Monday, September 30, 2013

Review of World's End

A week ago, Kristin and I went to the movies and saw World's End. It was an entertaining movie.  Kristin sold it to me as "A bunch of friends go on a pub crawl, and killer robots show up."  I'd warn about spoilers here, but I doubt many folks will go to this movie expecting a comedy about a pub crawl.  But just in case, there will be more spoilers below.

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Of course, even with Kristin's spoiler, it wasn't what I expected.  The movie's primarily about a guy named Gary King.  On the day he graduated high school, he and his friends went on a pub crawl through all 12 pubs in the town where they grew up.  They only made it through nine, and Gary's been stuck ever since.  All his friends grew up, got jobs, had families, but while he left the town, Gary never really grew up.  He doesn't have any job that we've seen, no family, and really nothing in his life.  Then he hits on the idea of finishing the crawl, and making it through all 12 pubs this time, as if that will let him restart his life, this time correctly.

So he dragoons his friends into joining his quest, mostly by lying, and sets out to visit his hometown.  But things have changed.  People aren't the way they used to be, and a sort of sameness has infected the pubs. If you're thinking, "oh, everyone must have been replaced by robots," then you've read as much sci fi as I have. But where the description fails is the killer part.  The robots--don't call them that, as they're offended by the term--don't see themselves as invaders.  Rather, they're here to bring humanity into the galactic civilization by changing them for the better.  Yes, this sometimes means replacing people by transferring their minds, with small improvements, into robot artificial bodies, but by using these replacements to improve society as a whole, the vast majority of people should simply adapt to the new society.  This premise, that the robots would prefer not to replace them, justifies the fact that Gary King and his friends continue their pub crawl, pretending to fit in, rather than just making a run for it.  That, and Gary's crazy.  Of course, it doesn't take long for that to break down, and soon the friends are running for their lives (though Gary keeps insisting, against everyone's better judgement, that they run in the direction of the next pub in the crawl).  For a plan to replace only a small fraction of the population, it sure seems like everyone's a robot.

One of the things I found most remarkable was how proficient at fighting everyone was.  Gary King and his friends plowed through dozens of robots with some impressive moves, especially considering that they were all roaring drunk at the time. Or maybe that was why their moves were so impressive.

Ultimately, Kristin, at least, felt that the ending didn't work.  It felt inconsistent with the tone of the rest of the story.  Personally, I didn't think that.  I thought that if you were going to call the movie World's End, you had to go apocalyptic by the finale.

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