Movie Review: ‘The Final Destination’? We Can Only Hope

1 Sep

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 The Final Destination in 3D (R)

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 The Final Destination is nothing more than an 80 minute gimmick designed to give the audience outrageous death scenes and jump-in-your seat thrills. That, however, is not the movie’s problem. The problem is that this fourth installment in the ‘tired-the-moment-it-began’ saga is a complete waste of an 80 minute gimmick featuring outrageous death scenes and it lacks any kind of actual thrills. This flick challenges Transformers 2 for the crown of most insipid and intentionally insulting summer entertainment. Most will shrug, roll their eyes and exclaim “I told you so!” but as any horror fan knows, the potential was here for a good time.

3-D has come along way since it was used by Hitchcock in Dial M For Murder (to date still one of my favorite uses of it) and employed in Vincent Price’s House of Wax, but amplifying schlocky thrills and the already raucous atmosphere of  a Friday night horror flick is still one of its best uses. I missed (if that’s the right word)  seeing My Bloody Valentine 3-D in theaters, but as of right now, it appears the genre has a bit to go before its ready to wield the format correctly. Final Destination seemed to promise inventive and complex scenarios where characters would face the kind of nerve-wracking, uncomfortable real-life scenarios that give us pause in our day to day; stadium events gone wrong, malfunctioning car washes, that errant piece of metal flung from the lawnmower blade. Instead, there is nothing more here than a collection of stiff, unconvincing actors stumbling through a ridiculous script that is a rehash of the first film, minus that movie’s effective death sequences and explanation of the supernatural phenomena. 3-D doesn’t help the movie at all and only compounds the sting of paying any price at all to see this festering mess.

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I wasn’t a huge fan of the other entries in the series, but Final Destination 2 is the kind of B-movie that I find myself always stoppng to watch when I catch it on televison. It stages the cental disaster with a kind of theatrical showmanship. Little details accumulate and the Rube Goldberg machinations are telegraphed clearly and cleverly, resulting in a scene of highway destruction that is actually harrowing. And I think that was the strength of the films. They were all terribly slight, but the idea of being taken at any moment throughout your day is an unsettling thought and one that is probably always lingering in the back of the average person’s mind. When we contemplate sticking that fork in the toaster to retrieve the stuck bagel, or shower during a lightning storm, there is that nagging threat of ‘what if?’ Final Destination exorcised those fears by sending Death out like an otherworldly hitman to trigger all those ‘what ifs’ and we could watch safely fr0m the theater seat as some poor schmucks who weren’t us got a bitter taste of cosmic course-correction. The new film doesn’t even give us that, as it ends in the most obvious of ways; in a theater showing a 3-D film (hoo-ha!)

But if Death in the original films was like MacGuyver, stealthily using any materials at his disposal to do you in, the Death of this new picture is Wiley Coyote, carelessly and clumsily throwing anything and everything in a haphazard attempt to strike his prey down. And what gives anyway? A group of people survive a horrible accident (in this case a stupidly arranged stock-car explosion) because one of their group has a premonition. Well, who exactly is sending the premoniti0n? My guess is Fate and Death used to date, and she’s still pissed at him over something so everytime one of these things comes along, she screws it up so Death has to work late, miss dinner and expend extra gas mileage trying to clean up the mess.

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Either way, in this film, there isn’t even a suggestion of an explanation. It honestly expects the audience to have seen the other movies so they understand the basic context of the story. The characters don’t even act surprise. Oh wait, I called them characters–thats probably too strong a word.

Well, to save me time in expending anymore critcal thought on this one, and to save any of you even thinking of seeing this one some hard-earned cash, here’s a rundown of all the death scenes featured in the movie. Yea, I’d call this a spoiler but the movie was spoiled before this, so I’m not sure I see the point in it.

Here we go–

Horrible and excessive car explosions.

 Disembowled redneck family.

 People crushed by falling debris.

Woman smushed by race-car engine to the chest.

Girl’s face and upper half obliterated by falling car tire.

White supremacist caught on fire while trying to light a burning cross and then pulled to his death by his own tow-truck. Really, it happens.

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Soccer Mom recieves a piece of lawn shrapnel right through the eye socket in front of kids.

Man is slammed so hard he actually gets pushed through a chain-link fence, resulting in the human equivalent of a Playdough Playfactory.

Guy sits on the suction grate at the bottom of the pool and his internal organs end up exploding forth in a geyser of gore out of the pool pump.

Bubba from Forrest Gump gets a classic roadkill via a speeding vehicle.

Various death from an explosion inside of a movie theater showing something in 3D.

Girl pulled down into an escalator and subsequently broken into pieces.

Characters sitting inside of some cafe/coffee-house get hit by a semi drivng through the front of the store (Whaa??) and the screen suddenly switches to X-Ray view so we can watch all the bones break.

And there you have it. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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8 Responses to “Movie Review: ‘The Final Destination’? We Can Only Hope”

  1. Clint September 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    This movie is clearly a documentary. Do you know how many people die in the United States every year? Dozens, literally dozens.

  2. Cello September 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    lol this might be best suited for a rental on a boring afternoon. 3-D doesn’t particularly entice me either. By the way, finally added you to the blogroll, sorry…it takes me awhile to add since I’m lazy making buttons.

  3. Clint September 2, 2009 at 1:58 am #

    No problem, and I couldn’t agree more on 3D. It seems like too much extra work for something that no one is screaming for.

  4. goregirl September 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    I personally enjoy the 3-D, and had intended to see this in the theatre, but the copious bad reviews have officially scared me off.

  5. The Great Fatsby September 2, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    The dialogue in this film makes the cookie monster screaming “Me like cookie!” from Sesame Street look like Shakespeare. But I will not deny the childish glee I got from the guy getting his butt sucked out in the pool – I can admit that.

  6. Bartleby September 2, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    the idea was funny…the execution terrible. You just see the dude sitting there trying to figure how one conveys the utter horror of having your organs suctioned out of your….well, you get the idea. Everything was so gimmicky, and the surrounding elements so half-hearted it was almost impossible to enjoy anything at all about it.

  7. Jen B September 4, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    There’s something great about sitting down, watching a good horror, and getting a few thrills… but this was just horribly dull and boring. I assume that the only reason that this movie was made was for the death scenes, which were also pretty lame/predicatable/etc. This is the first movie that I’ve yawned through in a while…

  8. Josh January 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Right. A movie about the last possible thing that could ever happen in the history of time. Wow. I think the who series was similar to that, but seriously? I have stomach flu, and I watched that entire movie without… you know. Although, the part with the pool came close, after all, I wasn’t exactly predicting that one. I was thinking of implosion, but that was good. I think the racing scene sucked! Come on, think about it. If those tires are thick enough to obliterate someone half end, then how the hell did it explode to the point of a flip on a stubby fuel thing? I personally thought this entire movie was made by Spike Television and was their series “1000 Ways to Die”.

    Cheers,
    Joshua

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