Tag Archives: film critiques

The World’s End (2013) Dir. Edgar Wright

The World's End

And so the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy continues, first with Edgar Wright’s SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, and now finally THE WORLDS END.  The story is about 5 men in the town of New Haven, who in their youths went on the Golden Mile:  12 pubs for a pint of beer each in one night, but they never made it to the final pub, The World’s End.  Now 23 years later, Gary King (Simon Pegg) the leader of the group, wants to band his buddies together again to redo their pub excursion and finally make it to THE WORLDS END.  Only once they return they find a lot has changed about New Haven, one of them being an invasion of alien robots that have taken over citizens of the town.

The film is at times hysterically funny, and it’s interesting to watch as these guys aren’t exactly in the prime of their youth anymore.  It becomes more of a quest to succeed for Gary King, as that night 23 years ago was the greatest night of his life, and somehow he doesn’t think his life will ever be complete without being able to relive that night and reach the holy grail of bars.  His friends of course have all grown up, but, as Gary points out, they have become slaves to their adult lives, which is not to dissimilar to the robots that have taken over the town.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie was a fight in a bathroom at one of the pubs between Gary’s friends and 5 robots that looked like teenagers.  In terms of really great storytelling, the scene has a lot to say, considering these men are fighting with versions of themselves, the forms of blank empty teenagers.  Thankfully the sci-fi portion of the story is well woven into the grand scheme of the movie, and the men are forced to continue their journey to not alert any other robots, and pretend to be going about their business.

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My problem with the movie however was that I did find the robot story started to become long and extraneous after awhile, especially in the final moments where there is a tiresome amount of exposition trying to explain the purpose of the robots, why they had come and are doing what they’re doing.  And yet because of that, I felt more and more that I was starting to lose my investment in what started as a great hysterical ride between these five guys on their journey of the Golden Mile.  The robots add a lot of the extra fun to the movie, but the problem too was that once all the explanations started, the film stopped being funny.  It’s a hard thing as well, because my favorite of the three Edgar Wright films, HOT FUZZ, keeps the laughs brilliantly going, and not only is it funny, it gets even funnier and more outrageous as the movie goes along.  There is exposition in that film leading to the next step of what the characters are going to do to solve their problem, but that’s the thing:  it actually goes somewhere that makes the characters active and leads us into the brilliant final act.  THE WORLDS END actually ends the film on exposition, and it sucks the film dry by the time its over.  There’s no final note for it to land on to have everybody cheering.  It’s frustrating because the first and second act work so well, that by the time we get to the end the whole thing just kinda slumps.

That’s not to say THE WORLDS END is a bad movie at all.  Far from it.  It’s funny, and at times charming with its own human touch that made SHAUN and FUZZ work so well, it continues here with END.  It’s a little gutsy for them to do this, but I like the role reversal between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, making Frost the more serious minded one this time around and Pegg being the total jack-off.  Pegg is quite funny as Gary King, and it’s funny to watch Frost once he starts to lose himself into alcohol, having no choice because of the robot invasion.  For a good portion of the movie, the story holds itself together, with themes about getting older and breaking out of the servitude of society and finding your own freedom as an adult.  It plays on both extremes with Gary King who has no rules, and the rest of the pack who have been bogged down by the rules of society.  That all changes by the films end, and the surviving characters have their slates wiped clean, a new mission in life and a place to start over.  Of course, like I said, the ending would have worked better had the filmmakers continued our investment into the characters and allowed us to watch them find their way instead of having it just be explained to us.  It’s not the greatest way to tell a story.

THE WORLD’S END overall is a good time, and should be seen because it does carry the charm of the previous Edgar Wright films.  For such a crappy 2013 summer, this is one of the better films and a nice way to cap off the summer.

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) Dir. Stuart Baird

Star-Trek-Nemesis

I know they can’t all be winners, but it’s too bad Star Trek: Nemesis wound up being my least favorite of all the Star Trek films.  It might be a stretch to say its the worst Star Trek film, but for me it’s the most dark and depressing out of all them.  Patrick Stewart really shows his age here, as does the rest of the TNG crew.  The thing that disappointed me most out of this film was that Worf (my favorite TNG character) was completely useless.  Most of the cast members in fact blend into the background and aren’t terribly noticeable.  The big trio, Picard, Riker, and Data get all the best action scenes and story material, but everyone just seems old and tired.  I almost wish they had just left the series with Insurrection and let that be the end of it.  It wasn’t a great film, but it was far more enjoyable and lighthearted than this.

I’m going to keep this review short because there’s not a whole lot I want to discuss about this movie.  But it’s just a disappointment from the get go.  Even when we’re introduced to the crew at Riker and Troi’s wedding, the humor is off and a little hard to sit through.  Sadly, it’s the only light moment in the film.  The thing with Patrick Stewart showing his age also has an effect on his character.  He just seems out of touch with Picard in this film.  It’s supposed to be a jarring moment that he faces the cloned younger version of himself.  But he doesn’t seem to care that much, and his younger self from his perspective could probably use a good whipping to straighten him out.  Stewart as Picard just doesn’t seem like he’s all there, which is surprising because I’ve seen him put far more energy into performances after this film was released.  Michael Dorn as Worf has also noticeably slowed down and just doesn’t have his aggressive fighting energy that we’re so accustomed to.  I wish the script could have done more to play up their age a bit.

Data’s story is also a disappointment.  I know he’s a popular character, but I never really liked that all the attention was put on him, and that the feature films catered to him for bigger story lines.  This is where I wish these films had allowed themselves to focus on other characters.  If any character deserved a terrific death scene, it’s Worf, who has lived his whole life for battle.  To give him a powerful death scene and have him go down fighting would have been much more impactful (at least for me it would!)  I’m amazed that when Data is seeing Geordi for the last time, the two of them don’t speak.  I think Geordi knows Data is on a suicide mission.  To have him not react to his friend leaving or fighting to understand what he’s doing seems out of place.  I never cared for it.

The rest of the crew just sort of fades into the background.  Troi is given some extra stuff, such as a sexual “mind rape” scene.  But not enough is done to show this having a bigger impact on her.  None of the other characters are really given anything interesting to do.  It’s just a weak film.

Blah.  I don’t like this film.  It depresses me that TNG had to end on such a sour note.  I don’t even care for the visual effects.  I mentioned that I also found Star Trek: The Motion Picture to also be a disappointment, but the model work in that film is pure eye candy.  They did an incredible job.  Here with the advent of digital effects, everything being CG just takes away the craftsmanship and beauty of those models.

Okay, I’m done talking about this movie.  It’s bad.  If you’ve seen it once, I don’t think you need a reason to revisit it again.  What a waste.