The World's End is a British science-fiction comedy released in the summer of 2013, directed and written by Edgar Wright, co-written and starring Simon Pegg, and co-starring Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund Pike.The movie tells the story of five childhood friends reuniting after 20 years to complete an epic pub crawl from their youth, while inadvertently becoming humankind's last hope of survival in the process.This is the final installment of the "Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy", preceded by Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Compare This Is The End.Watch the first trailer here and the full trailer here.Not to be confused with At World's End.
This film contains examples of:
Acrofatic: Andy kicks more ass than any other character in the movie.
Actor Allusion: When Oliver has been turned into a blank and gets half his head smashed off, his voice takes on a mechanical quality similar to Ian Holm's Ash character in Alien. Edgar Wright points out that this was a reference to Martin Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins, another character previously played by Holm.
After the End: The finale, after civilization has been destroyed.
The Alleged Car: "The Beast". Gary mentions that he's replaced pretty much every meaningful part of it, and it still doesn't work.
Alien Blood: The alien robot replacements for the townspeople all have blue "blood".
Alien Invasion: Extraterrestrial machines have invaded a small town in England. And 2,000 other locations on the planet.
Apocalypse How: A low level Class II - humanity is knocked back to pre-industrial levels but the bulk of the population apparently survives and there seems no danger of actual extinction. In fact most of the surviving characters are shown to prefer the new way of life.
Arc Number: Edgar Wright has stated that he did his best to include the 'number' of each pub (according to where it appears on The Golden Mile) somewhere in its scene (he did something similar with the Evil Exes in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World). These can usually be spotted on the chalkboards/signs or table numbers. For example, a table behind Mr Shepherd in pub #9 The Beehive shows a place-card with a 9 on it. See a collage here.
Badass Longcoat: Invoked by Gary, who wears a long black coat to try and appear cool. In his final appearance after the apocalypse, it actually does look pretty cool.
Beneath the Mask: one of the movie's themes is that of adults hiding their insecurities and neuroses behind professional success / money / houses / etc. Then there's Gary, whose facade of cheer and energy starts crumbling at the second or third pub.
Berserk Button: A subtle, downplayed example. When Gary is trying to convince Andy to join him on The Golden Mile, notice how Andy finally forces him out only after making a reference to his wife. As in, the wife that's just left him.
Bittersweet Ending: The Network has left Earth, but in the process the planet is knocked back to the Dark Ages. Peter and Oliver are both dead and are replaced by Blanks, while Gary resorts to Walking the Earth and Andy hasn't seen him since. And Gary still didn't finish the crawl, due to the entire village of Newton Haven being destroyed. However, Andy points out that his previously rocky marriage is back on track, and Steven and Sam are living rather happily in a "shack" just outside London. And Gary appears to have conquered his alcoholism.
At the crawl's beginning, Gary chides Andy for ordering water, uttering the nonsensical statement, "did King Arthur order water after the Battle of Hastings?" - to which Andy replies that ordering water in a pub full of rugby lads takes balls. At the end of the film, Gary (a King), following a battle against the Network, orders five waters in a post-apocalyptic pub full of skinheaded, armed, rugby lads.
"Look at the town in it's original colours, cos tonight we're gonna paint it red!" At the end of the film, Newton Haven is engulfed by a giant, red fireball.
Gary's first attempt at the pub crawl ends with him sitting on a hill overlooking Newton Haven as the sun rises. Gary's second attempt has him sitting on the same hill overlooking a destroyed Newton Haven.
The film begins with Gary telling the story of the first pub crawl to a support group. It ends with Andy telling the story of the second pub crawl to a group of kids.
Andy rips open his cardigan before a serious bar fight, mirroring when he ripped open his shirt as a youth.
California Doubling: Many real pubs are used as stand-ins for the film's fictional ones, with the World's End itself portrayed by the Gardener's Arms in Letchworth. (However, other "pubs" in the film are actually a cinema, a railway station and a Thai restaurant, among others.)
Also, the "UK's First Roundabout" in the film really is that, in Letchworth.
After Timothy Dalton's turn in Hot Fuzz, Pierce Brosnan turns up playing a similar character to Dalton's - Brosnan succeeded Dalton as James Bond.
