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Blu-ray Review: ‘The Final Destination’ 3D
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The Final DestinationThe Final Destination
3D Blu-ray Edition
Directed by David R. Ellis
Starring Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Mykelti Williamson, Nick Zano, Haley Webb
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 5, 2010

Much like the Saw franchise, the Final Destination franchise has become a horror standard. And though they don’t release a Final Destination film every single year like their counterparts do, the movies have always had a great sense of terrifying fun about them. Up to Final Destination 3, these movies were still silly and lacking plots and story, but there was plenty of gruesome fun to be had where Saw got very old very fast after their second installment. So how would The Final Destination, the fourth film in the franchise, hold up? Let’s find out!

This time around, we begin at a suspicious racetrack where NASCAR-quality vehicles race at some small town track where rednecks and apparently good looking college-aged kids like to enjoy the races. As with the previous films, disaster strikes when an unfortunate string of events leads to a massive crash that sends metal and fire shooting into the crowd and causing the aging building to begin collapsing everywhere, killing many, many people. This of course was all just some kind of twisted daydream that Nick (Bobby Campo) was having. When the minor but significant details that lead up to the horrible accident begin playing out again, Nick knows he has somehow been warned, and quickly gets everyone to leave, including his girlfriend Lori (Shantel VanSanten) and their friends Janet (Haley Webb) and Hunt (Nick Zano). It’s not long before everyone who escaped the carnage realizes that they’ve been marked and that death is indeed coming to get all of them in the order that they were meant to go…again.

Click over for much more and to check out the trailer for The Final Destination.

As I said before, I’m a fan of the first three Final Destination films. If I had to choose, the second was the most entertaining of them all, but I was never bored with any of these purposely-crafted guilty little pleasures. Sadly, for some reason, The Final Destination was missing something that the other three had. There’s no denying that there’s some nauseatingly creative deaths going on in the movie, but the way that they all unfolded seemed wildly absurd EVEN for a Final Destination movie. There were times when I actually found myself thinking of that crafty breakfast machine that Pee-Wee Herman built in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure as some of these kill-shots unfolded in painfully stretched-out fashion.

There’s a strong possibility that maybe these movies have just run their course and there is simply nothing more that they can do with the concept, but some things did stand out as the potentially damaging flaws. Going back to the deaths — yes, they were drawn out and over-the-top, but it felt to me as if they were the only real part of the movie that was concentrated on. There was pretty much no story at all aside from the basic premise that we’re all familiar with, and when they tried to add another layer to it, it backfired pretty hard. There’s one point toward the end of the movie where an awful turn of events is unfolding, and things get about as bad as they can get…but out of nowhere, as if M. Night Shyamalan himself were directing, it all turns into another random flashback that we’re used to seeing at the start of these movies, and it really does not work at all. The movie is 82 minutes in length, and it feels as if half of it is re-watching what we’ve seen in “premonitions” — which of course is the required terminology for every single one of these flicks. And then, to cap it all off, the ending of this movie actually angered me. It was so incredibly random, and seemed like one of those “pulled from hat” blind shots that have no rhyme or reason to it. There are a couple alternate endings to check out in the special features, but not too much to regain.

Other elements of the movie also seemed to suffer from the lack-of-care that resulted from too much concentration on wild and crazy death scenes as well. Aside from story, the next most important one would be the performances by the actors. I have seen worse, to be fair, but all-in-all, all of the acting here is incredibly stiff and has a very soap opera-type feel to it. The lack of acting can be forgiven in movies like this, but because the parts that usually entertain us were also severely lacking, all of these other flaws began to glare viciously. Director David R. Willis is usually where you would look to blame for things like this, but he previously directed Final Destination 2 as well as some other fun cheese-fests in Snakes on a Plane and Cellular, so I really can’t say where things went wrong.

I will go back to the death scenes one more time to give a little credit. If you’re into gorily realistic death and mutilation, you’ll certainly get it here. Whoever handled the non-CGI post-death special effects did a great job and I was sickened a few times by the blood and guts I was seeing…in a good way.

As you all are very much aware, we live in a time where absolutely everything is in 3D, and the big novelty with The Final Destination was that it would give us these insane deaths with the third dimension applied. I didn’t personally get to see this one in theaters with the new and improved technology that’s going today, but on Blu-ray, the 3D is good ol’ fashioned Red & Blue style, complete with cardboard spectacles. When trying to watch the movie in this format, I literally could not last through the opening scene. The glasses do nothing but destroy the movie, and the clarity can immediately shoot from high definition to sub-standard. In fact, the standard version of the movie that I watched was actually a BETTER 3-D movie than the 3-D featured here. This is because every single gag that was supposed to pop out at you was crystal clear obvious, and that’s not a good thing in 2-D…unless of course you’re really looking for it.

Thankfully with this Blu-ray package (as all Blu-rays should do) you’re treated right with both 3D and 2D options as well as digital copy AND a DVD copy of the film. If every Blu came standard with a DVD copy, I’d be ready and willing to fully move on from just DVD.

If you’re really into these movies, you should definitely check this out just because it may be just as fun to you as the previous ones were. I’m saddened by the fact that I was let down because I was hoping it was going to be a good time while watching. If this isn’t the end of the Final Destination movies, then I really hope that they try and pull some sort of reinvention and really take the time to put a unique and entertaining spin on the concept to keep it fresh and fun.

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