The Cornetto Trilogy (aka “Three Flavours Trilogy”) is a cinematic delight in every sense of the word, and its status as such was solidified with the third and final entry in the loosely connected trio of films, The World’s End. Much more than simply riffs on the horror, action, and sci-fi genres respectively, writer/director Edgar Wright, co-writer/star Simon Pegg, and star Nick Frost have crafted three masterworks of structure that are as entertaining as they are emotionally satisfying. Following Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, The World’s End may be the toughest and most mature work of the three, capping off the trilogy with a pair of career best performances by Pegg and Frost and wonderfully innovative visual storytelling courtesy of Wright. Read my full review of The World’s End on Blu-ray after the jump.
As with the previous two entries in the Cornetto Trilogy, The World’s End deals with themes of friendship and stunted adulthood, this time revolving around a group of childhood friends who reluctantly reunite and re-attempt a bar crawl from their teen years in order to appease their troubled leader Gary King. What begins as a return visit to their hometown soon devolves into disaster, as they realize mid-bar crawl that their town—and everyone in it—is completely different.
Pegg turns in an absolutely brilliant performance as the alcoholic and more-than-slightly dickish Gary King, who for all intents and purposes is both the protagonist and villain for a good deal film’s runtime. Pegg’s nuanced portrayal hides a layer of insecurity and sadness beneath Gary’s manic exterior, and it’s a testament to the actor’s superb comic ability that the audience is still rooting for the guy when he’s so obviously making every other character’s life miserable. You believe that Gary King is intensely troubled, but you also believe that his companions would still follow him to the end of the earth (or world, as it so happens).
Frost also marks a career-best performance here, and his Andy Knightley gives the actor a chance to show more range than his characters in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. He’s the straight man to Gary’s wildcard, eventually turning into a force of nature himself. Again there’s more nuance here, and a reveal late in the film explains a lot about Knightley’s character and illuminates the subtlety of Frost’s performance. Additionally, the ensemble assembled onscreen works wonderfully together, and Eddie Marsan nearly steals the entire movie with his hilarious portrayal of Peter Page.
As for Wright, his experience with the effects-heavy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World pays off in spades, and he once again proves that he’s one of the most exciting (and talented) filmmakers working today. His shot compositions are brilliant and every single blockbuster filmmaker would do well to study the way he stages this film’s fight sequences; they’re not only enthralling, but also character-specific. During a bathroom brawl early in the film, the camera seamlessly flows from one character to another, and we almost learn more about each character by the way they approach the fight than through exposition. Wright’s visual flairs are wildly impressive, yes, but they’re all also in service to the story. Nothing is done simply “because it looks cool.”
On first watch, The World’s End is a tad befuddling to some fans of the previous two films. The script’s structure follows a different path than Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and Wright and Pegg take the story to an unexpected conclusion that on the surface would appear to contradict the central theme of stubbornly clinging to one’s youth. However, the film sticks to one’s brain like a gummy bear to a park bench on a hot summer day, and the more it ruminates, the more it all makes perfect sense. This is a difficult film and Wright and Pegg don’t spoon feed the audience all of the answers.
Subsequent viewings are unsurprisingly rewarding, as it becomes clear that Wright and Pegg have stealthily layered the path to the film’s third act throughout the entire film. The movie simply gets better with each viewing; The World’s End is the opposite of disposable entertainment, it’s permanent entertainment.
Cinematographer Bill Pope’s gorgeous photography (shot on film, I might add) is expertly captured in this 1080p transfer, and the swell sound design and Steven Price’s pounding score excel in the 5.1 audio track.
No expense was spared in the bonus features on this Blu-ray, as Wright and Co. have covered nearly every single angle of the film’s production. The disc includes the film on Blu-ray, DVD, and a digital copy downloadable through iTunes or UltraViolet. Marvel at the bountiful extras below:
- Audio Commentaries – Three separate tracks, a Feature Commentary with Wright and Pegg, a Technical Commentary with Wright and Pope, and a Cast Commentary with Pegg, Frost, and Paddy Considine. Fans looking for the inside track on the entire production will most likely benefit most from the Feature Commentary, which is chock-full of fascinating trivia such as what all the bar names mean and which Marvel superhero actor is a fan of coaxing Wright into doing shots. The other two tracks are also well worth listening to, as they’re both entertaining and illuminating.
- Completing the Golden Mile: The Making of The World’s End – A 48-minute featurette covering the making of the film in glorious detail. Some of this material is also covered in the Feature Commentary, but it’s nice to see the cast and crew discuss how the film came together and Wright’s signature filmmaking style.
- Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of The World’s End – A fascinating half-hour documentary focusing on the pic’s many stunts and the seamless blend of practical and visual effects.
- Edgar & Simon’s Flip Chart – One of the highlights of the disc. Wright and Pegg take viewers through the flip chart they made early on in the development process that breaks the film down by characters, acts, etc. It’s an interesting look into how closely the final version of the film resembles their initial idea.
- Signs & Omens – A narration-less featurette pointing out the many harbingers and foreshadowing points layered throughout the film, including the numbers located in each bar.
- VFX Breakdown – A second, shorter featurette covering the film’s effects.
- Pegg + Frost = Fried Gold – A short featurette focusing on the relationship between Pegg and Frost.
- Director at Work – Another short featurette focusing on Edgar Wright and his filmmaking style.
- Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy – A featurette explaining the Cornetto Trilogy and what connects all three films.
- Deleted Scene – The only deleted scene from the film, which runs one minute in length.
- Alternate Edits – A series of alternate takes from the film, totaling 5 minutes.
- Outtakes – 11 minutes of highly entertaining goofs. That Martin Freeman sure likes to make faces.
- Bits and Pieces – A short collection of alternate takes and shots.
- Animatics – Animatics for two scenes from the film, totaling 11 minutes.
- Hair and Make-Up Tests – Pretty self-explanatory. Early tests to find the look for each character.
- Rehearsal Footage – Six minutes of footage from the rehearsal period with the cast.
- Stunt Tapes – A look at three of the stunt-heavy sequences.
- There’s Only One Gary King: Osymyso’s Inibri-8 Megamix – A five-minute remix montage.
- TV Safe Version – Four minutes of the film with TV-safe dialogue. Always amusing.
The World’s End is a perfect capper to the Cornetto Trilogy that has an incredibly high rewatchability factor. At once entertaining, moving, and thought-provoking, the film is undoubtedtly one of the best that 2013 has to offer. Pegg, Frost, and Wright are all at the top of their game, and the film’s absolutely packed bonus features section on the Blu-ray makes this disc more than worthy of your hard-earned cash.
*A quick note: If you are thinking about buying the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy box set, you should know that the only bonus features included on the box set that aren’t on the individual Blu-ray releases are interactive screenplays for all three films. So if you already own Shaun and Hot Fuzz on Blu-ray, you won’t be missing out on anything major by just springing for the individual World’s End disc. If you don’t own the first two films, the box set is the best way to go.