a critiQal film review The Final Destination (2009)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: After Nick's (Campo) premonition of a deadly race-car crash helps saves the lives of his peers, Death sets out to collect those who evaded their end.

565 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 49s)

When Final Destination (2000) arrived on the scene, it brought with it shockingly impressive death sequences and a decent plot – and apparently a never-ending franchise.

In 2009, moviegoers thought they had seen the last of this franchise as the sequel numbers got dropped and The Final Destination hit theaters. Obviously, we now know that’s not the case (Final Destination 5 (2011) crashed into theaters 2 years later), but I still wanted to see this one.

Would The Final Destination wrap up the series, or was this just another attempt by Hollywood to exploit moviegoers while at the same time making use of the new 3D craze?

The actors are all relative unknowns, with the exception of Mykelti Williamson. While he’s decent, he really isn’t the main focus of the film, and the newcomers (as usual for this series) have to pick up the slack. And, just like most of the newcomers since the original film, they fail rather badly.

After the first film scared audiences to new heights, the following films in the series have all skimped on the character development and focused instead on creating new and imaginative deaths. By the time The Final Destination rolled around, they had given up entirely. There isn’t even a sketched-in background for this latest round of cannon fodder, so, when they inevitably fall to the whims of fate, the viewer doesn’t even care.

Those whims of fate, on the other hand, have obviously seen some development hours, as the build-up is getting more and more elaborate. While the viewer knows someone is going to die, it’s becoming harder to figure out exactly how. In one scene, for instance, quirky circumstances lead to several ways the character can die, but it’s something simple that finally does them in.

While most of the deaths are still as inspired and original as the ones in the first film, one of the best sequences from the original is actually repeated in The Final Destination. It adds a bit of a new twist, but mostly it’s just a replay of the scene from the first film (My guess as to the reason? They wanted to see that sequence in eye-popping 3D).

While the film is obviously aiming at creating characters that are nothing more than cannon fodder, it surprisingly still draws a line, as several survivors of the horrific race car crash in the beginning do manage to survive (in fact, they are never even threatened). The film doesn’t even try to come up with a decent explanation, it just goes right ahead and writes them out of the script.

With plot holes like that, and characters the viewer is never even expected to care about, The Final Destination takes the thrill-ride of the first film and reduces it to a highlight reel of death sequences. Apparently, the “Choose Your Fate” bonus feature on the third film’s DVD wasn’t enough for the filmmakers. They realized they could take out all the extra stuff – like story, dialogue, etc. – reduce it down to the bare essentials, keep the death count high and surprising, and create an entire new film out of it.

Toss in that Tony Todd doesn’t reprise his role as Death in The Final Destination and we’re saddened (but unsurprised) that New Line Cinema added this to the ranks of this continually worsening franchise.

Ah well…at least the death sequences are still entertaining.

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