The World’s End appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good but somewhat erratic presentation.
No real issues related to sharpness. A few wide shots seemed just a tad soft, but those popped up infrequently. Instead, the majority of the movie looked concise and accurate.
Jagged edges and shimmering failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws also caused no distractions.
Colors were fine. The movie usually favored an amber tint or bluish hues, all of which made sense within the flick’s themes and design. The tones looked fine within those parameters, and the disc’s HDR added some solidity.
Blacks were dark and tight, but shadows could feel a little heavy. We got a lot of low-light shots, and these tended to seem dimmer than expected. Much of the film looked good, but the darkness could make it a little iffy.
Downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1, I also felt pleased with the DTS X soundtrack of World’s End, and the film’s action pieces offered the most dynamic elements. Sequences with fights and chases opened up the soundfield well and gave us a nice sense of involvement.
Music showed good stereo imaging, and the flick used the surrounds well. The back speakers worked as reasonably active participants and placed us in the action.
Audio quality proved strong. Speech was natural and distinctive, without edginess or other concerns.
Music appeared lively and dynamic, and effects fared well. Those elements sounded full and rich at all times.
Low-end response was quite good and brought out a nice sense of depth. This turned into a positive package.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio felt fairly similar, though the DTS X track came at a lower volume level, one that needed a bit of extra goosing.
As for visuals, like Shaun of the Dead, the Blu-ray and the 4K differed in terms of brightness. When I watched Shaun, I thought the BD looked too bright and the 4K looked too dark, with my gut that the ideal version would land somewhere between the two.
With End, I felt the BD offered the more appropriate levels, as unlike Shaun, it never seemed too bright. While the 4K didn’t seem impenetrable, it could come across as a little murky at times, especially when compared with the more satisfying BD.
The darkness of the 4K also impacted colors. I thought the HDR made the hues more stable but they also seemed less vibrant due to the generally dim nature of the image.
The 4K showed superior sharpness at least, as it seemed a bit more precise. On its own, the 4K was more than watchable, but I preferred the BD due to its more satisfying brightness levels.
The 4K UHD includes three separate audio commentaries. Titled the “writers commentary”, the first comes from actor/writer Simon Pegg and writer/director Edgar Wright.
Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, themes, hidden meanings and influences, sets, locations and visual design, action and stunts, music and audio, various effects and a few other areas.
From start to finish, Pegg and Wright contribute an active, informative chat. Their remarks uncover layers of the production and film while they keep us entertained the whole way. Everything here works and makes this a terrific track.
For the “actors commentary”, we hear from actor/writer Simon Pegg and actors Nick Frost and Paddy Considine. All three sit together for their running, screen-specific take on the same topics as Wright/Pegg but from a different POV.
This tends to be a more comedy-oriented piece, as the actors impersonate others and joke around a fair amount; in particular, Martin Freeman becomes the butt of barbs due to his newfound fame as Bilbo in The Hobbit. We still learn some decent details and have fun along the way, but the track's not nearly as informative as its predecessor.
Finally, the “technical commentary” involves writer/director Edgar Wright and director of photography Bill Pope. They chat together for their running, screen-specific discussion of camerawork, shot selection/composition and related choices, why they didn't shoot digitally, visual design, sets and locations, and other related topics.
Often tracks like this tend toward the dry side of the street, but the ever-loquacious Wright ensures that this doesn't become the case. While Pope chimes in occasionally, Wright carries the piece and turns it into another involving chat. Like the actors’ commentary, it's not as good as the first track, but it's still a worthwhile and enjoyable listen.
All the remaining extras appear on the included Blu-ray copy, and two more features also accompany the film itself. A Trivia Track tells us about music, locations, technical details, story, themes and connections, cast and crew, performances, and a mix of other production notes.
After three commentaries, inevitable repetition occurs – indeed, some of the facts pop up in all four locations – but the trivia track offers a good array of topics. It comes with an unobtrusive format and adds to our knowledge of the flick.
U-Control provides a storyboard picture-in-picture feature. As one might expect, this means that art pops up on a pretty much constant basis throughout the film. This turns into a nice way to compare the boards with the final footage.
The next few areas cover cut footage. One Deleted Scene appears and runs for 55 seconds. It shows the guys in a Newton Haven B&B before the start of the pub crawl. It seems entertaining but inconsequential.
Under Outtakes, we get a 10-minute, 44-second compilation. Many of these fall into the blooper category, but we get a few alternate lines as well. Those help make it a bit better than most collections of this sort.
With Alternate Edits, we view four minutes, 32 seconds of footage. These cover eight scenes and give us minor changes to existing sequences. Nothing significant occurs but it’s fun to see the differences.
A documentary called Completing the Golden Mile – The Making of The World’s End lasts 48 minutes, six seconds and offers info from Wright, Pegg, Considine, Frost, producers Nira Park and Eric Fellner, and actors Pierce Brosnan, Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman, Rosamund Pike, and Luke Bromley.
“Completing” covers the movie’s story and characters, its roots and development, influences and themes, cast and performances, Wright’s impact on the production, and the notion of a trilogy.