Eddie Marsan & Martin Freeman both play characters in different adapatations of Sherlock Holmes - Marsan is Lestrade in the Robert Downey Jr. films & Freeman plays Watson in Sherlock. Futhering this, is Marsan & Freeman's characters in this film being the only two main characters replaced by Blanks.
The "Out of Order" sign from the disabled toilet, which Sam gives to Gary as a jibe, later comes in handy when the guys need to make sure no-one goes into the men's toilet and finds the five teenage Blanks they just destroyed in there.
Also the... ugh... slippery toilet floor. It comes in handy for Oliver in the first fight.
The metallic statue in the middle of the town.
Gary won't show his elbow scar to prove he's human, but willingly shows an intimate tattoo. When his sleeve later turns up accidentally, Andy notices he is wearing bandages on his wrists and has a hospital wristband, revealing he has recently attempted suicide.
Gary is also introduced with having some basic Le Parkour skills. They come in handy later.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: All of the main characters at various points in the film; justified in that they have all had far too much to drink as the film progresses. However, Gary stands out the most.
Les Collaborateurs: The 'Reverend Green' and two others in the Trusty Servant have decided to live in accord with the Network's plan rather than be replaced. They turn out to be the only three who have, apart from Basil.
After first discovering the robots, Andy is more concerned with the fact Gary lied about his mother dying rather than Gary accidentally killing a teenager who is actually a robot.
At the end of the film, Gary triumphantly declares "There's only one Gary King!" after ripping the head off the Network's teenage duplicate of him. Later, when he points out that the Network's plan is flawed because humanity is filled with people like him, the confused Network points out that he just said there was only one Gary King.
Gary: I know what the fuck I fucking said!
The Conspiracy: The Network, an extraterrestrial intelligence/society, has been guiding human culture and technological development since the late '80s/early '90s. Related to this, it has spread the ideals of polite manners, civic mindedness and community through corporate culture, homogenized commercial branding and replacing people who revolt with inhuman "robots" hosting people's memories. The dissenters are recycled as fertilizer.
Deconstruction: Gary can be read as a deconstruction of the typical 'Man Child' characters who populated the other works that Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost were involved in. His hedonistic embracing of alcohol and drugs and his refusal to move on from his teenage pursuits and obsessions is seen as more pathetic than charming. He's also significantly older than most of them were, being an example of what happens to that type of character if he maintains his refusal to grow up when he's almost in his forties. It is also a deconstruction of the notion of a man born into a civilized world, who is better suited for a more barbaric one. (E.g., Marv from Sin City or Esau Cairn from Almuric.) Gary is much happier as a sword-wielding hero in the World After The End, but whereas in the above examples the man is a thug in the real world, in this movie it's shown that he's just a loser.
Double Meaning Title: The World's End refers to both the eponymous pub at the end of the Golden Mile and the actual end of civilisation as we know it through the complete destruction of modern technology.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Oliver disappears to use the bathroom and is replaced by a Blank without any indication other than his change in behavior.
Drunken Master: The more wasted the protagonists get, the better they get at fighting. In Wright's words:
This is more the idea of Dutch courage. You know, when you're kind of drunk and you think 'ah, I can climb up that scaffolding!' Or just that you're impervious to pain. One of the things we talked about is this idea that [the characters] become better fighters the more oiled they get.
Dwindling Party: The gang lose Oliver to the Blanks before they fully know what's going on, then Sam flees the town, then Peter is mobbed by the Blanks, then Steven is abandoned with "The Beast". Steven and Sam come back; Oliver, Peter and "The Beast" stay dead.
Earn Your Happy Ending: in the words of Edgar Wright, "the idea at the ending is that in a strange way everybody gets exactly what they want although it took a mess to get that".
The End of the World as We Know It: As you might have guessed from the title. It may be a bit misleading, however. The threat isn't the end of society, it's the nature of society itself - the Class II apocalypse is caused by the heroes when they reject the influence of the Network. This is a good thing, if a tad bittersweet.
E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The Network infiltrated society for our own good to help us make advanced technological discoveries which would otherwise have been decades or even centuries away and therefore prepare us for life in a bigger galactic community. Unfortunately, when humanity didn't want their help they took their ball home on a massive scale.
