You can trust Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost to deliver more than just dumb fun. There's a reason for everything in their movies. The World's End is no exception. The trio take the idea of alien robots invading a small town to its literal extreme, using the plot to communicate the themes of alienation, addiction, and conformity versus free will.
Wright: "Because I came from a small town, any movies about small towns used to really speak to me. Like the original Invaders of the Body Snatchers, which is in a smaller place. Even The Stepford Wives. It's not like we wrote half an hour of a pub crawl script and then just picked to make it sci-fi out of a hat. It was because it was literally an expression of our feelings about the town."
"There's a scene in the film where Gary King starts to realize something otherworldly is going on, and you see that he's smiling as he's explaining it. The reason he's smiling is he can accept more readily that there might be an invasion than he can the idea that he's old, the town doesn't remember him, or maybe the town isn't all what it's cracked up to be in the first place. He would rather leap to the most fantastical thing."
"In the same way, for me and Simon, it's a coping strategy. You can't stop the march of time and [your hometown] is going to change without you architecturally and socially. You were on first-name terms with the pub owner and he doesn't remember you at all. It's that bittersweet experience."
Pegg: "We didn’t really want to have a stance [on the idea of conformity versus free will]. You know, there's this whole notion of Starbucking. But the coffee shop that was there before the Starbucks was shit. Just because it’s all new and corporate and branded doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing."
"For the greater good, to take a phrase from Hot Fuzz, maybe it would be better to give yourself over to a higher power. Maybe we do need some control and someone to tell us how many guns we can own. Maybe that will help us not be such an erratic and dangerous species. But that comes at the cost of personal free will and that’s something we hold very, very dear."
"At the end, and I hope this doesn’t give away anything, it does come down to just that. We wanted this whole notion of The Network to be a benevolent force."
"There’s a very telling speech that Steven [Considine's character] makes in the movie where he says that he had a company and he got bought out, but he likes it because it’s less stress. That really is a very key line because it's about what the whole situation with Earth is. We want people to think about what’s more important."
"Also, with Gary’s illness, there’s a reason why there are 12 pubs in the film. There’s a reason why he faces off against a higher power. There’s this idea of, 'Are you responsible for yourself and, by that, your planet or are you prepared to rely on somebody else to be?' We all do, in some sense. We elect leaders to do things for us because we don’t want to do everything ourselves."
"I don’t know what the answer is. I just like the idea of people coming out of the movie house and going, 'Wait a minute, were they bad guys or good guys?' The best thing you can do is inspire debate and conversation. The worst thing you can do is make a film that people forget before they validate their parking."