Rather than attempt a broad documentary that covers all aspects of the film’s creation, “Completing” sticks almost exclusively with story, characters and cast. I like that concentration, as it allows for more introspection than we’d usually encounter. All involved get plenty of time to discuss these creative areas and we end up with a satisfying program.
In the Featurettes area, we discover four pieces: “Director at Work” (2:33), “Pegg + Frost = Fried Gold” (3:28), “Friends Reunited” (3:46) and “Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” (5:13). Across these, we hear from Wright, Pegg, Frost, Fellner, Pike, Considine, Marsan, Park, and Freeman. We learn about Wright’s work on the set, cast and performances, story and characters, and connections among the “trilogy” films.
This section should’ve been titled “promotional featurettes”, as all four existed to sell the film. That makes them mostly pretty forgettable, especially if you already saw “Completing”, as much of the same footage shows up here. “Cornetto” has some good material since it shows us the elements that link the three films, but otherwise, these clips become eminently skippable.
Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of The World’s End runs 27 minutes, 40 seconds and features Wright, Pegg, Marsan, Frost, Freeman, Considine, Pike, Pope, stunt performers Greg Townley and Samuel Mak, fight coordinator Damien Walters, visual effects supervisor Frazer Churchill, prosthetics designer Waldo Mason, special effects supervisor Chris Reynolds, concept designer Oscar Wright, production designer Marcus Rowland, choreographer Litza Bixler, animatronics supervisor Matt Denton, data wrangler Jack Hughes, hand puppeteer Brian Herring, key prosthetic artist Barrie Gower, and animatronic model designer Joshua Lee.
The show covers actor training, cinematography and production design, action and stunts, various effects, and other technical areas.
Though it starts a bit goopy with praise, “Blanks” soon becomes a good examination of its subjects. It helps that we find plenty of video material to demonstrate techniques and technologies; those elements add real information value. The components mix together to gel into a useful show.
A bunch of short elements ensue. Animatics covers “Prologue” (2:59) and “The Catacombs” (8:17). Here we filmed storyboards accompanied by audio. Since we can view these alongside the final movie, these don’t seem especially useful.
Under Hair and Makeup Tests, we locate four minutes, seven seconds of… hair and makeup tests., We watch various actors as they pose and turn around to let us see their “looks”.
Rehearsal Footage offers six minutes, 20 seconds of material that focuses on action choreography; we view the actors as they practice for the fight scenes. Both are enjoyable, though “Rehearsal” seems much more fun.
Next we get three segments Stunt Tapes. These look at “Bathroom Fight” (3:22), “Twinbot Fight” (1:53) and “Beehive Fight” (3:31). The tapes mix storyboards with video footage of the stunt folks as they demonstrate the choreography for the various battles. While not as interesting as “Rehearsal Footage”, this still becomes a cool compilation.
During the VFX Breakdown, we find an eight-minute, 39-second reel accompanied by commentary from Fraser Churchill. We view the techniques used to create many of the movie’s effects and learn the specifics from Churchill. Though his remarks tend to be somewhat dry, I like our ability to view the various steps of effects completion.
Bits and Pieces runs three minutes, 23 seconds and delivers a little hodepodge. It concentrates on alternate takes, which makes it a fun way to see different stabs by the actors.
For a sort of music video, we go to There’s Only One Gary King – Osymyso’s Inibri-8 Megamix. It lasts four minutes, 36 seconds and presents movie clips accompanied by a techno song. Don’t expect much from it.
Hidden messages come to the fore in the seven-minute, 51-second Signs and Omens. Mainly it shows us the ways the film meshes pubs, characters, connections and other themes. After the commentaries and the trivia track, we already know a lot of this, but I like our ability to get a quick recap here.
For a glimpse of the writers’ planning process, we head to Edgar and Simon’s Flip Chart. It runs 13 minutes, 18 seconds and lets Pegg and Wright show us the initial character/story concepts for the film and compare them to the final product. Expect a good look at their early ideas in this enjoyable overview.
More alternate footage arrives within TV Safe Version. It runs three minutes, 41 seconds and gives us a few shots with less “offensive” options. Most of these cover altered profanity, though we also get changes like “play-the-file” for “pedophile”. The alterations look/sound ridiculous – which makes them perversely amusing and a nice addition to the disc.
Five Galleries ensue, all presented as slideshows. We find “Production Photos”, “Animatronics and Prosthetics”, “Theatrical Posters”, “Concept Art” and “Hero Pub Signs”. I like the material but the interface stinks, as it allows the viewer no control over the images.
The shots move at their own pace, so you can’t make them proceed more quickly, go back or pause. The lack of options robs the galleries of convenience and turns them into more of a chore than they should be.
The Blu-ray disc opens with ads for Machete Kills, Kick-Ass 2, RIPD, Jobs and 2 Guns. We also find three trailers and three TV spots for End.
The finale to the so-called “Cornetto Trilogy”, The World’s End offers a winning action-comedy. It emphasizes the laughs and delivers a fun, fresh take on its territory. The 4K UHD gives us very good audio along with a stellar roster of bonus materials, but visuals seemed a little too dark. I like the movie but prefer its Blu-ray version.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of THE WORLD'S END