Wednesday, 27 November 2013


If the end of the world was at your door, you could do far worse than spend the last night of your life with these two films. Of course, spending the night with Rihanna and Emma Watson would be a better option, but we're not all as lucky as Seth Rogen and friends. This is the End features one too many cock jokes but that's par for the course these days. It also features James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Michael Cera as themselves.

This is the End follows six friends trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles. As the world unravels outside, cabin fever threatens to tear apart the friendships (and I use that term loosely) inside. There is a fear that self-indulgence will rear its ugly head as the first act unfolds, but Rogen's script avoids the many pitfalls of self-parody and instead launches a tirade of quick-fire gags and laugh out loud moments.

With star cameos aplenty, fast-paced action sequences, ridiculous effects and Jonah Hill at his 'A-list' best, This is the End is one of the funniest - not to mention crudest - films you'll see all year. Some of the gags do outstay their welcome, and Danny McBride will always be the Marmite of American comedy, but Franco and friends are clearly having a whale of a time, so chances are you'll get swept along for the ride regardless. Besides, who doesn't love a film with the line, "Hermione just stole all of our shit".

The World's End is the final part of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, following on from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. For Gary King (Simon Pegg) and Andy Knightley (Nick Frost) it was supposed to be the ultimate reunion - one night, five friends, twelve bars. A boozy quest to 'The World's End' pub on which only the strongest will survive. Spaced fans will recognise a host of familiar faces, joined on their perilous quest by the likes of Pierce Brosnan, Paddy Considine and Rosamund Pike.

Shaun of the Dead took a bite out of the zombie sub-genre, Hot Fuzz drove a comedy juggernaut through the window of action cinema, and now, The World's End, beams us up on an intergalactic joyride to science-fiction and back. The World's End, like Hot Fuzz, is a little slow out of the blocks, but that's only because Pegg and Wright are determined to make every moment count. Every line and  every scene has it's pay off, occasional emotional but mostly comical.

Pegg is clearly having fun as the arsehole of the bunch. It's a role-reversal for Frost and Pegg that works really well, and fans of the series will love the attention to detail, a loving tribute to science-fiction cinema and previous collaborations. This is the End is hilarious at times but there's one thing it's missing, and that's heart. Pegg and Wright have always had a thing for character driven comedy, and that's what separates the men from the robots. Besides, who doesn't love a film with the line, "We’ll always have the disableds".

Like buses, there's never an apocalypse around when you want one. This is the End and The World's End do cross paths from time to time, but that's to be expected. Ultimately, both films are laugh-out-loud hilarious, though for me, The World's End is more likely to stand the test of time. What little time we have left.  Jokes about wanking are one thing, a beating heart is something else entirely. Whatever your taste, let's raise a glass to the Apocalypse. Both of them. AW

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