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Sunday, 25 August 2013 13:23

'The World's End' is not half-bad; also not half-good

'The World's End' is not half-bad; also not half-good
Written by Martha K. Baker
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"The World's End" is not half-bad. The Britcom part, that is, the first half, is hilariously funny with lines a-poppin' all over the place. Then the zombies appear, and the lines fade to loud violence. If you like zombies, you'll like the second half of this film.

 If you don't like zombies, you might as well leave after the first half because the second half is bloody ripe with the little beasts.

Anyone who hiccuped with joy over the first two films in the so-called Cornetto series, "Hot Fuzz" and "Shaun of the Dead," knows what to expect. The writers and directors, old-time friends and cohorts -- Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Nick Frost -- reconvene for "The World's End." And it's boys' night out in Newton Haven, their hometown and home of the first roundabout. The boys have "a date with amber." One night, five guys, 12 pubs. They're going to see it through to the bitter end -- or the lager end. Pick your poison.

The first moments of the third movie of the trilogy are taken up with introducing the pod of pals. The leader is Gary King, who makes many a pun on his surname and who is never ever wrong and who does not see that trait as a problem. The followers -- with varying degrees of hesitancy -- are Andy, Steven, Peter and Oliver. They were close-knit as teens, suds-sodden troublemakers, young men hellbent on making a pub crawl memorable. The only thing is that they made it to 11 pubs in town except the last one, portentously named The World's End.

Here they are at 40 on June 22, 1990, all grown up or refusing to be. They are, once again, drawn together by Gary King's royal commandment that they must crawl from pub to pub. Along the way, however, things start to be more worrisome than their being too old for such shenanigans. Some of these bars start to look an awful lot alike as if, says one, "they've been Starbucked!" Also, some of the other pub crawlers are not as whimsical as our lads, who are not too busy sucking suds to notice zombie oddities.

Simon Pegg is acute as Gary King -- although King's teeth should be in worse shape after the life he's led. Nick Frost is funny as Andy. Martin Freeman, known for his work as a Hobbit, is delightful as buttoned-down Oliver. Paddy Considine is appropriately woebegone as Steve. And Eddie Marsden is a sly fox as Peter Page. Rosamund Pike plays one of the only woman about Newton Haven, a tomboy named Sam.

While everyone's having a jolly good time, the film descends into zombie hell. Like it or not.

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