The Evils of Free Will: This is the Network's position—that the human race is a massive screw-up and the Network must civilize us.
Excuse Me While I Multitask: Attempted by Gary in The Beehive, as he's fighting blanks while trying to down his pint. It's not very successful, though.
The Fellowship Has Ended: The main characters rediscover their friendship, but return to a semblance of their old lives after the events of the movie, with none of them hearing from Gary again.
Fingerless Gloves: Gary wears sleeves over his hands that keep his fingers bare to achieve this effect, as part of his adolescent concept of what looks badass. As an adult, they also serve to help hide the wrist bandages from his suicide attempt.
The shooting star shown in the sky after the first, failed pub crawl, as teen Gary watches the sunrise? That's important.
Gary telling the rest of the guys as they arrive in Newton Haven to, "get a good look at colors" as "they're going to paint the town red." Later on, the establishing shot of Newton Haven is mirrored, with the town glowing red. After all, it's on fire.
Despite having been slurring his words earlier on, Oliver (the first one to fall in the original attempt at the Golden Mile) remains perfectly sober, hinting at his being replaced early on.
Oliver was the first one to fall on the original attempt at the Golden Mile, followed by Peter. They're the only two replaced by Blanks in the second attempt, and in the same order.
Peter states early on that he doesn't want to end up "dead in a field... I hate fields!". He is later attacked by Blanks in a field/forest the gang are running through after hiding out in the bowls club shed.
Also foreshadowed by Peter and Oliver being the only two of the five wearing blue shirts.
Gary seems surprisingly knowledgeable about the psychology of depression when he tells Pete not to repress his bad memories. It's later revealed that he'd been attending grief counselling after a failed suicide attempt, explaining where he picked this titbit up.
When trying to prove that they aren't Blanks, the guys deduce that Blanks are "fresh", lacking any physical abnormalities (tattoos, scars, etc). Andy, Steven, and Peter all present scars they got courtesy of Gary, but Gary balks at having to remove his jacket and instead opts to bash his head against a support beam to disprove being Made of Plasticine. This is because he doesn't want the others to see the bandages around his wrists.
Andy says that the mobile phones aren't working because of the network. He has no idea how right he is.
The conversation between Gary and Andy concerning teetotalling. Gary says that King Arthur didn't drink water at Camelot after winning the Battle of Hastings. Andy counters that to go into a pub full of hard men and order a tap water takes serious balls. In the end, a King walks into a bar in the wake of a great battle, and orders a water when surrounded by hard men. He has some serious balls.
The page quotation itself (see above) foreshadows the end of the movie.
Growing Up Sucks: The movie examines different approaches towards dealing with a mid-life crisis.
Healing Factor: Blanks can reattach their severed limbs without much difficulty and get right back into the fight. As robots, however, they never heal their cosmetic damage. The Network apparently just spits out fresh copies of models that are damaged beyond functioning.
Heel-Face Turn: The doppelgängers do this at the end of the movie, having no one to answer to and feeling lost.
Holding Hands: Steven says of his blossoming romance with Sam: "It was going somewhere! We held hands!" The best part is that both Sam and Steven are forty, give or take.
This is also a way of summing up the film's climax. Even after considering the whole of the Network's advances in our technology, among other, more arguable boons, they still hold that it's not worth sacrificing humanity's God-given right to be a race of fuck-ups.
Humans Are Bastards: The Network certainly seems to think so. It responds by basically replacing the ones that refuse to adhere to its standards with robots.
Humans Are Flawed/Humans Are Special: Deconstructed. It turns out that humanity is the least civilised species in the galaxy, and the Network is trying to bring it to a level where it could be brought into the galactic community. However, to do so they have to remove anyone who doesn't want to be part of the Network; and because humanity doesn't like being told what to do, the Network need to replace a lot of people in an attempt to make them more acceptable to the galactic community. Arguably, the point of Gary, Andrew, and Steven's rebuttal is that "Humans are special because they are flawed", specifically asking the Network how many humans it had to replace (only three people in Newton Haven haven't been replaced), and stating that replacing them all with robots defeats the purpose of uplifting.
