As you can probably tell from my 9/10 review, I really loved The World’s End. I got my hands on the Blu-ray a few weeks ago and discovered that I loved it even more the second time. The stuff that hit me on the first go around resonated more deeply, and the very minor issues I initially had with it seemed to abate completely. I’m at the point of wondering if this is in fact my favorite film out of the “Cornetto Trilogy” (the other two installments being thematic cousins Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz).
The Blu-ray is out today, November 19th, and it’s worth every penny. Not only is the transfer beautiful, but the disc is loaded with extras that rival the notoriously packed Hot Fuzz “Ultimate Edition” from 2007. Seriously, it has 3 commentaries, alternate takes, an exhaustive “making of” and a gaggle of featurettes that delve deeper into the film than the standard EPK stuff you get on most Blus these days. It’s available standalone and in a 3-pack with Shaun and Fuzz.
I already spoke to writer/director Edgar Wright during the theatrical release but jumped at the chance to speak with him again yesterday about the Blu and the themes of the film in general.
It’s a pleasant surprise in these days of dwindling special features that I got the Blu-ray a week ago and I’m still trying to get through all of it.
It’s sad that it’s a bit of a dying art with streaming and everything, there’s less impetus to do those fully loaded Blu-rays. But it’s a testament to Universal that they let us do it. Especially since it’s also in a box with Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz it kind of has to stand up to those in terms of extras. We didn’t want to do a vanilla one packed in with the other two.
It’s tough to do because you usually have to do [the features] immediately after you wrap the film. Just after you think you’re done there’s a whole other bunch of stuff you have to do. If you watch the Flip Chart extra, I think I had just come back from the end of the tour in Paris just an hour before, after having flown around the world. I look exhausted, like I’m about to collapse.
When you first watch the film, because it’s less referential than Shaun or Fuzz, you don’t realize that it’s every bit as symmetrically and ornately structured as those films. The ‘Signs And Omens’ feature kind of clears that up.
Some of those things are impossible to see the first time around. A lot of them just come when you’re designing the movie. The signs of the bars were very much written into the script in terms of “these are the names and these are the scenes.” But when I sit down with the production designer and my brother we come up with lots of ideas to go even further. Like with ‘The Good Companion,’ there are the drama masks with the four unhappy ones and the unhappy ones. Gary is the happy one and the rest of them are unhappy.
I showed that feature at the end of the triple bill on LA on Saturday night and you could kind of hear the audience going, “ohhhhh!”
We spoke during the theatrical release about nostalgia, and one of the reasons I like the movie as much as I do is that I’m prone to nostalgia.
Me too, absolutely.
I was talking about it with someone else the other day in terms of how you frame the past. Where do you think the line lies between the parts of your youth you can still embrace and where you need to cut it off?
I think back a lot and I have this kind of fantasy about Groundhog Day-ing events in my life. I don’t want to anything I did well again, I just want to do things I didn’t do very well again. I spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about it. And then you start to wonder, “if I’m thinking about this so much am I unhappy in the present?” I think that’s what inspired it, writing as sort of a therapeutic thing to kind of figure it out.
Simon and I are both from towns where you move away to London, and then you rarely go back. It’s that thing where the link to the past is bittersweet. There are nice things about going back and then there are the sad reminders too. I had written a pub crawl script when I was 21, Crawl, and then later when we were in our late 20’s me and Simon and Nick went on a road trip and tried to recreate the crawl a second time. And it was pathetic. It was especially pathetic on my part because I was basically being Gary King, trying to get them to go on a pub crawl they didn’t want to do. I got completely hammered before they did and they wound up having to carry me back to the hotel.
Sometimes these life events just stick with you and then years later you can see a movie in them. It’s funny because some critics also say that the sci-fi elements come out of nowhere and they seem grafted on. But to us the whole film is about the loss of identity and the promise of something better. Even in terms of what the aliens represent – you could be a perfect human or do your flaws make you what you are? At the end of the film we sort of show both sides of that argument. In a lot of sci-fi films the invaders are offering something that isn’t necessarily bad, but then you have to think about who you really are and what makes you happy.
Note: I have a ton of spoilery stuff with Wright from both interviews that I plan on incorporating into a piece specifically for people who have already seen the film. Look for that in the near future.
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