Some films are based upon ideas so brilliant that it seems impossible for them to fail. This seems exactly the case with This is the End, and I would agree that it is far from a failure of a film, but that ingenious initial concept is also a double-edged sword as anticipating audience members may be slightly disappointed by the potential wasted. Part of the problem may also be the film’s strength, with a lack of focus in filmmaking which no doubt comes from the amount of material where the stars allow vanity to take over. However self-deprecating the humor may be, they also over-estimate the audience’s interest in watching nothing but these actors talk about themselves for a large portion of the film.
The film begs one simple question: what would happen to all of the celebrities if the biblical end of days began while James Franco was having a party? The actors all play themselves in this satirical apocalypse comedy, and it seems that nobody working in
will be taken to heaven if the rapture were to occur. All of the regular
members of the Judd Apatow clan are present (although he has no attachment to
this project), many of which have fun playing themselves before meeting a final
demise. The cast of Superbad has a
coke-fueled reunion by the pool with a particularly hilarious Michael Cera,
Jason Segal unenthusiastically discusses his role on “How I Met Your Mother,”
and Martin Starr hangs out in the background. Most are only around long enough
to make an appearance and die, although Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel,
Danny McBride and Craig Robinson all manage to hole up with Franco in his
impressive new home. Hollywood
This is the point at which the film starts to fall apart, but also has some of the film’s most humorous sequences. These six characters/actors have various grievances with each other, nearly always addressing the issue with some sort of two-faced behavior. This bickering takes up a majority of the time waiting out the apocalypse, though they also have a large quantity of drugs and a video camera to film a trailer for the sequel to a highly successful Franco/Rogen collaboration also written by Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who make their directorial debut with This is the End. This pair has written a number of humorous films now, but This is the End has the odd problem of trying to do too much and not doing quite enough.
The Blu-ray release includes a DVD and digital copy, as well as a large amount of bonus footage and extras in the special features. There are many alternate takes of improvised lines, but it mostly just displays the ability of the editor to pick out the best ones. Franco and McBride’s verbal sparring over the porno magazine is the highlight of these alternate takes. There are also deleted scenes and a gag reel, not to mention the short film with Baruchel and Rogen which inspired this movie. There are featurettes which include comments from the actors on playing themselves, the marketing for the film, and even a making-of for the Pineapple Express 2 trailer within the film. Rogen and Goldberg also have a feature commentary track. All but a few of these 90 minutes of extras are exclusive to the Blu-ray disc.
Entertainment Value: 8.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10
Historical Significance: 7.5/10
Disc Features: 9/10