking names.
In another tribute to cinema, Gary and the gang take on the Blanks in a drunken stupor much akin to Jackie Chan’s series of Drunken Master films. The World’s End even went as far as to hiring one of Chan’s stunt coordinators, Brad Allan to perfect our heroes boozed up rumbles with the Blanks. The drunker they get the better they fight, in a fury of fists and grubby blue robot blood. You can always count on Edgar Wright to deliver the A.D.D. action that has defined his style.
Another of Wright and Pegg’s staples in full swing is their noted ability to craft lovably, silly characters, spewing out sharp back-and-forth dialogue. Whereas The World’s End may lack the humor of Shaun of the Dead or the even funnier Hot Fuzz, it makes up for in heart. Out of the three, The World’s End is perhaps the most thoughtful, with the most detail put towards character development. Instantly, we love Gary and his entire gang. You have the lovable pushover, Peter (Eddie Marsan), the tightly wound O-Man, (Martin Freeman) Gary’s charming rival Steven (Paddy Consadine) and Gary’s overly responsible former best mate Andy (the always memorable Nick Frost).
If there’s anywhere The World’s End wavers, it’s in the boldness of its story. The film begins as a light-hearted buddy romp before it takes a total left turn mid-progress with Earth’s humanity at stake. I would compare this change in tempo to From Dusk Till Dawn, a film that was one part, gritty crime/drama and another part over-the-top vampire gore fest. It’s a bit polarizing and results in a significantly ridiculous finale. I had mixed feelings about the end, but as a whole it’s a filling finale to the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy. So there you have the end of an era, I can already hear the nerds weeping.