Follow @DuelingChaps








The World's End
Release Date: Aug. 23, 2013
Reviewed: Aug. 28, 2013, 2:10 a.m.
The World's End image Cover your hydrangeas. Frost warning in effect.
Get Lasik.
Offer me alternatives, and I decline.
By: Christian Treubig
The World's End image
“drunk guy” = best Google Image search ever

As you can tell by this site’s domain name and favicon, the Dueling Chaps love all things British (other than the land, food, and people), and don’t acknowledge the supposed independence that America bestowed upon itself in 1776 (we both pay tea taxes and eagerly quarter British troops in our bedrooms). As honorary Brits, we have obviously been hotly anticipating the latest installment from the Anglo-triumvirate of Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright, The World’s End. This cinematic ode to good brews, good friends, and good times was sure to be the event of the summer, and we would pre-game appropriately. The morning of The World’s End premiere, I cleaned out my step-aunt’s basement to make way for the scores of Dueling Chaps fans set to join us for the pre-theater party. Dueling Chap Steve dollied in two kegs of Newkie Brown around noontime, and we waited for the inevitable rush of revelers.

No one showed up. This left the chaps quite a bit of time to consume copious amounts of Northumberland’s finest spirit while engaging in drunken small talk that of course deteriorated into yet another heated Kate vs. Pippa debate (sorry, but I prefer class over ass). When things cooled off, we mutually concluded that blame for the party’s sparse attendance likely lies with some combination of me and my personality, so I agreed to cover our cab fare to the cinaplex.

If you’ve seen any of the grainy YouTube video titled “Dueling Chumps”, then you know of our less than gentlemanly behavior once we arrived there. Both chaps were blacked out, and it’s a miracle we even made it to our seats to view the film and cobble together a review. After using three ten dollar bills to purchase our tickets totaling $14.50, Steve immediately forgot the existential purpose of a movie theater, and went to sleep on top of the kiosk counter. Meanwhile, I was leaning against the concessions cash register, sporting a cocky smile with my arms folded and one leg crossed in front of the other, making baller comments to the patrons like “You gonna have any popcorn with that butter?”, then laughing hysterically.

That laughter carried on as we stumbled down the theater aisle and The World’s End commenced. If you’ve seen the first two films in the Pegg/Frost/Wright pseudo-trilogy, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, then you know what to expect here. (If you haven’t seen those films, then you should probably leave this site for something more suited to your comedic tastes.) It’s a spectacular display of economical filmmaking, such that it will spoil you for nearly every other movie you watch. You’ll no longer be able to tolerate a 2.5 second shot of a character walking from one side of a room to another, with nothing consequential happening in that brief timeframe. The usual screenplay dead spots where characters carry out mundane actions just to get to the next plot point are nonexistent here. Instead, they are circumvented with ninja-esque direction and sniper-precise editing that is in itself funny, plus never leaves one at a loss for what’s going on.

Also like SOTD and Hot Fuzz, The World’s End has very few moments that are knee-slappingly funny. This is not a criticism, but rather a trait of the unique brand of humor on display here. It combines obvious/corny jokes with absurdly cartoonish and loveable characters, and puts the onus on the viewer to buy what they’re selling, which you’ll find impossible not to. Moreover, as discussed, they don’t have time to dwell on their best material; there’s no opportunistic pauses ostensibly designed for the audience to insert their laugh track. They need to get on to the next joke, and it’s on you to keep up.

Though this is hardly saying much, in the SOTD/Hot Fuzz/World’s End trilogy, the latter entry is probably the weakest. In SOTD and Hot Fuzz, you were never unclear on the motivations of the protagonists, as the circumstances they encountered, regardless of the absurdity (i.e. a zombie invasion or hyper-violent rural townsfolk), were presented with such crisp matter-of-factness that you were never distracted from just enjoying the characters. This is not the case in The World’s End, where we follow Pegg, Frost, the Die Another Day Bond girl, and three other charming English blokes as they attempt to cope with an apparent robot/alien invasion that breaks out in the middle of a pub crawl. The move would be just to leave town, right? That’s not interesting though, so they reason that it’s better just to stay the course to avoid looking like they’re onto the robots. It’s actually so far, so good at this stage, as this absurd reasoning isn’t unexpected from these simpleton characters. However, when shyte really hits the fan and things get violently out of control, the purpose of the characters' actions starts to become ambiguous.

Though not apparent until this latest film, the SOTD/Hot Fuzz/World’s End trilogy has a very clear theme running through them: the rejection of conformity. In SOTD, Pegg and Frost were threatened with transformation into mindless zombies, and fought them off with cricket bats. In Hot Fuzz, the duo employed M-16s to mow down village dwellers guarding their master-planned community to the death. And now, in The World’s End, they fight off enslavement by hive-minded robots with brilliant hand-to-hand combat that rivals the best close-quarters action sequences ever produced by Hollywood. In real life, Pegg, Frost, and director Edgar Wright have practiced the “do your own thing” philosophy in its best possible light, creating movies with cores that are nothing more than fun little concepts firstly intended for their own amusement, but executed with such spectacular originality, joy, and professionalism so that the rest of us can’t help but be drawn into their fantastic worlds.

There’s dialogue throughout The World’s End concerning the characters now being “old guys”, perhaps hinting at an end to Pegg/Frost/Wright collaboration. If this does indeed become the case, no hard feelings here, as they have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to cinematic culture. Well done.

SCORE (Out of 10):
Get Lasik.
Simon says: Stop watching VMA re-runs and go see this movie!
By: Steve Loori
The World's End image
These are the chaps, eagerly awaiting the film.

