Short Version: The Final Destination is poorly written, poorly executed, and poorly acted -but still managed to “kill” at the box office on its opening weekend.
Screen Rant’s Paul Young reviews Final Destination
While Vic (Screen Rant head honcho) gets to review all the good movies like Inglourious Basterds, District 9 and even G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, I’m stuck watching I volunteer to watch the movies no one else wants to see. So, when I walked into The Final Destination tonight firmly grasping the my flimsy short straw, I fully expected the worst, planned for no better than OK and hoped for the best.
Guess which one I got?
It’s mostly my fault I suppose. I had to choose wisely between either The Final Destination or Halloween 2, which is sort of like choosing wisely between a kid to hitting me in the crotch with either a baseball bat or a golf club. But like a good reviewer, I cinched up my petticoat and walked blindly into the awaiting danger, screaming at that kid with the blunt ball-busting instrument: “COME ON KID! GIVE ME YOUR BEST SHOT! I CAN TAKE IT!”
Well, it would seem that I can’t take it – and after 80 grueling, boring, predictable minutes, I hobbled out of the theater with a bag of ice strapped to my crotch as the kid ridiculed me, pointing and laughing at my intense displeasure. And much like my flimsy straw, The Final Destination was just as flimsy in plot, characters, FX and ending.
The Final Destination, which is the official title because supposedly “The” implies it’s the last of the quadrilogy, fails with just about every task it sets out to accomplish. I’ll start with the 3D aspect of the film. I’m so tired of the worn out, generic, feeble (NAY, pathetic) attempts of directors today to use 3D technology. Every 3D scene in the movie is predictable and most, if not all, were done in very bad CGI (not G.I. Joe-bad mind, you but still pretty sad). They start out decent enough, with race cars driving into your face but then quickly move to the old stand-by “lookout here comes a flying object towards you so duck like you believe something is actually leaving the screen and going to hit you in the face” routine. In fact, after the race scene, most of the 3D “effects” (and I use that term for lack of a better descriptive word) are objects flying at our faces.
They even throw in the obligatory “CGI champagne cork popping up in the air” scene – and it was about that time I audibly groaned. At this point, I wondered why they didn’t just have someone stand in front of the camera for twenty minutes pushing a stick in and out at the audience making a “Ohhhhhh” sound to get the most of their 3D budget. (Kid-1 Paul -0)
I really did enjoy the first two Final Destination films, the third wasn’t so hot, but each of them had the same writer so I figured if he was back for this one then at least the story would be decent. Only time I have ever been more wrong was Spring Break in Key West at a club called Diva’s with a “girl” named Adam.
Eric Bress and Jeffery Reddick are on full cruise control here, giving us characters we absolutely care nothing about, therefore have no vested interest in whether they live or die. The only actor worth mentioning is Mykelti Williamson as the security guard. He is given the funniest scene of the film and some of the best lines but without giving anything away, let’s just say that Mykelti and L.L. Cool J have nothing in common.
For reasons that escaped me, the writers decided to throw in a hefty serving of stereotyping. We’re given two different types of rednecks at the race track, the obnoxious white trash dirt bag with a cute girl and the racist hell-bent on burning a cross in the front yard of the security guard on whom he blames his wife’s death; and to round out the southern stereotype, both rednecks work in the automotive industry, one is a custom car mechanic and the other drives a tow truck and drinks beer.
The girls in the film are drab and unimportant and for the most part written as overly emotional and illogical. I would have preferred to just see them offed early on and been done with it; and the “hero,” if you will, didn’t grab my attention once. Then we get the obnoxious, skirt chasing, frat guy who cares more about getting laid than anything or anyone else around him. His scene at the pool has a healthy dose of female nudity so parents beware if you still for some bizarre reason (too cheap to pop for a babysitter?) consider bringing your young kids to this movie.
*TANGENT* Folks I am by no means telling you how to be parents but I promise you this is not a film for kids – teens maybe, but no way should children see this. I say that because a woman, who I assume was the “cool mom,” walked in with children ranging from 15 down to 8 years old! I’m surprised she didn’t just pass around a Jack Daniels bottle and a doobie. *END TANGENT*
What I liked most about the first two films was the set up for each death; here, though, nothing works. Where Final Destination 1 and 2 used intricate Rube Goldberg-like set ups that kept you watching to see how the death would actually occur, The Final Destination just puts each person that dies is put into a ridiculous situation with improbable, if not impossible, circumstances to make their death occur.
If you have watched the trailer, then you have seen most of the death scenes in this movie, except for a couple which I won’t give away. I know the writers thought they were being original with some of the deaths scenes here but really all they did was stretch the imagination, and my patience, to make them happen. (Kid-2 Paul-0)
Finally, I have to talk about the abysmal special effects in this movie – and I’m not talking about the 3D. I fear that Hollywood may be leaning so heavily on the CG crutch that we are slowly losing the artisans in the field of real, mechanical special effects. The work here is downright sad and everyone on the special effects team should be very displeased, if not embarrassed, with their work. Anything that isn’t CGI just looks like amateurish blood effects using hamburger meat and pig’s stomach. That doesn’t mean the CGI was any better though. It used to be that the CGI visual artists would try and blend the CGI seamlessly into the movie so that we thought it was actually part of the background. Not so anymore, it’s blatant CGI and they know that we know they know we know and they don’t seem to care. (Kid-3 Paul-0)
Touching on the 3D one more time, there is a scene in the movie where Lori (Shantel VanSanten) tries to convince her boyfriend Nick (Bobby Campo) to watch a movie called “Love Lays Dead.” “I don’t want to see a movie,” he says. “Oh come on, it’s in 3D,” she emphatically answers. “Nah,” he replies, “Sounds like a chick flick.” Then we get to see some of this 3D movie within a 3D movie and it has race cars in it. I’m telling you right now that it won’t be long before we get a 3D romance film. Also, everyone in the theater watching “Love Lays Dead” would lean back together each time some poked out of the screen. I’ve seen dozens of 3D films and no one ever does that – EVER!
With the choices out there this weekend, there is little doubt that The Final Destination will be on top of the box office come Monday but don’t let those numbers fool you. This film is the weakest of the series and hopefully we’ve seen the last of “teens” getting whacked in stupid ways. So if you have a few bucks to kill and time that you just absolutely do not want to use wisely, then go ahead and blow 80 minutes of your life on this film – or just save your money and wait for Gamer in a next week. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need more ice.