Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #238
Number of Views: One
Release Date: 19 July 2013 (United Kingdom), 23 August 2013 (United States)
Sub-Genre: Sci-Fi Comedy
Country of Origin: United Kingdom, United States
Budget : $20,000,000
Box Office: $46,089,287
Running time: 109 minutes
Director: Edgar Wright
Producers: Nira Park, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
Screenplay: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Special Effects: Chris Reynolds, Matthew Denton
Cinematography: Bill Pope
Score: Steven Price
Editing: Paul Machliss
Studios: Relativity Media, Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions
Distributors: Universal Pictures (International), Focus Features (United States)
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, Thomas Law, Zachary Bailess, Jasper Levine, Luke Bromley, James Tarpey, Flora Slorach, Pierce Brosnan, David Bradley, Darren Boyd, Richard Hadfield, Michael Smiley, Nicholas Burns, Steve Oram, Reece Shearsmith, Bill Nighy (voice), Rafe Spall, Sophie Evans, Samantha White, Rose Reynolds, Kelly Franklin, Francesca Reidie, Stacey Franklin, Peter Serafinowicz
Suggested Audio Candy:
The Sisters of Mercy This Corrosion
I always like to think of myself as young at heart. The facts tell a different story and I’m currently careering towards the forty milestone that many dread to contemplate but, aside from a few grey hairs and a mid-life crisis which has come and gone, I’m still every bit the fun-loving guy I was twenty years ago. Nevertheless there are certain responsibilities you undertake and wisdom you glean in the subsequent years from your teenage kicks that force you into growing up and smelling the coffee. It’s not easy, particularly for fully fledged manchildren such as Keeper and that’s why rose-tinted spectacles come in handy.
We invariably consider times past to be the golden years and it’s the one constant regardless of whichever generation was our heyday. Music from that period still resonates, memories may become jaded but they still play out on perpetual loop and we generally regard these years as the best of our lives. If it were proposed that we take that step back for one exclusive night then I’m sure most of us would clasp it with open appreciative feelers. Nostalgia has such a draw and the notion of replaying certain escapades would just be too appealing. But what about if we never left that epoch, certain souls are forever doomed to perpetuate the cycle and spend their lives trying hard to convince themselves that the past twenty years never actually happened.
One such nostalgic soul belongs to Gary King. Once a legend in his own mind, he flat refused to leave those years behind him and instead kept the party raging inside his own cranium while others continued to evolve. This is reflected in the car he drives, a dilapidated Ford Granada which has long since left the production line and also in his attire which remains rooted in that forgotten era. His friends, who shared his ill-fated expedition along the infamous Golden Mile, have all taken the road ordinarily traversed and appear to have left their youth way behind them but Gary just can’t break away or, more critically, has no desire to do so.
He has his lightbulb moment, presumably as life begins to hint at his ignorance, and decides it would be a majestic plan to get the old gang together for one last messy hurrah. Through a sense of misguided loyalty and the odd little white lie or ten, they reluctantly agree and reunite for another crack at conquering the mission that beat them last time out. The Golden Mile consists of twelve pubs, a crawl of such, whereby a pint of beer is sunk in each with the aspiration of making last stop The World’s End still intact and vertically postured. Gary hasn’t let go of the disappointment on never having finished the pilgrimage and lives in hope of crossing it from his one-dream bucket list.
What he hasn’t banked on is that things have changed considerably since the last time he attempted this lofty challenge. At first glance it would appear nothing has augmented although the personnel no longer share Gary’s zest for drinking himself into oblivion and the bearing of their cross is informed purely by pity. Is isn’t long, however, before it is made somewhat transparent that all is not as it appears in the village of Newton Haven and each in turn undertakes their own journey as they stumble from notch to notch. Within half an hour we are entering what appears to be familiar clinical territory and we buckle ourselves in for the ride. But the game has changed more than is observable on primary introduction and we may be left with a little more mind nourishment than we were expectant of.
Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have undertaken their own journey through an enigma now regarded as the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy. Before even that, there was the glorious Spaced which ran two regrettably fleeting seasons and grasped the nation’s hearts in the process. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz need no formal introduction I’m sure as they traveled well and gained recognition from all quarters. Shaun came first and sideswiped the industry with its amalgamation of zombie horror and situation comedy proving hugely prosperous. Fuzz was less well received but still turned the heads and is regarded by many as a far darker horse than it appeared back in the paddock. Personally, whilst wholly competent, I’m of the opinion that their second flavor didn’t have the same tight tang as its forebear and consequent reappraisal has shed little new light on this opinion. The World’s End demands second viewing and I trust that its place in the annals will be more comfortable in the long run.
Pegg and Frost are like peas and carrots, their shit is oiled and all sparks are systematic. This time they’re joined by the right honorable Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan and this is where The World’s End gains its dynamic. The five are all well-drawn, all relevant, all journeymen and no filler. Moreover, Wright and Pegg’s savvy script offers plentiful gristle giving an extra dimension which isn’t necessarily apparent as you await the next pratfall and pay it no mind. Herein lies the strength boys and girls. These are capable hands and, more critically, loving giving minds which refuse to stagnate and actually have a little to say.
Their observations on corporate homogenization are legitimate, the concept of homesteads gradually being relieved of any individuality is one which affects most of us and the metaphor is there for the taking. The threat is more intelligent and benign than we anticipate and all fruits are bared in a respectful and hopeful manner, providing a bleak vision but one which comes with its own numerous merits. Regardless of any adjacent running narrative, it is a no-brainer that we are going to be graced with well-staged action and plenty of it. The magnificent Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a beacon of light which shows just how bright Wright’s illuminations can be and the fight scenes here perfectly exhibit his aptitude for visual skirmish.
As for the audio, I can attest to their fingers being absolutely on the pulse of the UK indie dance scene at the turn of the nineties. The Sisters of Mercy, The Charlatans, Stone Roses, Silver Bullet, Mark Summers, Soul II Soul, MC Tunes vs 808 State, Blur, Pulp, Primal Scream; all are present and correct while Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) by The Doors is beautifully implemented also. It’s a love letter at its heart and it’s apparent that this is a considerable labor of love by all involved. Performances are universally strong from all five men and Rosamund Pike’s Sam gives a dusting of feminism which counter-balances things perfectly whilst not draining the testosterone. Considine, in particular, could read a take away menu and I’d be fascinated and is as marvelous as ever as Steven.
The final act may well divide opinion but I was genuinely impressed by the revelations of the last bell and left a more than satisfied customer. Having watched Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s This is the End and finding myself thoroughly smitten with it on repeat viewing, the omens bode well for The World’s End. They are similar on one hand but entirely different on the other and, while I would admit to re-watching This is the End more freely, the gap isn’t as wide as it seemed when the film first unspooled. Given time this film will mature unlike Gary King who is still on habitual cycle, his dallying dreamer has enough density to carry us through the Golden Mile when our legs are weary and there is enough of us in him and him us, to keep us wholly invested. I, for one, will take this pilgrimage to its bitter end.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 8/10
Blue Factor: 3/5
For the Blue-Guzzlers: That’s right kiddiwinks, the splatter is ultramarine. Allow yourself to become immune to any disparagement and you will be in for one hell of a bluetenanny. It’s all so masterfully realized that it shouldn’t matter a jot. Certain scenes are reminiscent of the bar room brawl of Westerns passed but with a fresh lick of technology which is stunningly rendered. Heads smashing into urinals, limbs being plucked and re-attached, heads obliterated and gushing blue geysers are your prizes for partaking in The Golden Mile.
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
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