Blu-ray
Highly Recommended
4.5 stars
Overall Grade
4.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
4.5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4.5 Stars
Supplements
2 Stars
High-Def Extras
4.5 Stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

The World's End

Street Date:
November 19th, 2013
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
November 4th, 2013
Movie Release Year:
2013
Studio:
Universal
Length:
109 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated R
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

I've become quite the fan of writer/director Edgar Wright. It all started nine years ago when a friend introduced me to 'Shaun of the Dead.' Before the current ongoing zombie craze, Wright put out one of the most entertaining zombie movies of all time. At the time, my college roommates and I would geek out between rounds of 'Halo' by explaining what we'd do if there was a real zombie outbreak. Watching 'Shaun' was even more entertaining and fulfilling than it should have been because it hit on many of the points that we talked about during those conversations. Wright captured the fun of the genre and built upon it with two hilarious characters played by his co-writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Their screenplay pointed out the genre flaws and toyed with them with an unmistakably British sense of humor.

In 2007, the trio reunited for 'Hot Fuzz,' an even more brilliant film that applied their same genre-bending model to the standard cop action flick. The result, in my opinion, was even funnier and more entertaining than 'Shaun.'

This year, they've come together once again for their third and (supposedly) final comedic collaboration with 'The World's End.' Together, this series makes up the unofficial "Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy" (each of the movies features a Cornetto ice cream cone). If I had to rank the films in order of greatness, it would be: 'Hot Fuzz' first, 'Shaun of the Dead' second, and 'The World's End' last – but although 'The World's End' is in the back, it's still a hilarious and worthy installment to their series.

Following suit, the genre that 'The World's End' turns comedic is – if you couldn't tell by the film's title – end-of-the-world/disaster films. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play the two leads in this ensemble flick, but their roles are reversed from the previous two films. In 'Shaun' and even more so in 'Fuzz,' Pegg played the smarter and more successful of the duo. In 'The World's End,' surprisingly, Pegg plays the dummy and Frost plays the intelligent and successful one. Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, and Martin Freeman play the other member of the Five Musketeers.

Twenty years ago, five recently graduated 19-year-old friends attempted an epic pub crawl in their home town of Newton Haven, England. The crawl, known as "The Golden Mile," covered one mile of ground and 12 pubs. The gang was unable to complete the 12-pint trek. Now, 20 years later, the estranged "Five Musketeers" are returning home to try completing The Golden Mile.

Pegg plays Gary King, the onetime leader of the fivesome. Viewing that first failed attempt as the greatest night of his life, Gary is stuck in the past, left romanticizing that night by himself. The other four have moved on, growing out of Gary's friendship in the process. They don't view the events from that evening so fondly. For them, that night was the beginning of the end of their friendship. It's only because of Gary's lying and manipulation that the Five Musketeers agree to his proposal of giving The Golden Mile another shot.

The first act of the movie is pretty mature, focusing solely on our leading characters and their relationships. Three pubs and 30-something minutes into 'The World's End,' the gang makes a discovery that completely shifts it into the gear that we've been expecting – things in the town aren't as they seem. As expected, a lot has changed over 20 years, but there's something not quite right with the townsfolk. There appears to be a 'Body Snatchers'/'Stepford Wives' thing going on in Newton Haven. Are they aliens? Are they robots? The reality of their situation is revealed to the audience as the characters discover the truth while making their way to The World's End – which is the name of the final pub in The Golden Mile.

I thoroughly enjoyed 'The World's End' when I screened it theatrically, but a few aspects kept it from perfection: the 30-something-minute duration to action made it lag; the action was so styled and cool that I left wishing that it could have started earlier in the film; and the ending is so weird and wild that it didn't feel like it belonged in the 'Three Flavours Cornetto' trilogy. Watching 'The World's End' a second time changed my opinion on a few of those things. First, the character-building beginning of the film is crucial. Because the dialog is so fast and so... British... there's a lot that I missed on the first viewing. I didn't catch everything that I needed to about the characters on the first run. Those first 30 minutes were much more entertaining the second time.

