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David R. Ellis
Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano, Haley Webb, Mykelti Williamson, Krista Allen, Andrew Fiscella, Justin Welborn
Writing Credits:
Eric Bress, Jeffrey Reddick (characters)

Death Saved The Best For 3D.

On what should have been a fun-filled day at the races, Nick O'Bannon has a horrific premonition in which a bizarre sequence of events causes multiple race cars to crash, sending flaming debris into the stands, brutally killing his friends and causing the upper deck of the stands to collapse on him. When he comes out of this grisly nightmare, Nick panics, persuading his girlfriend, Lori, and their friends, Janet and Hunt, to leave ... escaping seconds before Nick's frightening vision becomes a terrible reality. Thinking they've cheated death, the group has a new lease on life, but unfortunately for Nick and Lori, it is only the beginning. As his premonitions continue and the crash survivors begin to die one-by-one--in increasingly gruesome ways - Nick must figure out how to cheat death once and for all before he, too, reaches his final destination.

Box Office:
$43 million.
Opening Weekend
$27.408 million on 3121 screens.
Domestic Gross
$66.436 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 1/5/2010

• Both 2D and 3D Versions of the Film
• “Body Count: The Deaths of The Final Destination” Featurettes
• Additional Scenes
• Alternate Endings
• First Look at the New A Nightmare on Elm Street
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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The Final Destination (3-D) [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 5, 2010)

When 2009’s The Final Destination popped up at multiplexes, I expect some confusion resulted. Didn’t that movie already come out in 2000? No – that was Final Destination. This flick – the fourth in the series – is The Final Destination.

Why not just call it Final Destination 4? I have no idea, though Final wasn’t alone. 2009’s Fast and Furious offered a similar trick, as its title presented a minor alteration of the original The Fast and the Furious.

Actually, when I saw the title, I wondered if Final rebooted/remade the original. This doesn’t appear to be the case, though I get the impression all four offer very similar stories. At a stock car race with his friends, Nick O’Bannon (Bobby Campo) experiences a premonition. He sees an accident that wreaks havoc and results in the death of many, including himself.

This vision comes true, except Nick manages to warn a few people and allow them to survive – for now. One by one, the folks who should’ve died in the race track disaster perish via alternate means. Bobby notices a pattern: they all kick in the order they would’ve gone if he’d not intervened at the race. Bobby works with his friends and track security guard George (Mykelti Williamson) to break the chain and keep as many people alive as possible.

Since I never saw any of the prior movies in the series, I hesitate to say that all four boast the same plot. However, based on what I read, it sure does look that way. This isn’t necessarily a fatal flaw, though, especially not for a horror franchise. After all, the various Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street flicks tended to trot down similar paths.

However, Final does provide one big difference: none of the characters carry over from movie to movie. It appears Final Destination 2 linked to its predecessor, but I can’t find any connection between the fourth flick and any of the earlier ones. At least the Friday and Nightmare franchises used their famous villains repeatedly; no such continuity exists here.

That’s because fate is the enemy here. Man, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a fatalistic movie. The film makes it clear that nothing people do can change destiny; whatever is meant to happen will happen.

But not in a good way. While I realize flicks like this aren’t meant to uplift the human spirit, Final seems unusually cynical and depressing. It takes place in a world where human error is the norm. Everywhere you look, people do stupid, careless things, and others suffer as a result. Even good deeds fail to go unpunished.

I guess that’s fine for fans of the franchise, as I suppose they watch for little more than the killings at this point. Because the stories appear to be so similar, I doubt anyone checks out the movies for their intricate plots or rich characters. In truth, the story is super-basic, and the participants never become anything more than plot devices. When the flick’s brief running time ends, we’ve seen no changes in the characters, and we know precious little about them.

That’s because they’re just meat for the grinder. Viewers want to see these people killed in a variety of unusual ways, and I guess it delivers. The methods tend to stretch credulity; as I mentioned, human error is the major factor at work here, and it becomes tough to accept that so much fatal carelessness abounds. Still, the film shows some creativity in the Rube Goldberg way it offs its characters, and it manages to tease the audience as well. Occasionally the flick sets up a killing but doesn’t deliver, so that keeps us off-guard to a degree.

But that’s not enough to make this a particularly interesting experience. As a thrill ride, Final isn’t a bad effort; it keeps us occupied for 82 minutes. However, it never threatens to become anything remotely more substantial, and too much of it seems flimsy or silly. We find a mediocre horror thriller that probably seems redundant after all these years.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture NA/ Audio A/ Bonus C+

The Final Destination appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Note that the film came in both 2D and 3D renditions; because I figured most viewers would prefer it, I chose to review the 3D version.

