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The World's End: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Review

The World's End (2013) movie poster The World's End

US Theatrical Release: August 23, 2013 / Running Time: 109 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Edgar Wright / Writers: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright

Cast: Simon Pegg (Gary King), Nick Frost (Andy Knightley), Paddy Considine (Steven Prince), Martin Freeman (Oliver Chamberlain), Eddie Marsan (Peter Page), Rosamund Pike (Sam Chamberlain), Pierce Brosnan (Guy Shephard), David Bradley (Basil), Darren Boyd (Shane Hawkins), Michael Smiley (Reverend Green), Nicholas Burns (Collaborator), Mark Heap (Publican 7), Steve Oram (Motorcycle Policeman), Reece Shearsmith (Collaborator), Bill Nighy (voice of The Network), Alice Lowe (Young Lady), Rafe Spall (Young Man), Jenny Bede (Fitness Instructor - 26), Thomas Law (Young Gary King), Julia Deakin (B & B Landlady)
The World's End is one of DVDizzy.com's Top 100 Movies of the Half-Decade (2010-2014).The World's End ranks 62nd in our list of the Top 100 Movies of the Half-Decade (2010-2014).

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Maybe the partnership of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost cannot be called the greatest modern filmmaking team, but it certainly seems to be the most fun and easiest to recommend.
This British trio got its start on television with the two-season millennial sitcom "Spaced." From there, they graduated to the big screen with the enjoyable 2004 zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead, which they followed with the near-perfect 2007 police action/comedy Hot Fuzz. It's taken a while, but the group has reunited to conclude their so-called Cornetto trilogy of comedies infused with genre thrills.

If you're not familiar with the aforementioned works, which star Pegg and Frost and are directed by Wright, who also writes with one or both of his leading men, then The World's End might surprise you with the turn it takes 37 minutes in. Up until then, the film is about a reunion of five men who were hell-raising best friends as teenagers. Their finest hour, as ringleader Gary King (Pegg) remembers it, was an epic pub crawl they attempted in June of 1990.

Five old friends (Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, and Simon Pegg) recreating a pub crawl in their hometown encounter something strange in "The World's End."

The Golden Mile involves drinking a pint from twelve nearby establishments in one night. As just-graduated 18-year-olds, the guys couldn't do it. Gary came closest and still fell three pubs short, while his cronies gave in to sickness or better judgment before then. They've all moved away from their hometown of Newton Haven, drifted apart, and moved on from that night. Actually, that last task has eluded Gary, who clings to his trusty black trenchcoat and still drives his old car, nicknamed "The Beast."

It's Gary's idea to reunite and recreate the infamous pub crawl on a Friday night in October, only this time he intends to see it through. With some difficulty, "The King" is able to coax eternally-Bluetoothed realtor Oliver (Martin Freeman), construction foreman Steven (Paddy Considine), and car salesman Peter (Eddie Marsan) into setting aside the responsibilities of middle age for one night of rekindled friendship. It takes a little more persuasion, a repaid debt, and a lie to get his estranged best bud Andy (Frost) to sign on, the wounds of an old grudge involving a serious accident not yet healed.

The night begins at The First Post, where the guys establish an order of four beers and one water; Andy's sixteen years of sobriety open him up to derision from Gary, whose inability to mature past adolescence is painfully obvious to these family men.

A few pubs in, the guys realize that something is off about Newton Haven. A bathroom encounter with a teenager whose head pops off and spurts blue ink tips them off. The town has turned into robots. Well, not "robots", per se. And not the whole town, just the vast majority of it. How to react to this startling discovery? Gary reasons it's best for them to keep up appearances and continue the Golden Mile as planned. That's easier said than done, though, as the residents grow aware and weary of their visitors' differences.

Gary King (Simon Pegg), the reunion's mastermind, hasn't really matured since adolescence. Bright lights and otherworldly beings change the tone of the film 37 minutes in.

