Let's back up. All three of these movies have had heavy foreshadowing: Shaun sets up the whole story with Nick's drinks, while Hot Fuzz's third act is just the second act, only with shooting this time. At the beginning of World's End, we get a montage of Gary King's memory of "The Golden Mile," where we see a younger version of the film's characters going on an adventure. At first, the foreshadowing is pretty blatant: Some shots are re-created almost perfectly later in the movie:
And, of course, the names of the Bars foreshadow what happens in them: "The Cross Hands" is where they get into a fight, "The Famous Cock" is where Gary King is still banned (on account of what a famous cock he is) and so on. So far, this is exactly what you'd expect from Edgar Wright -- but the difference here is that, as the intro montage goes on, the foreshadowing starts to get a bit fuzzy. First, it lies about who starts the big fight in The Cross Hands: In the foreshadowing, someone accidentally spills a drink on Andy, but in the real film, Andy loses his shit and knocks Martin Freeman's head off with a bar stool.
Kinda like when your drunk friend says "he totally shoved me!" when in reality he knocked the guy's head off with a barstool.
And then, of course, the foreshadowing ends before Gary ever gets to The World's End -- because he never learned his lesson that night. Basically, the foreshadowing gets fuzzier as the characters get drunker. And by the end of the story, the "foreshadowing" (or memory) has drawn a complete "blank."
But wait! There's more: The protagonist (Simon Pegg) in all three of these movies completely fails to learn the story's lesson: In Shaun, the lazy slacker Shaun, who insists on spending his life in a pub, has by the end of the story convinced his girlfriend to adopt his lazy lifestyle with him -- even though his stupid plans got all their friends killed. In Hot Fuzz, Nicholas Angel is a stubbornly by-the-books cop who rejects the pop culture image of police work ("No, I have never fired my gun in the air and gone 'ahhhh'"). But after defeating the image-obsessed secret society that was murdering everyone in the town of Sandford, he becomes the quintessential movie cop, responding to "some hippie-types messing with the recycling bins at the supermarket" by throwing on his sirens and stomping on the gas pedal. Sure, he might not be as evil as the Illuminati-esque Neighborhood watch, but I sure as shit wouldn't want to be those hippie-types. And finally, World's End brings the idea to its logical conclusion: Gary King refuses to accept the trappings of adult life so stubbornly that he literally brings about the end of adult life as we know it. The consequences of each film have steadily ratcheted up until the idealism of the irresponsible slackers at the center of each story literally ends the world.
Now there's a fucking moral for you.
JF Sargent is an editor and columnist for Cracked with a new column here every Tuesday. He's on Twitter and Facebook because they let anybody do that these days.
For more from Sarge, check out 4 Movie Heroes Everyone Pretends Aren't Psychopaths and 6 Movies That Are Shockingly Different When You're Not High. You can also follow him on Twitter and check out his Facebook.
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