Humble Goal: Gary seems to want nothing more than to have a pint at each of the twelve pubs. Taken to the point of deconstruction, as he continues to work at it long past the point that the pub crawl could be a sane priority. He even drinks someone else's leftover beer at The Famous Cock after the proprietor throws him out because he had been permanently banned from the place.
Andy: We've all gone organic now - in a big way. Still, I can't think of any processed food I really miss. [Cut to Andy spotting a mint choc-chip Cornetto wrapper and staring desperately after it]
The Network gets one as well, with their claim that Gary's use of profanity is a sign of immaturity. Their last words before leaving? "Fuck It."
I Need a Freaking Drink: Andy doesn't say this, but despite saying earlier in the evening that he is now a teetotaler, he starts pounding shots immediately after the gang finds out about the robots in the town.
Insistent Terminology: The doppelgängers are not 'robots'. After a whole scene spent trying to invent a term for them, the gang settles on "Blanks" by default.
The flashbacks of their first stab at the Golden Mile are redone, almost shot for shot.
A few lines crop up in different contexts, like "you're never wrong", "there's no point arguing with you", and "selective memory".
Gary sends away Sam in her car so the crawl can continue, who says before leaving "It's important to go forwards, not backwards." As Sam arrives to save the group once The World's End explodes, she frantically asks which way is best direction to drive in, to which Gary answers "Backwards!", and Sam speeds into reverse.
Andy narrates at the end that "there were casualities... my cousin Paul. Gary's Mum." Earlier in the film, as the group works out that Gary borrowed from all of them in order to repay his debt to Andy, Gary confesses that it wasn't a case of robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul, it was "borrowing off Peter to pay Andy. I still owe Paul!"
At the end of the original attempt at the Golden Mile, Gary sat in a field and watched the the dawning of a new day with Andrew and Steven, knowing nothing would ever be the same as it was when they were at school. After the second attempt, the three of them are joined by Sam and end up in the same field, watching the destruction of Newton Haven and the dawn of a new age for mankind.
Logic Bomb: Done to the Network by Gary, Andrew and Steven after they learn that anyone who doesn't go along with the its plan is killed and replaced with a Blank, and the Network argues that it is the easiest way to prepare humanity to join the galactic community. Since the Network has been forced to replace everyone (bar three people) in Newton Haven, it's clearly not a good plan; Andrew drives the point home by asking how many people they've been forced to replace at the 2000 other locations on the planet, to which the Network can only reply "Shut up!" and leave.
Made of Plasticine: The Blanks seem to be made of some kind of brittle plastic, like giant action figures. Their head and body parts explode with well placed punches and kicks. This actually plays an important part late in the film where Gary proves he's not a Blank by bashing his head against wooden post.
Meaningful Background Event: at the epilogue, the words "To Err is Human, to Forgive is Divine" are written on a train as Andy retells the story. Right after Gary invokes the phrase against the Network (well, the "to Err is Human" part)
The Old Familiar: They are creeped out by the pub being identical to the last one, and they bump into Sam, Oliver's sister.
The Famous Cock: Gary is (finally) recognised... for his previous dickish behaviour that got him banned.
The Cross Hands: The group have their first fight with the robots, and come together as a team for the first time.
The Good Companions: They decide to stick to Gary's plan of playing the part of a bunch of mates out for a drink to avoid suspicion. The pub sign shows four "tragedy" masks around a smiling "comedy" mask.
Gary King asks a teenager in the toilets if he and his mates are "having a good time", echoing a similar scene in Spaced which also ends up with Tim and Daisy involved in a fight with a group of teens.
The school girl silhouettes in The Mermaid are also pretty reminiscent of Marsha's daughter Amber in Spaced.
The people pictured on the poster for the disco event looked an awful lot like z—- We're not using the zed-word!!
The crowd of Blanks that is no longer being supported by the Network also looks like a horde of zombies.
Rafe Spall, who played the snotty teen who insults Shaun at the electronics store and one of the Andys in Hot Fuzz, appears here as the man Oliver is showing a house to. He is joined by Alice Lowe who played Tina in the same movie. The actress who played Mary the zombie in Shaun is sitting next to Gary at the support group meeting.
Michael Smiley, who played the bike messenger/drug dealer in Spaced and also has a cameo in Shaun Of The Dead, has an appearance here as Gary's former drug dealer, gone legit.