As was the case with other live-action 3D movies, it became difficult to objectively rate the picture quality due to the problems inherent in the red/blue format. The degraded presentation that comes with those blasted 3D glasses mad it more difficult than usual to rate the picture quality of Final - so I didn’t. It just didn’t make sense for me to try to objectively grade a visual presentation that came with so many unavoidable flaws. The red/blue 3D glasses meant those hues dominated; most colors that were not red or blue in the film showed up as a neutral tone. The technology used for this kind of 3D work simply made natural colors impossible.

The glasses also tended to negatively affect sharpness. Actually, much of the 3D presentation showed fairly good delineation, but the nature of the material meant the shots occasionally provided slightly double images and could be somewhat blurry. It’s simply a flawed technology, so I didn’t want to saddle it with a grade.

Given the potential for the red/blue 3D format, however, I thought it looked fine. The 3D effects themselves worked quite well. The movie boasted a nice sense of depth, and the occasional gimmicky shots succeeded. These put us in the action well. Anyway, although I didn’t grade the quality of the visuals, expect them to seem good for this sort of project.

No qualms greeted the strong DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Final. The movie’s many action scenes created the greatest impact. From flying objects to explosions and blasts to swirling waters, the soundfield used all five channels to excellent effect. The elements swarmed all around us and firmly placed us in the action.

Never did the quality of the audio disappoint. Effects remained concise and robust. They presented great dynamics and lacked any distortion or other problems. The score occasionally threatened to get buried under the onslaught of action effects, but the music managed to stay lively and bright nonetheless. Speech was crisp and distinctive, while bass response seemed terrific. Really, I found a lot to like and virtually nothing to criticize from this superb soundtrack.

How did the picture and sound of this Blu-ray compare to the film’s DVD version? Both seemed a little stronger, though not to an extreme. The audio was a bit more robust and dynamic, but the DVD’s lossy track still worked well.

Visuals also demonstrated a small upgrade, but since the 3D presentation made things a bit messy, the Blu-ray didn’t show a big step up in quality. I thought it tended to look more precise than the DVD, but not in a major way. Of course, the Blu-ray couldn’t exhibit improved colors because of the blue/red format. I thought the Blu-ray was somewhat better looking than the DVD, but don’t expect it to blow away that disc.

The Blu-ray does expand on the DVD’s extras, which proved to be pretty skimpy. I’ll note Blu-ray exclusives with special blue print.

Under “Behind the Story”, we get several featurettes via Body Count: The Deaths of The Final Destination. One compilation of these looks at seven sequences and runs a total of 22 minutes, seven seconds. We hear from director David Ellis, producer Craig Perry, special effects makeup artist Mike McCarty, visual effects supervisor Erik Henry, stunt coordinator Jeffrey J. Dashnaw, and actors Haley Webb, Bobby Campo, Mykelti Williamson, Nick Zano, Andrew Fiscella, Krista Allen, Jackson Walker, Justin Welborn, and Shantel Vansanten. As expected, “Count” gives us details about the various elements used to make the movie’s killings look realistic. Since each segment averages only a little more than three minutes, these zip by awfully quickly, but they provide good details in this gory but informative collection.

In addition, “Behind the Story” provides two progression reels. These cover “Racecar Crash” (5:00) and “Mall Explosion” (6:04). They evolve through storyboards, pre-viz animatics and visual effects stages. Both sequences give us a nice look at the creation of the sequences.

Nine Deleted Scenes last a total of seven minutes, 17 seconds. Many of these just add a little more gore to existing sequences, though a few exceptions occur. We see Nick and Lori discuss their future, and we find more examples of ways that characters test “the list”; these show the immortality that goes with “the list’s” insistence on deaths in a certain order. None of the clips are particularly interesting.

We also locate two Alternate Ending. We get “Mall – Original Ending” (3:15) and “Mal – Alt Ending” (0:18). The latter is obviously just a brief change, whereas the former’s more substantial. Neither would’ve improved the final flick, and both probably would’ve actually made it less effective.

For a look at an upcoming horror flick, we go to an Exclusive First Look at the New A Nightmare on Elm Street. In this one-minute, 59-second clip, we see shots from the remake and get a few remarks from producer Brad Fuller and actor Jackie Earl Haley. This is essentially just a trailer, so don’t expect much from it.

The disc opens with a few ads. We get promos for Blu-ray Disc, digital copies, and The Book of Eli.

Perhaps earlier iterations of the franchise were more entertaining, but The Final Destination wears out its welcome pretty quickly. The movie lacks even basic story or character exploration; it devotes all its time to its occasionally clever killings but comes with no other entertainment value. The Blu-ray provides good 3D visuals and a terrific soundtrack as well as a few decent supplements. I think this becomes a fairly good release for a forgettable horror flick.

To rate this film, visit the original review of THE FINAL DESTINATION

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main