You wait years for an end of the world comedy starring a country’s selection of finest funny actors and then two come at once. Two potential, very good ones in This is the End and The World’s End. In all honesty the last couple of years have been absolutely inundated with apocalyptic, end of the world fare, although most of them have attempted to show our earth’s final days in a more dramatic manner. Whether they were inspired by the Mayan’s 2012 predication or the fact that our society’s social, economic and environmental problems are represented within cinema through this bleak genre, they have truly saturated the market.
Whether it’s 2012, The Book of Eli, Melancholia, Oblivion, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, The Road, 4:44 Last Day on Earth, Vanishing on 7th Street, Knowing, After Earth, The Day The Earth Stood Still and even Wall-E, we have probably been subjected to too many of these movies in such a short space of time. Our poor earth has been nothing but terrorised in the past decade.
With all these bleak, terrifying and sometimes dubious apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic movies it’s refreshing to see something new with the genre. Parody and pastiche are the best way to liven up a tiresome genre that’s past its peak and we’re seeing this with both the aforementioned comedies. This is the End, written by the scribes of Superbad, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan, sees a selection of the best and brightest in American comedy join forces to play fictional, exaggerated versions of themselves.
The trailer (See above), which hopefully hasn’t blown all the best jokes and surprise cameos already, sees Rogan, Baruchel, Hill, McBride, Robinson etc shelter in James Franco’s house as they struggle to survive the apocalypse. Although much of the plot wasn’t revealed after the opening party and subsequent invasion, except the fact that Emma Watson comes in to steal their limited supplies, I’m sure that much more happens and hilarity ensues in their quest for survival.
On this side of the pond Edgar Wright has completed his long awaited third film of his Cornetto trilogy. Teaming up again with Simon Pegg on writing duties after the widely successful Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the story sees Pegg and friends played by Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman and Paddy Considine embark on an epic pub crawl they once attempted, but failed, in their youth, only to find they are in the middle of the apocalypse.
It really is a battle of the juggernauts between Britain and American comedy and I’m sure that both will be enjoyable and breathe life into a genre that, like that of the zombies, has been tarnished with saturation and simply too many films. Innovation and re-invention is how these genres develop and comedy is a great way to establish what we originally loved about these films.