Julia Deakin, who appeared as the landlady in Spaced, appears here as the proprietor of the B&B the Five-Man Band checks into in Newton Haven. (She has parts in Shaun and Hot Fuzz as well.)
Peter Serafinowicz, who played Pete in Shaun and Duane Benzie in Spaced, appears here in a short uncredited cameo as the man who owns the house Gary ding dong ditches.
Successfully arguing that the aliens should leave humanity to its own flaws leads to the downfall of civilization. Depends on your definition of "breaking it", however. All the advancements the Network promises are pretty much worthless if they need to nearly eradicate humanity to implement them...which is a major point brought forth at the climax.
Two of the only three people in Newton Haven who aren't Blanks adopt this attitude at the end of the movie.
Nicknaming the Enemy: After it's hammered in that they are not robots, the group discusses what they should call them and eventually settle on "Blanks".
No Endor Holocaust: Andy points out that the death toll was surprisingly low after the destruction of all technology and civilization. Justified in that it counts actual humans.
Order Versus Chaos: The driving question of the film-do you accept an orderly, technological society with little free will, or a free, individualistic society with little in the way of technology? Humanity chooses Chaos.
Organ Autonomy: The heads and limbs of the Blanks can be broken off and will move on their own, even reattaching themselves if you don't smash them.
Outrun the Fireball: When the World's End explodes and the remaining group has to out drive it. Subverted in that it's world-wide and thus does catch them eventually, though they made it out of town.
Fuck it. [Leaves the planet and blows up The World's End.]
Production Posse: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg once again direct Pegg, Nick Frost, Rafe Spall, Martin Freeman, David Bradley, Bill Nighy and Paddy Considine — plus, in cameos, Mark Heap, Michael Smiley, Jonathan Ryland, Reece Shearsmith, and Julia Deakin from Spaced.
The same jingle from the other two films being played from one of the fruit machines in a pub.
The Cornetto wrapper.
The Quisling: Blank Guy Shepard and Blank Oliver Chamberlain argue the most for letting the robots take over.
Scars Are Forever: Peter, Steven and Andy all have scars resulting from their Glory Days with Gary, proving that they haven't been replaced. Gary is mentioned to have a metal plate in his elbow from a dislocation, but refuses to show it, since he also has bandages hiding scars from a suicide attempt, which he really doesn't want to show them.
Gary keeps calling them The Three Musketeers, even though there are five of them. This doubles as foreshadowing.
Reverend Green's nickname is a reference to the fact that he sells pot as well as a shout out to the green character in Cluedo. This joke doesn't translate as well in America, where the character is called "Mr. Green."
The symbol representing The Network is a row of parallel vertical lines that resemble a symbol seen in the publicity for The Fifth Element.
Spit Take: As in the other Blood & Ice Cream films; this time, it's during Gary's "Bar Brawl while still trying to finish his pint" scene, when he takes a swig and gets immediately punched in the face.
Throat Light: White light spews from the mouths of those replaced by aliens.
Toxic Friend Influence: Gary's fixation on the pub crawl certainly gets the 'Five Musketeers' into a lot of trouble, and it's made clear that even in their younger days he wasn't a particularly good friend to them in many ways.
Two Guys and a Girl: Between Gary, Steven and Sam. Steven has carried a torch for Sam since they were all in school together, and even years later resents Gary for sleeping with her. Steven and Sam end up together at the end.
Gary quotes Primal Scream word for word at the film's climax.
We wanna be free, to do what we wanna do!
He also quotes Happy Mondays during one of the fights with the Blanks
Twist the melon!
We Have Reserves: No matter how damaged any of the Blanks are, they are replaced with identical ones moments after by the Network.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Network just want humanity to reach its full potential (by their standards). They only want to kill as many as they have to in order to ensure that. Unfortunately, it turns out to still be an awful lot of killing, because humanity doesn't like being told what to do.
"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Andy reconciles with his wife and is trying to make do with his own farm, Sam and Steven are living together in a shack outside of London, the Blanks of Peter and Oliver are trying to live the life the real ones did before the Network left, and Gary is Walking the Earth with the Blanks of the younger versions of the Andy, Steven, Peter, and Oliver.