Directed by Edgar Wright, and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, The World's End (2013) finalizes the so-called "Blood and Ice Cream" trilogy that began with Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). While the first two parts of the trilogy were greeted with a wide range of acceptance, The World's End seems to be under a bit of skepticism thus far. Perhaps that is because it develops at a slower pace, or maybe because it is somewhat predictable, but while it might be somewhat lacking in expected entertainment value, it does offer a cast of well designed characters and significant thematic content. It also features an enjoyable soundtrack, which includes The Doors, "Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)," perfectly worked into the film. Of course, what really makes the trilogy work as a whole is its ability to self-reference; for example, Simon Pegg's character, in every film, goes to leap over a fence and every time the fence falls over in the process.
The World's End focuses on five high school companions who reunite after more than 20 years to finish a bar crawl they were unable to complete at the end of their senior year. Gary King, an alcoholic junkie played by Simon Pegg, has never moved on with his life and feels that he must complete the bar crawl as a way to relinquish his seemingly happy past. He calls it the Golden Mile, and it consists of 12 pubs that stretch across a small town called Newton Haven.
The pubs in the movie were mostly recreated from real bars and other establishments, such as theaters and restaurants, in the location of Letchworth Garden City, where the bulk of shooting took place. You can read more about that on the trivia page for The World's End on the Internet Movie Database. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the pubs in the movie is that they basically tell the story of the movie before it has even began. Their names: The First Post, The Old Familiar, The Famous Cock, The Cross Hands, The Good Companions, The Trusty Servant, The Two-Headed Dog, The Mermaid, The Beehive, The King's Head, The Hole the Wall and The World's End. The use of foreshadowing in the film is incredible, as both the initial bar crawl as high schoolers and their second attempt as adults are essentially parallel to one another.
While The World's End may have not possessed the obvious elements of entertainment most audiences desire, it did contain plenty of thematic content that is satisfying for those who look a little bit closer at movies. Comedy worked well as the primary genre in the trilogy, but each film was mixed with a varying genre; horror for Shaun of the Dead, action for Hot Fuzz, and science-fiction for this. So, while each part is different in its own ways, it still finds ways to connect the trilogy through self-reference and tropes that appear throughout the series. This makes the body of work better as a whole at the same time, much like the late Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy (1993-1994). An odd comparison? Perhaps. But certainly one that this trio of filmmakers has proven themselves worthy of, thus far.