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“The Final Destination”- (3-D)- (Chris)
Chris Pandolfi
Studio: New Line Cinema
Release Date:
Special Features:

2 versions of film / deleted scenes / digital copy ***


I know why “The Final Destination” was released in 3-D. It’s to distract you from the fact that you’re being told the exact same story all over again, only with new characters and a plot stripped so bare that the word “simple” hardly begins to describe it. ***

What started as a clever and frightening idea back in 2000 has grown tiresome and derivative, and while it isn’t quite campy, it definitely takes itself less seriously. Consider an early scene in which a couple of boys cover their ears to shut out loud racetrack noises; their mother provides them with tampons to use as earplugs. Another scene late in the film shows a man trying but failing to hang himself: “I’ve been trying to kill myself all day!” he whines, after which he goes through a list of other failed suicide attempts. ***

Of course, the 3-D process itself is the majority of the problem. Apparently, death scenes are lot funnier when objects come directly at you. That definitely explains shots of a man’s head getting impaled, a rock whizzing through a woman’s eye socket, and a tire flying through the air before decapitating a young woman. Never mind the horror of it all; if you’re in the right mood, you will be in for a good laugh. ***

In “The Final Destination,” the fourth in the series, an equally hapless group of young people find themselves in a frantic struggle against Death. When attending a racecar event with his friends, the burdened Nick O’Bannon (Bobby Campo) suddenly and inexplicably has a premonition that a car accident will kill many people in the arena, himself included. ***

Panicked, he causes a fuss and gets himself and his friends kicked out of the arena, along with a select group of people. Lo and behold, there’s an accident, and many people are killed. That should be the end of it, but hold on--it now seems that Death is going through the accident survivors one by one and picking them off. ***

Nick foresees every event, naturally, although he can’t quite make out who the event is intended for. That changes when he remembers his initial vision; through a process too inconsequential to describe, he determines the order in which each survivor will die. ***

It now becomes a matter of Nick breaking the chain and stopping Death in its tracks. But how? His supportive but rattled girlfriend, Lori (Shantel VanSanten) doesn’t seem to know, and neither do his callous friend, Hunt (Nick Zano), and his skeptical girlfriend, Janet (Haley Webb). Maybe George Lanter, the race track security guard (Mykelti Williamson), will be able to help Nick figure something out. But they had better hurry; the list of survivors is dwindling fast, and Nick and his friends are next. ***

Usually, I provide a plot description first and then get into the deeper aspects of the story, such as characterization and theme. In the case of “The Final Destination,” the plot is the extent of the film’s depth. You want to know about Nick, Lori, Hunt, and Janet? Look no further than what I said in the previous paragraphs. ***

The actors in this movie weren’t hired to play human beings; they were hired to mindlessly stand in a scene and wait for their cue to die a horrible death. Think of it in terms of Sid from the original “Toy Story”: He saw toys not as prized possessions but as worthless objects, and he liked to destroy them just for the fun of it. Destruction, I admit, can be fun, especially in a horror film. But when all you have at your disposal are drones that have absolutely no life to them, there’s no sense of fun or entertainment. There’s only a sense of emptiness. ***

That being said, I realize I haven’t said much about the 3-D process. I’ll say this much: It achieves what it set out to achieve. This is especially true of the opening and closing credit sequences, which feature animated x-ray images of people being killed in all sorts of nasty ways. Bones break. Teeth shatter and fly right at you. Skullcaps get sliced off. A drill bit seems to be aimed right at our heads. ***

Does this sound appealing to you? If so, fine. If not, be aware that it’s probably the best the movie has to offer in the way of cool graphic imagery. Not even a carwash mishap or a movie theater explosion, both effective, have the same power and punch. And shots of Death manipulating objects to cause a disaster stopped being clever a long time ago. ***

Why are they making more of these movies? Didn’t the first one say everything that needed to be said? The insinuation is that “The Final Destination” is the last in the series, but I’ve repeatedly observed that the word “final” is meaningless when it comes to a popular horror franchise (“Friday the 13th” used it twice, and they were proven wrong both times). ***

Special Features:

Packaged in a collectable holographic slipcover, this DVD includes both the 2-D and 3-D versions of the film. It also includes a collection of deleted scenes and a bonus digital copy. The film is presented in its original 2.40:1 widescreen format and features Dolby 5.1 Digital sound. ***

Final Words:

If the 3-D process is the only way left to make this idea fresh and exciting, if the purpose is no longer to be scary but to film a series of gory death scenes, if the actors are given roles with no depth, then it’s probably time to let go and move on to something else. Even Death needs a break from time to time.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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