Until 2004 the combination of blood and ice only ever appealed to a vampire at a cocktail bar. However, in that year another member of the undead helped to make that particular combination popular all thanks to a little movie called Shaun of the Dead. Oh and there was some little help from a Cornetto, of course.
Now, nine years later the Blood and Ice Trilogy, one of the many nicknames this series of films has been given over the years, comes to a comedy filled end with The World’s End
The story is a simple one, a gang of high school friends are dragged back to the town they grew up to finish a pub crawl they failed to completed on their final day of school while an alien invasion goes on around them.
The school friends are led by man-child Gary King played by Simon Pegg, the co-writer of the movie and one of the most annoying characters ever to hit the silver screen. Luckily series regular Nick Frost, refreshingly playing against type as teetotaler Andy, is there to point this out at every opportunity.
The rest of the old school friends are made up of Martin Freeman’s Oliver, Eddie Marsan’s Peter and Paddy Constintine’s Steven. Each member of the crawl is given a fully fleshed out character and their own moment in the movie. The most moving belongs to Marsan whose storyline about meeting the man who use to bully him at school is both very moving and laugh out loud funny. A tree branch has not been used to such comic effect since Basil Fawlty got a bit frustrated with his car.
This isn’t the only moment of pathos in a movie that has a lot to say about nostalgia of your school days and revisiting the past. This works so successful that by the end of the film you start feeling sorry for Gary King and understand many of the reasons behind his actions.
Sadly, the film does have a few problems. The first is that it doesn’t feel as layered as previous entries in the trilogy. For example the twelve pubs that the characters visit all feel the same. Now this could be a comment on how all modern pubs are basically the same whether you are drinking in The Diamond in Derry or Archibald Simpsons in Aberdeen however, I think it is more that the film doesn’t have time to flesh out its locations. Yet, a caveat is needed at this point. I felt a similar thing could be said about Hot Fuzz, the middle part of the trilogy, first time I saw it. Yet, thanks to the quality of Pegg’s and Wright’s writing, the movie gets better with every re-watch and I hope World’s End is the same.
One thing that wouldn’t change is the decision, part way through the movie for Andy to start drinking again after being attacked by alien Ken-dolls filled with blue blood. The decision feels lazy and would have been stronger if Andy had stuck to the water throughout. At least that would have explained how he could still walk by the time he reached the last pub, unlike the rest of the characters.
Overall The World’s End is a great end to a great comic trilogy so grab a mint Cornetto and watch one of the funniest movies of about the apocalypse you will see.