This wickedly, wildly funny film revolves around five Englishmen, approaching forty, renewing their vow of imbibing or “pinting” in every pub in the small English town of their youth; there are twelve such establishments, “The World’s End” being the heralded finale.
Simon Pegg (with director, Edgar Wright) wrote and stars in this strange, haunting, testosterone-infused horror story; Mr. Pegg is hilarious as “Gary King”, the force behind the reunion. We have met the “Gary’s” of the world; living in the past, halcyon years of high school or college; constantly reminiscing, regaling captive audiences with exaggerated tales of their prowess on and off the field; the “pass” that won the football championship; sadly, listeners shrink, feeling only revulsion or pity; boys, lacking the viability of men.
But their childhood town of Newton has had a ghastly makeover; the blue-blooded residents are now living in perfect robotic harmony; a touch of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Peter’s Friends”; hangovers will be the least of their concerns, as their quest to “The World’s End” becomes nothing but massive travails, and otherworldly vicissitudes.
At times metaphorically bludgeoning: nothing is ever the same the second time around; by mid-life, acceptance is key, renewal, still within one’s grasp. Is an apocalypse the remedy for the bleakness of mankind’s miscalculations?
For all of its silliness, body parts reassembling themselves, boozing buddies bonding, felling grotesque inhabitants; lurking at its core is a warmth; the characters, with all their foibles, are genuinely likeable, good, and graced the film with heart and humor. Even “evil” escapes the formidable titillation prevalent in most scary movies.
You can go home, but never, ever, will you be twenty again so “grieve not, rather find, strength in what remains behind”.