Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The World's End

[note: this is not a "review" in the critical sense - this is how I would explain the film to someone I know. Do not expect objectivity or a balance between positive and negatives. I can talk negatively about things I really love and disappointment is not equal to disapproval.]

I much prefer the name "blood and ice cream" for the trilogy but it is apparently now the "Cornetto" trilogy.

I first noticed Edgar Wright, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in (along with Jessica Stevenson - oft forgotten but part of the writing team) on Channel 4. Spaced started when I was in university and I remember watching it on VHS having recorded it a few times on Friday nights (though not sure why, I was not exactly a social butterfly). It had a great soundtrack and fun pop culture references embedded into it. It was stupid, fun but also quite different. Actually, and this could just be the time of my youthful exuberance more than anything else, but there was a fair bit of decent comedy around at the time. This and Alan Partridge (film version of that soon...) were the best of them for quite different reasons but both had a feeling of anarchy in them and delusion. I have also been (taken?) to the house itself which is in Tufnell Park - which I think may be, arguably, the geekiest I have ever felt in my life. Anyway, the films have a similar feel and have allowed Wright to do a bit more with a bit more budget.

I'll be honest, a few quirky British references and the incongruous nature of Hollywood in UK towns/villages is enough for me so not sure I can be that objective. I saw Shaun of the Dead whilst abroad at a friend's flat so it is likely that the loving recreation of suburbia helped a lot. Hot Fuzz was a blast of nonsense and I also liked all the well-known actors floating about. So, "The World's End" had a lot to live up to but I was predisposed to liking it at the same time:

The thing that can be a problem with series like this is that you are almost forced to do a comparison. I don't think I'm giving a huge amount to say that this is very much in the vein of the others - a swarm that has attached itself to a host town/village. The setup is pretty contrived (1990 pub crawl relived - with soundtrack) but I think the important thing with films is not realism but coherence and the film hangs together to make the unrealistic bits quite believable - a very willing sense of disbelief. It has a few of the tropes of Edgar Wright - you'll spot them! I thought I'd be tired of the Requiem for a dream style drug taking cuts but they just about work. The kinetic fight scenes are really well handled with a genuine energy (though entirely unbelievable!) and well choreographed to show the skills of the cast - ie not much. The fact that the swarm are what they are allows some innovative use of limbs and some pretty funny moments. The dialogue is as expected, tight, British and a little bit arch. I liked it a lot and laughed a fair few times. I always bemoan the weakness of swearing in comedy, but profanity can be funny. Not Malcolm Tucker funny, but funny nonetheless.

The theme of the film (as far as I can tell) is about the spread of generic towns and I can empathise with that. The real thing about this, which is a recreation of a 1990 pub crawl in a small town is that these pubs would no longer exist. That bit of poetic licence aside, there are regular complaints of the sameness of the town (brilliantly in the second pub) and how dull it is. You can see why they all escape - and at the same time there is no reason to be surprised that so many of their old friends still seem to be there. That's the thing about smalltown, you are always the different one. You and your friends...

The last film I saw at the cinema was and I mentioned the way it was obviously designed to be like a live action anime but this also had a little of the Japanese narrative style, though not sure it has been commented on (though not seen much commentary) with the way it flits between exposition and nonsense - the end (and if you've seen akira, you'll know it is giving nothing away!) reminded me of a mix between neon genesis evangelion and akira. Quite a lot. Not in terms of the story, as such, but the texture. The scene at the end in a car seems to be lifted directly from akira!

I think I'd recommend this film to most people, if you are reading it you'll probably want to watch it, and you'll probably like it. You can leave your brain behind but if you bring it along, it'll be happy.
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