Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The World's End Discussion, Part 1

On September 8, Dave, Jeff, and Megan got together to talk about the latest Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost venture, The World's End, based on some notes from Cat. (So far she hasn't given permission to publish those notes, so for now you'll have to reconstruct them for yourself based on our references to them and deductive reasoning.) The discussion itself will be posted over the next few days.

Beware, though: absolutely no effort was made to avoid spoilers.



MR
Ok, so should we just jump right in?
First of all, have we all seen the movie, and what are everyone's basic opinions? E.g. did you enjoy it and so on?

JK
I had no idea what it was about going into it - I didn't see any trailers or read about it ahead of time. I was pleasantly surprised.

Dave
I saw the movie yesterday afternoon. I went by myself in between a wedding and a reception. I knew the basic premise, but stayed away from other spoilers. And I really liked it.

MR
I also went to see the movie alone between other stuff, a week or two ago or something. I really enjoyed it a lot.
Jeff, have you seen any of the other Wright/Pegg/Frost movies? Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead? Or the TV show Spaced?

JK
I have seen all of them except Spaced.

Dave
Spaced is incredible. I watch the series once a year!

MR
I've only seen a few episodes of Spaced so far when my sister and I started watching it as a way to feel less angry after episodes of Breaking Bad. I don't think I'm really into it yet.
And I've seen the other two Cornetto movies. But I actually just rewatched Shaun of the Dead because I couldn't remember anything about it.

Dave
Well good to hear that we all had positive experiences with the movie!

JK
I overheard someone at work talking about some 'end of the world' movie that they thought was terrible - "they just hang out in the mall and talk; they do nothing at all to save the world." I was relieved that they must have been talking about something else.
Cornetto?

MR
"Cornetto Trilogy" is what they call the movies that Wright/Pegg/Frost make together, i.e. this one and Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I don't exactly know why.

Dave
Oh, I did not know that name.

MR
I do know that apparently the Cornetto ice cream treat shows up in all three movies.

Dave
Ah yes, it does.

JK
Now I remember seeing the wrapper at the end of the movie.

Dave
And in Shaun of the Dead he buys an ice cream before slipping on some blood.

MR
Oh yeah!

Dave
And in Hot Fuzz they buy it from the shop and get a brain freeze.

MR
Ok, let’s just run through some of the points Cat made.
She found the pacing of movie a bit slow at the beginning.
Did you guys think so?
I actually found the initial montage of their first attempt to do the Golden Mile (was that what it was called?) a bit too fast.
I wasn't really clear on who the three “other guys” were, and it just flew by.
And then it does seem to slow down to actually get them back to the town.

JK
It did seem like a rushed backstory to me.
But that may have been in keeping with the spontaneous character of Gary King (that is, the way his mind works).

MR
I still couldn't figure out which guy was which for a long time.
Side note: casting of the young Nick Frost actor was right on.

Dave
I guess I agree that it was slow, but not in a detrimental way. At that point in the film it was telling a different story. It was about the old days and trying to relive them. I think it worked well with the story it was telling at that point.

MR
Yeah, I don't think I found the pacing a problem aside from the rushing at the very beginning.

Dave
Also I think the editing was well done. I know Edgar Wright has a very fast cut style, but his cuts always serve a purpose. During the intro there aren't a lot of reasons for these domesticated adults to have the jump cuts. The bit with the beer and water was a nice little touch.

MR
I loooved that.

Dave
And I think it would have lost its appeal, if there were jump cuts everywhere.

MR
Yeah, I wasn't ever bored or wishing to move on at any point.

Dave
No I rather enjoyed it, and think that it could have been an excellent movie if it continued without any of the invasion stuff.
I think they did a good job of portraying a group of old friends getting back together; playing on old jokes and stereotypes, while seeing how they have grown up and evolved (except Gary).

MR
Wow, I wouldn't have thought of that, but you're totally right. It obviously would've been a much different movie, and probably waaay darker. I also thought the depiction of the dynamics between old friends who don't see each other often was right on. But just that alone could have gone right through and been entertaining to watch. They actually do still manage to hit some of the same beats, but obviously it's set aside for the robot storyline. Although I really would have liked the three "other guys" to be more fleshed out.

JK
It's funny, I had a totally different encounter with a group of old friends last Labour Day weekend. I thought we would relive the glory days of high school but instead I realized that I didn't actually like most of them.
It was really weird to find out most of my oldest friends were fluff friends.

Dave
Jeff, I know what you mean. Not from a similar experience per se, but just looking back on my past and realizing that I don't quite have a group like that.
Never had a close core group of buds.

JK
I would consider our group of friends to be closer to the film's group dynamic compared to my high school friends.

Dave
Yes I agree, we all found each other at a later stage in life.

MR
Re: old friends, a lot of it is just growing apart. Your friends in school have a lot in common with you in terms of what you all do together all day, responsibilities, etc., but adults have such varying lives. Even people that you work every day with can have totally different things going on in their personal lives.

JK
Any thoughts on how the end of the world played into the 'aging' theme of the rest of the film?
Something to do with our fragility?
I liked the association between these two facets but I haven't been able to place my finger on exactly why.

MR
Ooh, I like that.

Dave
I didn't quite see it as our fragility but more of a conformity thing. Grow up, be the same as everyone else, there is no conflict in uniformity. And Gary is the complete opposite. And he is trying to break his friends out of that existence. You see it in the set pieces too, with the first few pubs being "Starbucked" to be the same, and generic.

JK
I totally agree with that - very insightful.

MR
But Gary's not really presented as being correct. One of my favourite things about the ending is the way it subverts a lot of the tropes of this type of story. Usually the humans would tell off the all-powerful beings, convince them we're singular, and then the all-powerful beings would leave and everyone would live happily ever after.
In this case, we get totally effed. I also like how the argument for why humans are special here boils down to "we're fuckups."

Dave
I really liked the ending

JK
I loved that!

Dave
A traditional happy ending would be less awesome.

JK
Yes, our 'human condition' is to err.

Dave
So... errr.

JK
By that logic, Gary was the most human of them all. Interesting.

MR
We shouldn't skip ahead to the ending too much yet, though!

Dave
Agreed.

JK
Indeed.


Tune in next time for more thrilling discussion on... characters!

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