Review of “World’s End” (2013)

from YouTube

This is the last of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy movies, directed by Edgar Wright and written by Wright and Simon Pegg. The first two are the zombie movie Shaun of the Dead (2004) and the parody cop buddy movie Hot Fuzz (2007). Not much is said about ice cream in this one, but a lot is said about beer.


Gary King (Simon Pegg) opens the movie recalling an “epic” pub crawl he and four school friends fell just short of completing at seventeen along the Golden Mile of their hometown of Newton Haven: twelve pubs beginning with the First Post and ending with (of course) the World’s End.

“In the end,” he tells the viewer, “we blew off the last three pubs and headed for the hills. As I sat up there, blood on my knuckles, beer down my shirt, sick on my shoes, knowing in my heart life would never feel this good again.”

“And you know, it never was.” The scene reveals King in a group therapy session. He grins. He now has an idea.

In the following few scenes, he contacts his old friends, Peter Page (Eddie Marsan), who now works for his father at a luxury car dealership; Steven Prince (Paddy Considine), a construction manager; Oliver “O-Man” Chamberlain (Martin Freeman), a real estate agent; and Andy Knightley (Nick Frost), Gary’s closest friend and a corporate lawyer. In each case, he lies and tells the person that everyone else has agreed to meet and try to complete the pub crawl they failed twenty-three years earlier. Most ask, “Even Andy?” To which King replies with the bald-faced lie, “Of course!”

Andy has been a teetotaler since he and King were in a car accident years earlier.

After some mishaps, they all reach Newport Haven, Gary dragging his half-willing friends. It’s been a while. The barkeeps no longer recognize them, except one at the Famous Cock, where Gary was barred long ago. At another pub, Pete encounters a man who bullied him in school. The man doesn’t recognize him. This upsets Pete—adding insult to injury from all the beatings in school—the man doesn’t even remember him.

In the restroom, Gary talks to a teenager who doesn’t respond. This irritates Gary to the point of physical confrontation. Gary knocks the teenager’s head off—it’s a mannequin—a robot that bleeds blue blood.

All of which leads to all five friends squaring off in the “gents” with a group of…  teenage robots that bleed blue blood and shed body parts like Barbie dolls.

WTF, indeed.


First, this does not stand up to the first two movies. There is a desperate sadness about Gary’s character, trying to recapture the one glorious night of his youth. It can’t be done; you are not the same person, and your hometown is not the same place. Toward the end of the movie, it’s revealed he’s recently survived a suicide attempt. He’s an alcoholic about forty years old.

Gary tells Andy: “It never got better than that night! That was supposed to be the beginning of my life! All that promise and fucking optimism! That feeling that we could take on the whole universe! It was a big lie! Nothing happened!”

Not to say there aren’t genuinely funny moments. Oliver’s sister Sam (Rosamund Pike) joins the bunch at one point. Both Gary and Steven have a thing for her. Gary, wanting to reenact a sexual encounter they once had in the disabled restroom, follows Sam to the ladies’ restroom. As one might expect, he gets his fact slapped. Later in the film, after they’ve talked for a bit, Gary says, sounding not at all like Humphrey Bogart, “I guess we’ll always have the disableds’.” Tacky and inappropriate, but quite funny, it also speaks to growing up a bit.

And the pubs? They all look the same. All corporate-owned, trying to look traditional. Uh-huh.

Things get weird toward the end of the movie. However, I think it’s safe to say that Gary finds his purpose after all.

World’s End won the Empire Awards (UK) Best British Film Award in 2014. Its director, Edgar Wright, was nominated for Best Director. World’ End also won a 2013 Golden Schmoe Award—Best Line of the Year”—for its riveting discussion of the meaning of the phrase “WTF.”

I have mixed feelings about this movie. I can’t say that it was bad. It certainly had its moments, but there was an underlying sadness that the other flicks didn’t have.

There is no explicit sex, but there is a lot of violence profanity and potty talk. It’s funny, but not one for the kidlets, I’m afraid.

Title: World’s End (2013)

Directed by
Edgar Wright

Writing Credits
Simon Pegg…(written by) &
Edgar Wright…written by)

Cast (in credits order)
Thomas Law…Young Gary
Zachary Bailess…Young Andy
Jasper Levine…Young Steven
James Tarpey…Young Peter
Luke Bromley…Young Oliver
Sophie Evans…Becky Salt

Released: 2013
Length: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Rated: R

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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