Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Final Destination

The Final Destination movies (of which there have been five to date, with further installments planned) have always been a guilty pleasure. The theme of inescapable fate, with death coming to those who thwarted it with various Rube Goldberg-esque machinations, was fairly repetitious, but there was a certain fun-loving quality amidst the gore, and I enjoyed the first three installments to some degree. Not enough, I suppose, since the fourth movie, titled The Final Destination*, sat on my shelf for over a year until I finally got around to it this week.

A group of vacuous twenty-somethings – who are supposed to be students, I guess – go to a track together to attend an auto race. None of them seems very interested in it but Hunt (Nick Zano), who is only there because he wants to see a wreck, and who is a dear friend to the others despite having a personality that makes you want to run over him with a steamroller. He gets his wish when a car wrecks, spins into the crowd, and kills the entire group along with various other bystanders in grisly fashion. Boy, that was a short movie, can’t say I’ll miss them thou – oh, it was just a premonition by Nick (Bobby Campo). He manages to get his friends, some of the bystanders, and a security guard out before the fatal accident. Well, that’s a more disappointing end, bu – oh, yeah, it’s the same setup for the other films. They have cheated death, but death doesn’t take that lying down, and will get them in the sequence they were supposed to have died. A few gory deaths, a trademark scene of gratuitous nudity, and a fiery climax at a 3D movie (how meta!) and it ends the same way as the others did.

Gallagher has gone too far!

There are a couple of differences. Nick continues to have vague premonitions (unlike the first specific one he had) although that mostly leads to frustration because his friends absolutely refuse to believe him. After all, his vision only saved their lives. There is also a minor twist that someone who has cheated the reaper can’t die until it’s their turn in the sequence again, which would allow you to have a pretty exciting day or two. I can’t see that these additions add or detract from the movie, but one change does: Tony Todd is not in this film. If you have seen the first three, you know he appears as a mysterious character to explain things to the victims-to-be and to thoroughly creep them out. Todd had a scheduling conflict that kept him out of this one, and the film suffers for it, for as I’ve said before, a movie should have as much Tony Todd as possible.

The big failing here is there is no reason to care if the cast survives, with the possible exception of George (Mykelti Williamson), and in the case of Hunt and Racist (that’s the only way he’s referred to in the film or credits) you actively root for them to get it. If you don’t care about characters, you won’t care about the movie, and The Final Destination definitely falls short of the guilty pleasure status of its predecessors.

The Final Destination was the first in the series to be filmed in 3-D, but I watched it in 2-D since I’m not a fan of splitting headaches.

* I’m sure it’s an example of some form of OCD, but I can’t express to you how much it irritates me the other movies are titled Final Destination, Final Destination 2, Final Destination 3, and Final Destination 5, but this one is called The Final Destination. Consistency, people! It makes my shelf look unorganized.

1 comment:

Jacob Long said...

Speaking of OCD: What gets on my nerves is Freddy Vs. Jason. I don't know whether to group it with the 13th movies or the Nightmare movies. It's ridiculously frustrating.