Zombies and cops are both storied cinematic institutions, making each a veritable gold mine for parody, homage, observance, and reinvention. The World's End doesn't lean as heavily on one subgenre, which enables it to be more original and unpredictable but also less hilarious. The film is not terribly interested in paying tribute
to the likes of I, Robot and The Stepford Wives, the two movies that most spring to mind as ancestors. Truthfully, neither of those deserves a place on World's End's surprisingly thin IMDb Connections page.

Whether Wright, Pegg, and Frost are out to prove that their works are more than derivation or they simply didn't have another huge target to celebrate and skewer, this film is strikingly different from the other two. Still, it shares a sensibility and a basic premise: ordinary British blokes encounter chaos, doom, and conspiracy that binds them together and gives meaning to their seemingly trivial life issues. It's comedy with some heart and humanity in addition to "proper action" and frequent crude profanity.

Its narrative a little messy and its energy flagging at times, The World's End is not the masterpiece that Hot Fuzz is. But it's more consistently entertaining than Shaun of the Dead and it's a whole lot better than Paul, the 2011 alien comedy Pegg and Frost made with American co-stars and crew. The World's End is such a good time purely as a film about men of forty reconnecting and reflecting on their youth that you don't want that movie to end and become simply a springboard for more graphic action. Gladly, though, it doesn't lose its way. This trio knows and loves sci-fi about as much as horror and police action, but they're not willing to rest on credentials or affectionate references. Instead, they make a legitimate contribution to the genre without ever losing sight that this is a comedy about refreshingly fleshed-out characters.

Accordingly, the film mostly entertains from start to finish, even though that finish is the most bizarre, surreal, and wobbly place these guys have taken us yet. Actors like Marsan and Considine, often resigned to unremarkable character roles, flourish in this group dynamic, getting nearly as many good moments as Pegg and Frost, who have fun swapping their usual straight man and wild card duties. Though relatively light on cameos, the film still seizes opportunities for familiar faces like David Bradley (of Hot Fuzz and the Harry Potter series) to amuse. There are even some worthwhile things for Rosamund Pike and Pierce Brosnan to do.

While this isn't my favorite movie of this year as Hot Fuzz was of 2007, I'd be perfectly delighted for this trio to make a film of this caliber on a regular basis. Let's hope we don't have to wait another six years for another taste of their extraordinary wit.

The World's End: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet combo pack cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), 5.1 DTS (Spanish), Dolby Surround 2.0 (DVS)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish), Dolby Surround (Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
DVD Closed Captioned; Video Extras Subtitled
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Suggested Retail Price: $34.98
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (1 BD-50 & 1 DVD-9)
Blue Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($29.98 SRP), in Blu-ray + Digital HD UltraViolet Trilogy ($49.98 SRP) and DVD Trilogy ($39.98 SRP), and on Amazon Instant Video


The World's End displays a filmic look on Blu-ray. The picture is lightly grainy but otherwise sharp and clean. The 2.40:1 visuals have all the flair of an Edgar Wright film, impressing through scenes of action and effects as well as simply the colorful banter of reconnected childhood friends. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio consistently pleases while serving the film well, from early '90s British pop songs to a creative Steven Price song to the aggressive sound effects befitting the more fantastical elements. There's little need or chance for this film to get a better transfer on this format.

The guys gather in the hall of their bed & breakfast in this lone deleted scene. Enraha-ha-ha! Eddie Marsan cracks up in the Out-takes reel.


The Blu-ray's bountiful extras begin in Setup with three audio commentaries.

The first features writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. It's a lively chat remarking about what's onscreen, these characters they have created (with the actors in mind), and the many subtle details of significance.

The second, a "technical" commentary, teams Wright with American director of photography Bill Pope.

Though more technical than the other two as it discusses lighting and lenses, this chat is not simply filmmaking nuts and bolts.

The third is a cast commentary which has Nick Frost and Paddy Considine join Pegg. They speak of filming conditions, mention celebrity encounters, try out impressions, ponder their awards prospects, and acknowledge the fact that nobody's listening to this light, enjoyable track.

