That was exactly my response to The World’s End, the third in the “Cornetto” trilogy of silly, hyper-violent cinematic spoofs starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. (The previous two were Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.) I’m not a huge fan of the other films in this loose series, though they’re diverting enough on a rainy day when nothing else is on. The World’s End, however, felt more slapdash and cobbled together, as if the script – which has something to do with robotic aliens taking over the world as a stuck-in-the-’80s loser attempts to make a final, epic pub crawl with his now-grown-up buddies – was devised on the fly over brewskis. Ultimately, there were a lot fewer laughs in this flick than I hoped for, despite a strong cast (Martin Freeman plays one of the pals) and what was probably an immense amount of money spent on blue, extraterrestrial blood.
Part of the reason why I’m not a “Cornetto” series fan is the insistence on frustratingly kinetic editing that typifies many of the “action” scenes. I realize this is all part of the idea – that this is spoofery and it’s all very lighthearted – but it makes for dull viewing when done over and over again. And though I feel that Hot Fuzz is the best of the lot, I think they all smack of missed opportunities, as if too many jokes fell by the wayside. If you’re going to spoof something, go all the way, à la Airplane! or Blazing Saddles. I’m not sure what the creators of The World’s End were thinking, but there were some semi-serious moments that didn’t really work in such a wild and woolly context.
Once again, I’m in the minority on this; the Cornetto trilogy is a popular one, and I seem to be, oftentimes, at odds with popular cinematic taste. I stand by my perspective on The World’s End, though, with the end result being that on the whole, I’d rather have an ice cream than watch this movie again.