Second, because I enjoyed the character bits even more, the amount of Wright-stylized action in the film was more than enough. Wright filmed 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' between 'Hot Fuzz' and 'The World's End.' It's obvious that 'Scott Pilgrim' made Wright stretch his techniques when it comes to shooting action. I believe that his outside-the-box style with 'Scott Pilgrim' style allowed him to stretch even farther for 'The World's End,' which is what makes the fight sequences within it so refreshingly entertaining. Liking the intro so much more with the second viewing, I found the balance of action and character development just fine.

And third, the ending is still bat-shit crazy, but I'm glad that it is. It's unlike anything you're expecting – which is also extremely refreshing. It could have buckled under predictability, but it followed suite with the rest of the trilogy and kept the original flavour going. I commend it for that. If this is really how the Wright/Pegg/Frost collaborations come to an end, although I selfishly want more, I'm completely satisfied.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

Universal and Focus are making 'The World's End' available in two different ways – in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/Ultraviolet combo pack and in the 'Three Flavours Cornetto' Blu-ray/Digital Copy/Ultraviolet combo pack (please note the lack of DVD copies in the trilogy set). If you're considering double-dipping on 'Shaun' and 'Fuzz' for the trilogy set, think again. The trilogy set features all three Blu-rays in a standard keepcase with a slipcover – no exclusive extra features included. In fact, the packaging for the trilogy pack only says "Three Flavours Cornetto" once on the back cover. The cover and spine make it look like nothing more than a cheap triple feature Blu-ray collection. The only unique aspect to the trilogy pack are the new interactive menus for each of the discs.

The stand-alone release of 'The World's End' contains a BD-50 and a DVD of the film in a two-disc vortex keepcase. Along with the slip containing the redemption code for the Ultraviolet and Digital Copy, there's a slip carrying a $3-off coupon for the 'Shaun of the Dead,' 'Hot Fuzz,' 'The Big Lebowski' or 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' Blu-rays. The standard blue Elite keepcase is housed in a glossy and embossed cardboard slipcase with an easily-removable sticker promoting the digital copes. The only thing to play before the standard Universal left-sided main menu are skippable trailers for 'Machete Kills,' 'Kick-Ass 2,' 'R.I.P.D.' and '2 Guns.'

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Focus (and Universal) have given World's End' a strong 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode that presents the film in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The video quality is so close to perfection that you can barely be upset by it's minor nit-picky flaw.

If you love the look of clean and clear celluloid films, then get ready for greatness. 'The World's End' is sharp and detailed. Fine features like facial pores and hairs can always be seen. You'll notice textures of surfaces, like wooden table tops, pitted concrete walls and soft clothing. There's a very fine dusting of grain throughout the bulk of the film. With the opening sequence being shot on hand-cranked 16mm camera, it's flashy, jerky, and extremely grainy.

The film features a wide array of colors once the robots/monsters/aliens/whatever-they-are enter the picture. With wildly blue ink-like blood, the palette then starts to incorporate small flashes of that blue in its decor and settings. When the gang enters a night club, the vibrancy of color becomes explosive as exaggerated neons wash over the settings and characters. Because the film literally and figuratively gets darker as it progresses, these colors burst onto the screen. The only pale colors in film are the light blues that glow from the eyes, mouths and palms of "the blanks." The black levels are rich and consuming, adding an uncertainty to the outdoor scenes because you never know who/what is lurking in the shadows.

My only complaint with the video quality is a very small amount of noise that shows up in handful of shots. The noise doesn't catch your eyes because it doesn't hover over black areas of the screen. Instead, it's layered over colorful sections.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

'The World's End' arrives on Blu-ray with a great 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. Most comedies don't feature exemplary audio mixing, but the action brings out the potential of a lossless mix.

The film opens with Gary King's voice-over recap of the gang's failed attempt at The Golden Mile from 20 years in the past. The '90s music that plays is incredibly mixed, digital drum beats bouncing from channel to channel. Music is consistently strong.

The clarity of the vocal quality is fantastic - which is a must because of how fast the dialog flies. Had their been a mistake in the vocal mixing, many of the fast jokes would be lost.

Wright has a great style for creative scene transitions. Much like those on the 'Hot Fuzz' Blu-ray, these feature great sounds accompanying the quickly edited on-screen actions. Some of them exemplify amazing imaging, like vehicles seamlessly swooshing across the theater space. Action scenes come to life with the chaotic sounds. With ten or more people going fist-to-fist in small confined areas, loads of dynamic sound soar. The mix is deep and rich, featuring a a few great examples of LFE to punch the on-screen action.

