REVIEW: The World’s End Should’ve Gone Full Apocalypse

I’m a bit late with my September story writing project, but, no matter, I will have to make up the days by either writing 2 in a day or going into October.  Here’s my first official entry, with a review and a proposed new plot to the movie ‘The World’s End’, which I saw over the weekend.

Photo credit: Cineplex, moviefile

A washed-up, drug-loving, former group leader recruits four of his friends to return, decades later, to a small town in the English countryside to relive the best night of their lives: a 12-stop pub crawl known as the Golden Mile.  That’s the premise of The World’s End movie, starring two of my favourites: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  Aside from a great cast (Bilbo!) and a few hilarious one-liners from the lesser known actors whose uptight characters get to let loose after 12 pints, the rest of the film falls flat.  Not the good kind of ‘jumps-over-a-fence-and-misses’ falls flat (a traditional Pegg-Frost slapstick routine) but the bad kind of flat.  The kind of flat beer you sip at the very end of your warm pint.  That’s the flat that’s tasted/felt in The World’s End.

So, instead of dissecting everything that’s wrong with the movie and offering no solution (how effective would that be?!) I propose a new plot to the movie, one that would greatly improve the comedic duo’s track record and then we can pretend the past opening week didn’t happen and start fresh.

The first problem is that the story is told from the perspective of its weakest character.  Gary King’s desire to reunite the ‘band’ isn’t heartfelt enough for us to care.  We relate more to the mundane characters his friends have become, who are shaken out of their comfortable lives by this friend from the past who tracks them down with his usual antics (lying, cheating, charming).

New Plot: Gary’s estranged best friend, Andy, plays a post-apocalyptic survivor at the end of the film.  The new plot could see him opening up the movie with a campfire tale about the night the world ended – changing it to Andy’s perspective with a flash-forward would’ve been awesome!

12 pubs is too much.  By pub seven, and the mayhem is already well introduced, we’ve lost track, we don’t care about finishing the crawl, and we want some major plot progression.

New Plot: Drop it to 9 pubs: like the 9 circles of hell or the 9th gate – this has more of an apocalyptic feel.  At the first two pubs we should start to notice something is off – but the idea that the town’s people of Newtown Haven don’t recognize our five heroes is irrelevant to us.  It’s not spooky or suspicious enough of what’s happening around them to indicate an apocalypse is coming.  We should see a silhouette of some weird business happening behind closed doors. One of the ‘robots’ should glitch in front of them while serving beer.

That’s another thing… robots? Silly.  I have a big problem with people who ‘turn’ or become different immediately i.e. they are suddenly blue-oozing robots with Barbie-like joints that hold their heads on.  Like the remake of the Stepford Wives, the belief is impossible to feign with human bodies dispensing cash or circuits firing in someone’s neck.  What happened to the original core body of the human?  This is vaguely explained by saying all original bodies are turned into mulch.  So how does the reproduction arrive so quickly? And what’s the point of the ‘transition’ terror that all robots can apply to any human by going all Alien on them and face-washing someone to convert them?  OK I am getting too into this…

New Plot:  By nearly killing a robot in a bathroom stall during a pointless, plotless bar fight is a brutal way for Gary’s character to stumble on the truth.  Instead, they should have witnessed an accident (car, bike, pedestrian) and saw one of these robots reveal themselves accidentally without any interference from the group… yet.  And, Robots? Don’t even go there.  Super-human, alien body snatchers maybe… but we just don’t even care about how they became these lifeless, blue shells to strain our brains around the logic.

Apocalypse… Now!  Waiting until the bitter end for the apocalypse to start wasted an entirely awesome possibility for serious laughs during the night the apocalypse happened.  There was no reason behind the when and the why the alien race decided to ditch their plan and blow up the world.

New Plot: Imagine having to do a pub crawl in an apocalypse?  That would have been leaps and bounds better than running from these blue-eyed freaks through an already-lost town with zero reason to stay.  My excitement flatlined and it felt like ‘blank’.

With a lot of help, I could have loved this movie.  It’s too bad, as Hot Fuzz is my favourite comedy and I had really high expectations for this one.  Knowing this, perhaps Pegg and Frost will have lowered global expectations before their next big blockbuster and then, their next attempt will meet our needs and they’ll get the last laugh?  Time to explore another genre.  Might I suggest a steamy romance parody?

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