I'll get this clear from the outset. I bloody love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. If I were starting life with a brochure of people to pick my mates from, they'd be top of my shopping list. I imagine I love Edgar Wright too, but for some reason I don't tend to make that association between him and the films so there we go.
Equally, I bloody loved Shaun of the Dead, Spaced, Hot Fuzz and Paul (told you I didn't make the Edgar Wright association), in all of their hilarious, often quite mental, glory. So I had high hopes for The Worlds End. How could they possibly get it wrong? It's basically a take on combining the best bits of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, ageing the characters to a sensible degree, and rocking on with the concept.
Which is why it sucked when I discovered that it had all gone a bit wrong really.
The first half of the film is reiterating the same point over and over again, Gary King (Pegg) has never grown up, lives in the past, and desperately wants to reclaim his long lost youth in some desperate final act of rebellion. All of his mates have grown up, become everything that every teenage boy swears they'll never be, are now basically annoyed with him, but decide to come along come along anyway. Now rinse and repeat that concept until we're a few pubs into the crawl that provides the crux of the setting.
The problem is, that while there are some genuinely hilarious moments, you spend the entire first half of the movie constantly expecting it to get going, and it never really does. The tragic life of Gary King is played up over and over again, to the point at which you start to wonder if there was really any point to any of the rest of the cast not called Nick Frost. So by the time the Alien Robots finally show up you're almost longing for a distraction. It does get better at that point, and it REALLY makes an effort to come across all Shaun of the Fuzz, but there's still something that's not quite there. You see, we've seen this film. I know I said at the outset that taking the best bits of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead could only ever be a good thing, and I stand by that. But what they've turned out at the end of it is really an exercise in taking the good bits, and making them quite, well, mediocre really.
The Robot vs Human fights scenes are brilliantly shot, but lack the charm of their SotD counterparts (something that can probably be explained by actually having a special effects budget on this one). While the 'all to perfect' town is so perfect that it completely lacks in any of the character that Sandford mustered in Hot Fuzz.
The final scenes get better, and get back to what we know they're capable of producing, but the very end of the film just seemed to me to show how cool a film they could have made, if they'd not wanted to do a very British pub crawl first.
A few people gave up and walked out on this when I was watching, and it's certainly not bad enough for that. Hell, it's worth a watch and I certainly don't regret giving it one. It's just a classic case of the whole not being as good as the sum of its parts.