Joining standard subtitle options is a trivia track. It dispenses facts in the moment, crediting sourced music and filming locations and making sense of cultural references. There's a little overlap with the commentaries, which themselves occasionally overlap and have some of their information repeated in the video extras. Still, this plain subtitle track is obviously easier to add to an attentive repeat viewing of the film

Under the heading of U-Control comes the ability to watch the film with corresponding storyboards occupying a quarter-screen picture-in-picture window. That's a good way to present material that for most requires no more than sampling. The Blu-ray is also equipped with uHear, a nice Universal standard that allows you to clarify a missed line with the touch of a button.

Kicking off the video extras, presented in an unusual mix of high definition and standard definition, is a single deleted scene (0:55, SD) of the friends congregating in the hallway of their B & B.

A long collection of "Out-takes" (10:44, SD) shares goofs and play between takes, roughly arranged by actor.

A reel shows alternate edits (4:32) arranged in the order that the scenes appear in the film.

Paddy Considine waves while happily dangling in "The Making of 'The World's End'." "Pegg + Frost = Fried Gold" celebrates the comedy duo that first met in the TV series "Spaced."

"Completing the Golden Mile: The Making of The World's End" (48:06, HD) is a comprehensive making-of documentary arbitrarily broken into two chapters. It boasts a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage and comments from cast and crew members. Wright reveals the story's real-life origin of this "cozy catastrophe" and all reflect on the creative process. Topics include: using the "C-word" the most times allowed in a 15 rating, wanting to make an American action film that didn't parody anything, the social commentary on "Starbucking", the characters and the friends cast to play them, and Wright's directorial style.

Featurettes houses the following four lightweight SD promotional shorts. "Director at Work" (2:33) celebrates Wright. "Pegg + Frost = Fried Gold" (3:28) exalts the comic duo with clips from their past films and TV's "Spaced." "Friends Reunited" (3:46) explores the story and characters. "Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy" (5:13) explains the three films' thematic connection, common personnel, how they got their name from a British ice cream treat, and how they got a reference to it in there.

The Catacombs climax is planned out in these animatics. Rosamund Pike sees how her character's clothing will look onscreen in this filmed hair and make-up test.

"Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of The World's End" (27:40, HD) lives up to its title with looks at these technical tasks, from physical training to fight choreography to prosthetics, not taken lightly. It's a little lengthy for the subject matter, considering it runs nearly twice as long as the general doc.

Animatics (11:17, SD) are presented for the film's prologue and Catacombs climax. They're really just voiced-over storyboards presented in the rate and manner of the film.

"Hair & Make-Up Tests" (4:07, HD) show the actors trying out different looks on film while ominous score plays.

Rehearsal Footage shows Nick Frost and the actor playing the younger version of him (Zachary Bailess) working out how they'll drink in a similar fashion. Stunt Tapes show us how the film's fights were planned out with props and among empty cardboard boxes.

"Rehearsal Footage" (6:20, HD) shows the cast practicing their assigned fight moves and action paces.

"Stunt Tapes" (SD) provide a glimpse at storyboards and then a look the rehearsals for three conflicts conducted amidst cardboard boxes and mats: The Bathroom Fight (3:22), The Twinbot Fight (1:53), and The Beehive Fight (3:31). They're not terribly interesting, but they were clearly something care was poured into.

"VFX Breakdown" (8:39, HD) allows visual effects supervisor Frazer Churchill to speak over footage demonstrating what has been done for the more effects-intensive shots of the film.

"Bits & Pieces" (3:23) provides an assortment of deleted moments, brief outtakes, and milestone slate cards.

"Signs & Omens" points out small foreshadowing details you'd have no reason to notice on a first viewing. Having completed the film, writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright look back on their preliminary flip chart and see how true to it they remained.

"There's Only One Gary King: osymyso's Inibri-8 Megamix" (4:36, HD) is a creative little techno music video formed out of repeated short lines and clips from the film.

"Signs & Omens" (7:51, HD) points out the subtle little details creating continuity and foreshadowing. It's kind of like that extra on The Sixth Sense when M. Night Shyamalan is pointing out the color red. It makes you appreciate how much more goes into a Wright film than the typical comedy or any film really.

