Review of The World’s End (2013)

Moving picture, 109 minutes

Seen in 2017.

One man brings his high-school buddies back together for a second attempt at a round of twelve pubs in their sleepy UK home town. By insisting on their right to make mistakes, these representatives of humanity convince a hidden interstellar civilization to abandon Earth, undoing the technological progress made since 1990 and plunging the world into chaos.

SF comedy. The craftsmanship and density of Shaun of the Dead (2004) in a comedy that is at once more realistic, more original and closer to serious science fiction. Almost everything Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009) does wrong, The World’s End does right, including the ultimate ambiguity of the alien menace. Still, there are a few details to spoil it, particularly brief moments of tonal dissonance from the aliens, whose near-total takeover of the town worsens the sense of disconnectedness and irrelevance I always get from a drama with hardly any incidental characters. This sense gets acute when all the remaining humans are present at the last pub and the synthetic versions of the main characters all miraculously escape the cataclysm. Clearly the aliens should have a better plan in place for dealing with newcomers, including shutting down some pubs since 1990 and revealing themselves to the public rather than letting mental patient Gary King decide for everyone. King is a fine character nonetheless.

References here: Varan-TV: Stories (2022).

moving picture Japanese production fiction