“The World’s End” has finally expanded to screens at both of Roanoke’s mall cinemas and movie lovers should jump on these added viewing opportunities. This rowdy yet contemplative sci-fi comedy-drama is a must-see end of summer delight. It makes a trilogy for writer-director Edgar Wright, co-writer and star Simon Pegg and co-star Nick Frost following their 2004 horror-comedy “Shaun of the Dead” and 2007’s epic action-comedy “Hot Fuzz.” While the three have no returning narrative or characters, they all mix insightful social commentary with comedy and horrific evil within their own unique take on a specific genre. And “The World’s End” is their best work yet.
In role reversals from the previous films, Pegg hilariously takes on the scruffy wastrel character as Gary King and Frost cleans up nicely to embody the straight arrow Andy Knightley. A now middle-aged nonconformist, Gary seeks to reunite with his four boyhood pals and attempt an epic twelve pub crawl they fell short of 23 years earlier. Andy, sixteen years a teetotaler and a responsible businessman, reluctantly agrees and they head off with mates Oliver, Steven, and Peter (Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan). The sparkling Rosamund Pike also joins them as Oliver’s sister and Gary and Steven’s old flame Sam. They carouse and fight old demons until they unexpectedly encounter their own version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and begin fighting for humanity.
Rapid fire dialogue, surprisingly serious moments, a shocking fight sequence and flat out funny comedy are hallmarks of this brilliantly conceived entertainment. “The World’s End” really delivers two movies in one. What begins as a truthful yet humorous look at coming to terms with middle age turns into a scary yet hilarious battle against extraterrestrial “nobots” or “blanks.” Yet the two merge beautifully with characters so well drawn and portrayed that the movie remains engrossing and believable from start to finish no matter how wild the action becomes. Move over “The Hangover.” There’s a new wolf pack in town that you definitely want to spend time with in one of the year’s best.