"Edgar & Simon's Flip Chart" (13:08, SD) has Wright and Pegg revisit a large pad of character names, ideas, and expressions they envisioned incorporating in the early stages of the film. It's a fascinating look at how detailed their notes and visions are as the film takes shape in their minds.

This television ad conveys the plot with a look at the signs of the Golden Miles' twelve pubs. The DVD's clever main menu animates a map of the Golden Mile, crossing off stops while the ale-colored trail is blazed.

In a rare but welcome touch, the film's marketing (sincere or otherwise) is preserved with a domestic trailer (2:32),
a dated Newton Haven tourism spot (0:56), "The Man Who Would Be (Gary) King" (1:59) a promo that dubs over Pegg and Frost with Michael Caine and Sean Connery impressions (a source of ongoing amusement to them), and three TV spots (two 30-second ones and a one-minute one). "Play All" options would have been nice.

A Cornetto Trilogy staple, "The TV Safe Version" (3:41) shows us sanitized alternatives of the film's profane clips with words like "funk", "fluffing", "full of silt", and "cheese and mice." This is always funny.

Five galleries wind up being hands-free slideshows showcasing Production Photos (3:40), Animatronics & Prosthetics (3:00), Theatrical Posters (1:00), Concept Art (4:20), and Hero Pub Signs (0:48).

Interestingly though many of the supplements refer to themselves as DVD extras, only a few of them make it to the DVD, the same one sold separately: the making-of documentary, the trailers and TV spots, and the Wright & Pegg audio commentary. Those include some of the most substantial supplements, but it's a shame that DVD customers can't get a loaded platter on par with those of Shaun and Fuzz.

The DVD opens with trailers for Machete Kills, Kick-Ass 2, R.I.P.D., 2 Guns, and Jobs. Though each of those is hard-coded onto the disc, the Blu-ray tries instead to stream some current promos, but wasn't able to do so on my player.

The Blu-ray's menu simply plays clips from the film with a pale green tint. The BD does not support bookmarks, but does allow you to resume unfinished playback of the film. The DVD's more inventive main menu tracks the progress of the Golden Mile on Gary's old map. Its nicely-themed submenus also display creativity.

The blue keepcase, which holds directions for downloading the iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy included with your purchase and a coupon for $3 off the Blu-rays of the other two Cornetto films and fellow R-rated comedies The Big Lebowski and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, is topped by an embossed slipcover reproducing the same artwork below.

Something bizarre and otherworldly awaits Gary (Simon Pegg) and Andy (Nick Frost) at The World's End, the final stop of their epic Golden Mile pub crawl.


Funny, smart, exciting and substantial, The World's End is much more than most comedies. While sharply executed, its genre storyline and action isn't quite as sharp as the rest and keeps this talented British group from matching the perfection of their previous outing. What that means for me is that instead of being one of 2013's very best films, it settles for the top ten percentile, which is clearly nothing to scoff at.

Universal's versatile combo pack is as loaded as any Blu-ray release these days. Stopping just short of overkill, it provides a variety of good, entertaining extras rather than laborious documentaries or cumbersome playback modes. Highly filling and reasonably priced, this set delivers real value not frequently encountered since DVD's apex (the era of the Cornetto Trilogy's first two installments). There are a few better new films than this, but none with as much enjoyable bonus material and replay value.

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Related Reviews:
Written and Directed by Edgar Wright: Hot Fuzz Scott Pilgrim vs. the World | New: Pain & Gain (Special Collector's Edition)
Simon Pegg: Run Fatboy Run Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol The Adventures of Tintin
Nick Frost: Kinky Boots | Martin Freeman: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Eddie Marsan: Happy-Go-Lucky Sherlock Holmes Jack the Giant Slayer | Paddy Considine: The Cry of the Owl Submarine
Rosamund Pike: Jack Reacher Made in Dagenham An Education The Big Year Surrogates
2013 Comedies: This Is the End The Hangover Part III I Give It a Year Identity Thief The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

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Reviewed November 28, 2013.

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