29 July 2013

Something Bloody Spectacular

I think one of my favourite nights out was for a friends twenty-second birthday. Although it started out civilised, after only a few hours of pleasant chatter it quickly took a turn when the alcohol set in. By the end of the evening, we'd stuck one paralytic mate into a taxi to God knows where and another had been abducted by scousers who thought he was the reincarnation of John Lennon. Oh, and then some stupid little bitch accused us of attempted rape which was slightly annoying. Beyond the fact that we didn't know who the fuck she was, the closest any of us had gotten to anything resembling sex that night was when me and a chum had slashed up against the same bin. Still, it was all good fun and has only been rivalled by nights spent drinking at festivals at which you wander round wankered for hours, talking to strangers and getting into mischief. One night at Sonisphere, we found an alcoholic tramp with a guitar and so sat with him for a few minutes as he peacefully played for us his sweetly somber hobo melodies. Then security found him and dragged him away as he kicked, screamed and spat. Also, he reeked of piss. As genuinely enjoyable as all these incidents were though, I thankfully would not say that any were the highlight of my life.

Sadly, this is not the case for Gary King in The World's End which is the latest movie from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. Following on from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, this is the final entry in their “Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy”, which this time focuses on one man's efforts to relive the best night of his life. Gary is essentially the man that time forgot and as his friends have progressed with their lives, he has been significantly left behind. Now almost in his forties, he pines for the days of his youth and so has decided to trick his friends into trying a second attempt at a failed teenage pub crawl. As is often the case though, the best laid plans go slightly tits up and Gary's night is no exception. What starts off as a casual drinks binge in which five friends re-bond (and one teeters on the edge of a mental breakdown), quickly takes a turn when they discover that aliens have taken over the village and replaced everybody with robots. Imagine Withnail and I crossed with The Stepford Wives and you're kind of on the right track.

Green mist is always a sign of a good night out.
Punctuality, for me, is a very big thing and I've lost count of the amount of crippling stomach ulcers that have formed as a result of being forced to wait around. Hot Fuzz was released in 2007 meaning that The World's End has taken six years to reach the big screen and, being a massive timekeeping-nazi, it's a wonder how I haven't torn off my nipples with impatience by now. Having said that however, I guess I can't be too mad as firstly this delay resulted in the release of the incredible Scott Pilgrim Versus The World and secondly, The World's End is fucking brilliant! Currently, I've only seen it once and as their previous works have proven, these films only get better with repeat viewings. They're sort of like the opposite to porn in that respect, I guess. As it is though, this is an epic love letter to the British 'pub' that really prides itself on our decadence and casual, 'fuck you', attitude. If any nation can get so drunk and stubborn that it has the balls to stand up to an alien race then I'd like to think it was this one. At this point, I think my favourite of the three films is still Shaun of the Dead but as far as I'm concerned, this was still a massive success. As a passionate hater of anything schmaltzy, I'm always going to love any film in which the most affectionate line of a romantic subplot is, “we'll always have the disableds”.

As mentioned, I need to see this film again to completely unlock all of it's wonders. But as it stands I suppose I'd have to say that the intro is a little on the long side. Gary's attempt at recruiting his mates is vital in terms of introducing us to them but you can't help but wish they'd just crack on and begin their adventure. Although, that really is only a minor criticism as Wright's kinetic direction easily holds attention and the jokes fly so fast that there's not a minute that goes by in which something funny isn't said or done. The other thing most people have slagged it off for is in how irritating Simon Pegg's Gary King tends to come across. However personally, he didn't annoy me in the slightest, in fact from the moment he started speaking I felt nothing but pity for him. Like The Office's David Brent, Gary is a man who only wants to be liked and accidentally comes across as a dick by overcompensating. There's no maliciousness to his actions, instead it's just that his desperation for happiness tends to blind him to the feelings of those around him. Gary is a smart-arsed manchild who has an answer for everything and hates how shite life is. It's hard to find a character annoying when you can relate to him with such a depressing amount of ease. They say that your school days are the best days of your life which would be fucking grim if it was true... sadly, for Gary, they were, and it is.

This look of panic is how I enter most rooms.
So, as mentioned Shaun, Fuzz and now World's End are jokingly referred to as “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy”. With the final entry having now been seen and loved, I guess we can sit down and have a little look at what ties them together. Well, cast and crew is an obvious start, as is the British setting and blatant obsession with the local pub. Each of them also take the extremes of various genre tropes and place them amongst the mundanity of suburban life. The thing that struck me strongly though is that each film depicts the public as appearing normal but acting strange. Whether they're zombies, members of a cult or even robots, the trilogy constantly highlights a paranoia that perhaps those we know are really against us. As a chap who has smoked the occasional weed and seen too many hidden camera shows, this suspicion of being watched is a constant worry to the point that I view the fucking Truman Show as a horror movie. What was surprising with The Worlds End though is how it also feels very linked to their geek-porn sitcom Spaced. The way the flashbacks are presented are very much like those of a young Tim and Mike and there's also a pissing scene which feels eerily familiar of an earlier one from the show. If there's one thing we should take from this it's that there's nothing like seeing a familiar face have a drunken slash against a urinal to feel that warm splash of nostalgia.

The World's End is not only a brilliant conclusion but also an amazing stand alone film in its own right. After Pacific Rim, it might only be my second favourite movie this year to feature robots but that's still pretty good considering how enjoyable Iron Man 3 also was. I'm sure there'll be normal non-geek people out there who might not love this film as much as I do, but for anybody who either gets the reference of this blog's title, refers to things as, “a slice of fried gold”, or has even checked to see if dogs can look up, then this film will be everything you'd hoped for. It also helps me that I have such contempt for humanity that my favourite type of movie involves fantasising about the details of our inevitable apocalypse. To be honest the idea that it could come about as a result of a pisshead with an attitude seems more justifiable and honest to me than either religion or politics. In Shaun of the Dead, the gang brutally murdered an old man by beating the shit out of him with pool cues. In less than ten years, these movies have evolved so much that we now have Nick Frost twatting the life out of an army of androids as he Hulks-out with some bar stools for makeshift fists. With progress like that we can only drool at the epicness of any future pub fights that this gang will be dreaming up in another decade's time. Like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz before it, The World's End is off the fucking chain!



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