Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill
When the trailer for This Is the End first came out I thought it looked pretty funny. I figured if you liked Superbad, which I did, you'd like this one as well. It has some of the same actors (Rogen, Hill, Cera) and the same style of raunchy comedy that revolves around bodily fluids and recreational drugs. However, a major difference would be that in this movie the actors play themselves, with a ton of cameos thrown in for good measure. So while I assumed that I'd find it funny, I also thought that it would fall short of better movies because it would lack that emotional base that we don't always notice but we usually need. Well, apparently they just decided to replace emotion with extra crude humor, and the result wasn't a shallow film but one of the funniest movies I've seen in years.
Almost the entire story takes place in James Franco's new house in Hollywood. Seth Rogen and his old friend Jay Baruchel are reuniting in California, a place that Jay hates to be. Seth talks him into coming with him to Franco's housewarming, where there will be a ton of drugs and celebrities. Among the elite are Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Emma Watson, Rhianna, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, Aziz Ansari, and a bunch of others. Jay may not be having a great time, but the night is about to get worse. It seems as if the apocalypse is upon them, as the Hollywood Hills are engulfed in flame, blue lights take people into the sky, and monsters roam the streets. Only a small group of the party-goers survive and they must band together and get along if they are to have any chance of waiting out the end of the world.
But getting along might be the toughest thing these friends have to face. Living together for days on end while the world outside goes to hell won't be easy. First, they'll have to ration the food, but with Jonah's low blood sugar and Danny's eating habits it won't be a simple matter of equal proportions. And when the provisions run low, the group will have to make some tough decisions on who is to venture out and search for some sort of sustenance. Food is a problem, but don't forget about sleeping arrangements, use of the lone porno mag, and the decision on who is going to rape Emma Watson. Life isn't easy for this bunch of potheads who know that their world has crumbled and that the only thing less is, sadly, each other.
I did not expect the movie to be as funny as it was. I mean, I thought it'd be funny, not hilarious, but it was definitely the latter. It was non-stop comedy from the very beginning, but somehow it never got old or annoying. I haven't laughed that hard since who knows when; maybe since Superbad. And while that movie relied on our memories of how awkward it is to be young, this movie got us laughing by putting audiences in ridiculous situations that only warped minds could possibly think of. And the comedy was warped, be warned. It was crude, sexual, graphic, dirty, whatever you want to call it. But it was also real; it was a bunch of guys stuck in a house together with nothing to do but smoke pot, look at porn, drink wine, turn on each other, and worry about which of them was going to die next.
I guess that's why the movie worked; it was surprisingly real for such a silly film. Now, by real I don't mean realistic, I mean it felt natural. It felt like the lines were what Seth and Jay and Jonah would say if they found themselves in this situation. Breaking down that fourth wall really worked because it made the characters real and allowed the actors to make fun of themselves and of each other while still playing people in the movie. It was kind of a genius idea, and I'm not sure the movie would have worked so well had they tried to create stories and backgrounds and fake names. It worked because it was off-center, because it was hilarious while being pretty original. And you could tell the guys were having a great time making the film, which was really infectious. I felt jealous that I wasn't under lock-down during the rapture with this crew; for being that close to death it seemed like they were having a pretty awesome time.
However, if you take a look at this film from a different point of view it doesn't come across as well, to say the least. If you're not someone who loves crude humor, if you're not a 20-30 year old male who loves video games & drinking, if you're not a fan of Seth Rogen and his buddies, then this may not become your favorite movie. Of course everyone brings their own taste into the theatre, but this film is especially selective, requiring audiences to really buy in and accept the insanity in order to enjoy it. I had no problem doing that, but if I take a step back I can see how utterly insane & ridiculous this all looks to somehow who drops in at the middle, or someone who never really got on board in the first place. I tried watching Superbad once with someone who didn't have the same humor as me; didn't go well. I could see the same thing happening here, so I'd be a little more careful talking this one up to just anyone, and I can see why I shouldn't recommend it to everyone.
Video: With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the video quality is very high. The film was shot on a Red Epic camera using ATZ and AWZ2 lenses. The HD video is really nice to watch, with some great interior shots and excellent color. And there were a surprising amount of special effects, which were all very well done and looked pretty amazing.
Audio: The audio was done in Dolby Digital, with a lot of options on the disc. You can choose to listen to the film in English, French, or English Audio Descriptive Service, which is the film audio plus descriptions of scenes and action. There are also subtitle options: English, English SDH, English Commentary Subtitles, and French. The sound was well mixed and even, with a very cool soundtrack that complimented the movie well.
Extras: There are many extras on the DVD. First, commentary with directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Next, Directing Your Friends, a six-minute aside about the benefits of working with your buddies. Also, This Is the Marketing, a collection of extra scenes and promotional videos including Marketing Outtakes, Aziz Haunts Craig, James and Danny Confessional, Seth and Jay Confessional, The Cast, and Redband Sizzle Trailer. And lastly, previews: White House Down, Elysium, The Kings of Summer, Insidious: Chapter 2, In A World..., and The To Do List.
Highly recommended. I love this style of comedy, so I accepted how ludicrous the plot was and just let myself laugh the whole way through. If this is your thing, you'll love this movie and you should probably buy the DVD. If it's not, if you're not a fan of these guys & their humor, then steer clear because you're not going to have a good time. The video quality of the disc was excellent, the audio was great, and there were a ton of extras. This Is the End is a wild ride, but one that I enjoyed and would be willing to take over & over again.