And even in the standard mild comedic scenes, the mix functions well. Environmental sounds - especially the pub settings - naturally bring the locations to life.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • Feature Commentary with Writers Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg - If you love the duo, you're going to thoroughly enjoy this entire track. Their conversation is filled with quick jokes that align with their flavor of humor. It's an absolutely entertaining listen that explains how the subtleties within their writing, great stories from the shoot, the real-life drinking experiences that inspired the film and a lot of techie stuff.

  • Completing the Golden Mile – The Making of 'The World's End' (HD, 48:06) – This lengthy and meaty featurette is broken into two parts that can be viewed seamlessly via a "play all" function. The first part explains the making of the film – where the idea came from, how the screenplay was written and how it was filmed. The second part focuses on the film's characters and their roles within the screenplay.

  • Trailers: Domestic Trailer (HD, 2:32)

  • Trailers: Newton Haven (HD, :56) – Watch a tourist commercial spot enticing you to plan your next vacation to Newton Haven.

  • Trailers: The Man Who Would be (Gray) King (HD, 1:59) – Watch a re-cut trailer for the film that puts the emphasis on Pegg's character and re-dubs his bits with a strange voice.

  • TV Spots: Shaun Fuzz (SD, :31)

  • TV Spots: Shaun Fuzz Bathroom (SD, :31)

  • TV Spots: These Guys (SD, 1:02)

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

  • Technical Commentary with Director Edgar Wright and Director of Photography Bill Pope - Although the commentary with Wright and Pegg explains plenty of the film's technical bits, this one is completely devoted to that topic. They talk about framing, lighting, style, the opposition they received when explaining that they wanted to shoot on celluloid, and so much more.

  • Cast Commentary with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Paddy Considine - It's explained that Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike were all shooting other projects while the others recorded this track. Like the Wright/Pegg commentary, this one is full of fast humor – but, unfortunately, it's not as focused. While being funny, Wright and Pegg are able to keep it on track; whereas, this track sounds more like a few buddies getting together for the first time in ages.

  • U-Control (HD) – Trigger this featurette to see storyboards displayed via picture-in-picture pop-ups that appear while watching the film. The menu allows you to jump directly to those moments should you not want to watch the entire film waiting for them to pop up. Each of the 20 chapters of the film carries these pop-up options.

  • Deleted Scene (SD, :55) – Please note that this featurette's title is not plural. There's only one deleted scene. It shows what the gang did at the hotel after checking in. Nothing special.

  • Out-Takes (SD, 10:44) – This featurette chronologically takes you through the film's botched takes. The final one even pulls a Pixar and shows a CG character's "messed up" take.

  • Alternate Edits (SD, 4:32) – View a collection of alternate takes of existing scenes from the film's shoot. They mostly include alternate deliveries of lines. A good chunk of them are from the dialog-heavy scene in the climax.

  • Featurettes: Director at Work (SD, 2:33) – The cast talks a great deal about Edgar Wright's talent and what it's like to film a movie under his direction.

  • Featurettes: Pegg + Frost = Fried Gold (SD, 3:28) – Hear their colleagues talk about how great it is to work with Pegg and Frost and how much value is added to their roles due to the two of them being lifelong friends.

  • Featurettes: Friend's Reunited (SD, 3:46) – This video is a breakdown of the film's main characters, but be warned that it recycles interview footage from the 48-minute making-of featurette.

  • Featurettes: Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (SD, 5:13) – You may have seen this video online prior to 'The World's End' hitting theaters. It explains the Cornetto trilogy's three installments and their main connection – a delicious ice cream cone.

  • Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of 'The World's End' (HD, 27:40) – One-third of this feature is dedicated to the physical preparation that went into the action scenes. It's pretty cool seeing the pandemonium of filming such sequences. The other two-thirds are dedicated to the visual effects. Seeing that gadgets used to create the Blanks' glowing eyes and mouths makes me want to get my hands on a set for next year's Halloween costume.

  • Animatics (SD, 11:17) – Two separate animatic sequences can be viewed here individually or together: "The Prologue" and "Catacombs."

