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MOVIE INFO

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

Tagline:
Death Saved The Best For 3D.

Synopsis:
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:
Budget
$43 million.
Opening Weekend
$27.408 million on 3121 screens.
Domestic Gross
$66.436 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $28.98
Release Date: 1/5/2010

Bonus:
• Both 2D and 3D Versions of the Film
• Additional Scenes
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
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.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Final Destination (3-D) (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 4, 2010)

When 2009ís The Final Destination popped up at multiplexes, I expect some confusion resulted. Didnít that movie already come out in 2000? No Ė that was Final Destination. This flick Ė the fourth in the series Ė is The Final Destination.

Why not just call it Final Destination 4? I have no idea, though Final wasnít alone in its attempts to confound moviegoers. 2009ís 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 doesnít 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 OíBannon (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 Ė for now. One by one, the folks who shouldíve died in the race track disaster perish via alternate means. Bobby notices a pattern: they all kick in the order they wouldíve gone if heíd 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 isnít 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 canít 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.

Thatís because fate is the enemy here. Man, I donít know if Iíve 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 arenít 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 thatís 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 flickís brief running time ends, weíve seen no changes in the characters, and we know precious little about them.

Thatís because theyíre 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 ways it offs its characters, and it manages to tease the audience as well. Occasionally the flick sets up a killing but doesnít deliver, so that keeps us off-guard to a degree.

But thatís not enough to make this a particularly interesting experience. As a thrill ride, Final isnít 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 DVD Grades: Picture NA/ Audio A/ Bonus D+

The Final Destination appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. 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 DVDs, 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 didnít. It just didnít 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. Itís simply a flawed technology, so I didnít 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 didnít grade the quality of the visuals, expect them to seem good for this sort of project.

No qualms greeted the strong Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of Final. The movieís 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.

Only a few extras appear here. On the 2D side, we find nine Deleted Scenes. These 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 ďthe listĒ; these show the immortality that goes with ďthe listísĒ insistence on deaths in a certain order. None of the clips are particularly interesting.

A few ads open the 2D side of the disc. We get clips for Whiteout, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Halo Legends and Terminator Salvation: The Machinama Series. No trailer for Final Destination pops up here.

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 DVD provides good 3D visuals and a terrific soundtrack, but it skimps on extras. Leave this one for diehard fans of the series.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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