Let me start by saying that I absolutely loved Hot Fuzz. The whole British comedy thing really does it for the chaps when it is done properly. It sparked me to re-watch Shaun of the Dead, which was better upon a second viewing, and to enjoy Paul a whole lot. I thought Simon Pegg was great in both Star Trek movies. My fellow chap and I have even gone back and checked out the earliest major collaboration between actor/writer Simon Pegg and writer/director Edgar Wright, the late-nineties television show Spaced. We like Simon Pegg. There is really no reason not to. Based upon the trailer, it was clear that The World’s End was going to keep up Pegg’s good name, as it appeared to be another strong comedy to pad his résumé. But the question moved away from if The World’s End would be any good and avalanched into how good The World’s End would be. As the movie blossomed, it became less of a comedy and more of a warning that could resonate with every group of friends as their teeth started to get longer and the friendships changed along with the people taking part in it. The World’s End became an interesting look at time itself with jokes cushioning a harsh storyline. So once again, how good was The World’s End? Well, not as good as it could have been.

The World’s End started out with a tale of five friends finishing up secondary school in smalltown England and having a ball on graduation night by attempting to complete “The Golden Mile”, a walking pub crawl that takes you through twelve different pubs on a mile loop and concludes at a pub called “The World’s End”. All of the commercials and promotional materials for the movie did a good job of explaining this plot, so there was no shock there. What was not explained in the trailers was that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would be switching their traditional roles in the film, where Pegg’s character Gary King was the screw-up and Frost’s character Andy Knightley seemingly had his life completely in order. Yes, all of the primary characters had names that reference imperial British hierarchal status. In addition to the king and knight, the gang also included Peter Page, Stevie Prince, and Oliver Chamberlain. It was a clever way to show the pecking order of the group, as Gary often proclaimed that he was “the King”. They had failed at “The Golden Mile” as youths, and Gary decided that there was no better time than the present (twenty-three years after graduation) to pick back up. This provided the basis for the movie, initially, as five men in their early forties decided to go get at it like they were kids again.

From the moment he began speaking with his old pals, it was clear that everyone in the group had grown tired of Gary’s crap and that he and Andy had some sort of falling out. The issue between the friends was briefly explained late in The World’s End, but with a certainty that assured the viewer of the solemnity regarding that broken bond. Gary King is a character that can easily be related to by those who see the movie. Nearly everyone has or has had at least one friend who is a complete jerk, but convinces people to do whatever crazy idea he has and is able to smooth talk his way out of trouble. Less than Jake even have a song about it. We cannot help but be enticed by the magnetic charisma of these individuals, to the point of uncontrollable frustration through both foresight and hindsight, and yet the antic-fueled situations are bound to inevitably repeat themselves. The World’s End contained a story telling what happens when that jerk we all love to hate and hate to love grows up and alienates himself from his friends and family. And in the backdrop, robots (or something incredibly similar) had taken over Gary King’s hometown.

The casting of The World’s End was pretty solid, while maintaining a lot of the Edgar Wright standards. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were necessities, of course, and they played their characters very well. This was especially interesting because, as I said earlier, they were not playing their ordinary character types. Pegg’s character Gary King progressed a lot through the movie, and notably did not progress when you expected him to, adding to his charm and humor. Nick Frost’s Andy progressed a bit, and was a driving force emotionally. While you might be frustrated with King, Andy provided relatability, as he was settled into a career and was finished with the boyish fantasies of his contrasting friend Gary King. The group also contained accomplished British actor Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit movies, lead role in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Watson on the BBC’s Sherlock) who played the Bluetooth ear-piece clad Chamberlain, or O-man as he was commonly known throughout the film. O-man was integral to the story’s development, but did not have a very strong character. The less accomplished British actor Paddy Considine played Stevie Prince, who was slightly whiny but someone you will root for. Stealing the show in a supporting way though was Eddie Marsan as Peter Page, who is excellent as a giggly sidekick who even has a very emotional scene about bullying mid-movie. You may recognize Marsan as the Parkinson’s Diseased brother Terry Donovan on the Showtime series Ray Donovan. I cannot decide if his role on Ray Donovan is more impressive based on his role in The World’s End or vice versa, but either is a testament to his acting skill and brilliant range. In addition to the main troop of comrades, Pierce Brosnan has a very small role which is pretty sweet, because he’s Pierce Brosnan.

As the storyline of The World’s End developed, it became less of a comedy and more of a post-experience life lesson with jokes sprinkled on top. When a funny movie turns serious though, the jokes become more spaced out. At this point, the jokes need to be top class since there are fewer spots. Unfortunately, most of the memorable humor from The World’s End came early in the movie. There were many lines that seemed to have been clutched straight from real life Pegg and Wright jokes (“take a look at the town in its natural colors boys because tonight we’re gonna paint it red”, Dr. Ink, etc…), but they were all spouted early on. As the movie continued forward, the characters got drunk since they were partaking in a pub crawl. The British accents got thicker and some lines were missed in the New World (most of it was audible though, I mean, it’s not Trainspotting or anything…). Meanwhile, the characters were very drunk at points and able to have rational discussions at other points. It became confusing and somewhat exasperating, but still enjoyable at points.

The last third or so of The World’s End is where the film fell from great to good. It’s no Hot Fuzz, that’s for sure. But if you enjoyed Hot Fuzz, then you should definitely see The World’s End as soon as possible. And if you did not see Hot Fuzz, stop being a fool and get it done. I would put The World’s End level with Paul, just behind Shaun of the Dead, and obviously well behind Hot Fuzz. Wow, I wasn’t kidding, I guess I really did enjoy Hot Fuzz.

SCORE (Out of 10):