  • Hair and Make-up Tests (HD, 4:07) – Watch the actors in their testing shoots. The dialogue from the set is not included.

  • Rehearsal Footage (HD, 6:20) – Please note that this behind-the-scenes fight footage contains some recycled content from several other features.

  • Stunt Tapes: Bathroom Fight (SD, 3:23) – Watch how the bathroom fight scene came to be.

  • Stunt Tapes: Twinbot Fight (SD, 1:53) – See how the "Twinbot" came to be.

  • Stunt Tapes: Beehive Fight (SD, 3:31) – And see how the chaotic Beehive fight scene came to be.

  • VFX Breakdown (HD, 8:39) – The film's VFX supervisor narrates this sequence that shows how many of the awesome visual effects shots were created.

  • Bits & Pieces (SD, 3:23) – This featurette contains a hodgepodge of random footage – alternate deliveries of lines, bits of dialogue and many Blanks' heads getting smashed in front of green screens.

  • There's Only One Gark King – Osymyso's Inibri-8 Mega Mix (HD, 4:36) – The soundtrack to 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' contains several tracks of lively beats set to edited and looped pieces of dialogue from the film. This techno track is much like one of those, only set to pieces of 'The World's End.'

  • Signs & Omens (HD, 7:51) – Many films with coyfully hidden Easter Eggs won't come right out and show you the goodies that are hidden within the film – but 'The World's End' will. Watch this feature to learn about the significance of the pubs' names, as well as the hint leading up to the revelation of The Network.

  • Edgar & Simon's Flip Chart (SD, 13:08) – The two writer's show you the actual flip chart that they used to write 'The World's End' and give you a great amount of insight to their writing process.

  • TV Safe Version (SD, 3:41) – As they like to do with their movies, this Blu-ray contains a few minutes of film that have been dubbed over and deemed "TV safe," all of the offensive content replaced for silly and innocent words.

  • Galleries - The sub-menus include Production Photos, Animatronics & Prosthetics, Theatrical Posters, Concept Art and Hero Pub Signs.

  • Trivia Track - Toggle this special feature and hit the "play" button in order to watch the film with a pop-up trivia track that will teach you more than you'll ever want to know about 'The World's End,' the film's shoot, track listings, Easter Eggs, and much much more.

Final Thoughts

Much like 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz,' 'The World's End' is a comedy that requires multiple viewings - not only to appreciate it more, but to be able to grasp all of the jokes, gags, and hilarious dialog being thrown around. What Wright, Pegg, Frost and Company achieve within the end-of-the-world genre is priceless. Their comedy has matured, as has their ability to tell grown up stories. The qualities of the film's video and audio are damn near perfect, making it an eye-and-ear-pleasing disc worthy of revisiting time and time again. The Blu-ray set includes DVD, iTunes, and Ultraviolet copies of the film, as well as several hours of special features. Three commentaries, multiple image galleries, deleted/alternate scenes and a few hours of extensive behind-the-scenes featurettes fill the disc. Although they've said that this will be their last collaboration, that this is the final film in their unofficial "Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy," here's to hoping that they're wrong. Highly recommended.

Technical Specs

  • Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/Ultraviolet
  • BD-50

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 2.35:1

Audio Formats

  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Spanish 5,1 DTS Digital Sound
  • English 2.0 Descriptive Video Service

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH, Spanish, Trivia Track

Supplements

  • Completing the Golden Mile: The Making of The World's End
  • Feature Commentary with Writers Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg
  • Trailers (3)
  • TV Spots (3)

Exclusive HD Content

  • Technical Commentary with Director Edgar Wright and Director of Photography Bill Pope
  • Deleted Scene
  • Out-Takes
  • Featurettes (4)
  • Alternate Edits
  • Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of 'The World's End'
  • Hair & Make-Up Tests
  • Animatics
  • Rehearsal Footage
  • Stunt Tapes (3)
  • VFX Breakdown
  • There's Only One Gark King – Osymyso's Inibri-8 Mega Mix
  • Bits & Pieces
  • Edgar & Simon's Flip Chart
  • TV Safe Version
  • Signs & Omens
  • Galleries
  • Cast Commentary with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Paddy Considine
  • Trivia Track
  • U-Control

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