Plot: What’s it about?
Nearly a decade ago I had a copy of Shaun of the Dead and had a review pile that was getting pretty deep. I took that copy to a friend of mine at work and he watched it and gave it back. I told him he could keep it only to hear hime say “Dude, have you not seen this? Because you really should, I think you’d like it.” My eyebrow raised and I took the disc back home with me and it was then that I found one of my favorite movies of the last ten years. Amazing how these things happen, no? As we all know, Shaun of the Dead was a hit with critics and audiences alike and a few years later we were presented with Hot Fuzz, starring the two men who made Shaun of the Dead such a success. Little did I know that these same two had a show called Spaced and it did somewhat explain a lot. Moving forward, six years have passed since Hot Fuzz and we’re finally treated to a third installment of the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost “trilogy” with The World’s End. They’ve battled zombies, been cops and now are on a mission to have the pub crawl to end all pub crawls. Need I say more?
The year is 1990 and Gary King (Simon Pegg) is a big deal. He’s got a carefree attitude, is good looking and the unquestioned leader of his group of friends. That was then. Twenty some odd years later Gary is still living in 1990 and can’t seem to let it go. His friends have all gotten on with their lives, have good jobs, wives and children. Gary is still…a big kid. He wants to get his group of friends back together to top their pub crawl from their past. You see, they never finished it (for reasons that are colorfully illustrated) and it’s been bugging Gary. So after a bit of convincing, Gary “gets the band back together” and it’s off they go. They head back to their home town and start downing the pints. However as the day/night progresses, there’s something a bit different about the town and they can’t seem to put their fingers on. I won’t divulge what that is else it’d ruin the movie, but suffice it to say that this the events of this night are much more than a pub crawl.
Director Edgar Wright and starts Nick Frost and Simon Pegg know what audiences want – more of the same. The chemistry that made the first two films such a success is still present and with The World’s End, we are treated to more of the same. That’s a good thing. Having now seen all three “installments” of this trilogy, I’d have to say that Shaun of the Dead is still my favorite. I do have to say that there’s an element of truth in this one, though. I find it amazing how some people do tend to live in the past and it’s kind of sad. Yes, no one really wants to grow up, but it’s something that we all have to do. Simon Pegg embodies Gary like no other. And while Pegg has had more mainstream success as an actor (he’s Scotty in the new Star Trek movies for starters), I’m glad to see that he’s still willing to return to his roots and give audiences more of what they want. I think we could watch these guys do anything, be it killing zombies or drinking their sorrows away. The World’s End delivers pretty much what it advertises, so a recommendation is mandatory. Cheers!
Video: How’s it look?
Sporting a 2.40:1 AVC HD image, The World’s End looks nothing short of spectacular on Blu-ray. The film starts out in the late afternoon and finishes up at night and never once is the image challenged. Black levels remain strong and consistent throughout, flesh tones look warm and natural, well natural for pale-skinned Brits anyway. Detail is amazing, we can see the whiskers on Simon Pegg’s face, the crows feet around his eyes and the individual strands of hair. Contrast works well and I saw no evidence of banding. Put bluntly: this looks just how we would think it would. Universal has done a bang up job with this and it shows. No quarrels here!
Audio: How’s it sound?
At the risk of giving anything away, I will say that though this is a comedy, don’t expect it to sound like one. No, the “twist” in the movie makes way for some pretty intense and robust sound and the included DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack does an excellent job. Vocals are rich and strong, surrounds are used a lot in the second act and the LFE will come into play. As I said, this is not your typical comedic mix.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Universal has done a great job with this disc, giving fans what they want. Without further ado, let’s get a move on, shall we?
- Audio Commentary – Director Edgar Wright and star/co-writer Simon Pegg collaborate for the first of a trio of commentary tracks, yes a trio. These two go back a long way and it shows, the two poke fun at one another, chuckle as they watch the film and seem to have as good a time watching it as we did. While we don’t get a whole lot of extra information here, we do have two more tracks to get through as well as a trivia track.
- Completing the Golden Mile – The Making of The World’s End – Broken into two parts, this can be played as a whole or either of the two parts. This is pretty straight-forward with the first part telling us how the concept for the movie came to be, the shoot and so forth. The second part focuses on the characters and their role within the film. If you’ve listened to the commentary track with Wright and Pegg, some of this information is redundant, but for those that are more visual – this is for you.
- Trailers/TV Spots – Three trailers for the film are included as well as one that focuses on Pegg’s character and three TV spots are shown as well.
- Audio Commentary (Technical) – Director of Photography Bill Pope delivers a more straight-forward look at the film, the shoot and some of the challenges of the movie. While not nearly as entertaining as the previous track, there is a wealth of information here. Honestly I don’t think I’ll ever listen to it again, but it’s there should the need ever arise.
- Audio Commentary (Cast) – Simon Pegg is joined by fellow mates Nick Frost and Paddy Considine. I had high hopes for this track and on some levels it does deliver, but I think I was ultimately left wanting a bit more. Or maybe it’s because this was the third track and I’d just had enough. Still, this is a bit on the lighter side and good for a few laughs.
- U-Control – Universal’s ever-present feature allows for a picture-in-picture viewing of storyboards. It’s not a full on PIP feature, but there are some interesting tidbits, for sure.
- Deleted Scene – Yep, only one. ‘Tis a shame.
- Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of The World’s End – One of the two robust features that really delve into the making of the movie. Most of this is dedicated to the FX of the film and I won’t go into too much detail else I’ll ruin the surprise, and the other part is dedicated to the stunts of the film with the pub crawl. Suffice it to say, it’s an interesting feature.
- VFX Breakdown – I don’t know why they just didn’t add this to the above feature, but for whatever reason – they didn’t. This is a bit more on the visual effects of the film.
- Animatics – Two sequences are included: “The Prologue” and “Catacombs.”
- Outtakes – About ten minutes of these are shown, in chronological order no less.
- Alternate Edits – About five minutes of alternate takes on scenes already in the film.
- Edgar & Simon’s Flip Chart – We see director/writer Edgar Wright and actor/writer Simon Pegg as they take their rather unique approach to screenwriting.
- Director at Work – The cast praises Wright and informs us of what it’s like to be in one of his films.
- Pegg + Frost = Fried Gold – Essentially the same thing as above, only they praise Pegg and Frost.
- Friend’s Reunited – A breakdown of the main characters in the film, but if you’ve seen the “Making of…” segment, this will look eerily familiar.
- Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy – Finally! An explanation of what this is all about – ice cream cones!
- Hair and Make-Up Tests – Pretty self-explanatory, we see the actors as they get ready for their close-ups.
- Rehearsal Footage – Some raw footage that again, looks eerily familiar.
- Stunt Tapes – We see three different segments in which stunts were heavily used.
- There’s Only One Gary King – Osymyso’s Inibri-8 Mega Mix – Gary won’t let cassettes die so we’re treated to a musical montage from the film.
- Signs & Omens – If you’re one who looks for Easter Eggs (I’m not), this feature will come right out and tell you where they are.
- Bits and Pieces – Some more alternate takes from various scenes.
- TV Safe Version – Evidently if this were to be shown on TV, it’d be 4 minutes long.
- Galleries – Some photos from the set, props, conceptual art and posters can be found here.
- Trivia Track – If you still haven’t had enough, we get a trivia track that can be viewed along with the film containing all the facts that you haven’t already learned. Yay!