The World's End at Hoyts Chatswood Westfield

Rather darker than I expected.

I really like Hot Fuzz, but don’t much care for Shaun of the Dead. This is because I enjoy – or at least am familiar with the conventions of – both action cop films and cosy village mysteries, but neither zombie films nor slacker comedies do much for me. So, given that I’m not hugely into either laddish pub crawls, or alien invasions of this particular type, I didn’t have huge hopes for the third film in the ‘Fire and Ice Cream’ series,  The World’s End.

But it actually confounded my expectations somewhat.

Their previous films have always subverted the genres, but mostly to comic effect – largely, but not entirely, arising from the incongruous combination of two different tropes. In this case, however, the ‘lads go on a pub crawl’ (which, of course, is likely to be fairly comic anyway – just as the slacker elements in Shaun of the Dead were) obviously gained additional humour from being combined with an alien invasion, but it was also given a much darker side that I really didn’t expect. This was mostly to do with the character of Gary (Simon Pegg). I won’t go into details because SPOILERS, but suffice it to say, at the start I found him a thoroughly repellent and unsympathetic character, but as the film progressed and we learned more about him … well, I didn’t find him a sympathetic character, and I still loathed him, but I did feel sorry for him.

Maybe it’s just that my expectations were a bit limited. I had pigeonholed this aspect of the film as being in the Hangover style (a film series I haven’t actually watched …), and I do feel that this was how it was marketed, but perhaps it was actually drawing on a darker, more character driven, film tradition. Although that would be quite atypical of the rest of the series, since they have tended to draw from action or comedy genres.

I was also slightly taken aback by the ending. It was quite in keeping with some incarnations of the alien invasion genre … but I had been expecting a different kind of conclusion (in line with the other main alien invasion tradition).

This film didn’t seem to be as clever as its two predecessors. It was also less funny (and I think I can say this objectively, and not just as a statement of personal preference). But it did go in some interesting directions, that I hadn’t anticipated.

Favourite moment (comedy)

Gary: Oh fuck off, you big lamp!

Favourite moment (serious)

I actually found some of Gary’s and Nick’s more serious set-piece speeches, about what has gone wrong with their lives, quite moving.

Bechdal test

Fail. Sam is the only significant named female character. She does have a scene with ‘the twins’, but they don’t have actual names (or individual characters, since they speak in unison). There are three other female characters who appear briefly, and I think may be given names, but they don’t speak to each other … and the fact that they may have individual names is very much offset by the fact that they are mostly referred to by the objectifying collective noun ‘marmalade sandwich’.