The Final Destination (2009)

The Final Destination (2009) — SECOND REVIEW [HBO]: Ah, the glory of watching a 3D movie in 2D. Not something like The Last Airbender where they hastily converted the 2D movie to 3D in post-production, but a movie conceived to exploit gimmicky 3D “throw shit at the camera” techniques. It’s all very silly when the things flying at the camera aren’t getting any closer. I like this movie, but that’s really just because I have a soft spot for slasher movies. And this is a slasher movie.  It just happens to have an invisible, omnipotent , and very meticulous slasher (often depicted as a sinister gust of wind). Death is not an abstract concept, the natural end to life and depending on your religious/spiritual beliefs the trasition to the next step of our consciousness, but rather a sentient predator… and kind of a dick. Mykelti Williamson (Bubba!) tries to kill himself but death won’t let him succeed because it’s “not the right order.” That’s a dick move. One of my favorite death scenes in the movie is Krista Allen’s because she dies in a ridiculously simple way. All the foreshadowed things that happen before have nothing to do with death except that they all get her to be in the exact place necessary for her to be for her death to occur as planned. That’s kind of how the whole movie works actually… These films are never going to be as good as the original again (or the second, for that matter) but they are still a fun-filled trip through the bloody corridors of inevitable causality… FIRST REVIEW [In Theaters… in 3D!]: Final Destination was a surprisingly good movie that was a neat twist on the slasher film replacing masked killers with the ominous Rube Goldberg-esque machinations of death itself (among its other contributions: making John Denver creepy[er] and giving us an eerie foreshadowing as to the eventual fate of D.J. AM).  Final Destination 2 was a surprisingly good sequel (though not as good as the first film) which added a twist to the existing mythology of the first movie and upped the ante on the kills.  Final Destination 3 added nothing of value to the series but was blood-soaked and enjoyable.  Final Destination 4 is the same as 3 except in 3D, which makes it better. [Sidenote: the movie is Final Destination 4.  I know they call it “THE Final Destination” hoping the addition of an article is enough to distinguish it because for whatever stupid reason no one like numbering sequels anymore (I’m looking at you Terminator: Salvation and Fast & Furious!)]  The characters are non-existant except a few broad caricatures (Obnoxious Girlfriend, Cocky Blonde Douchebag, NeoNazi).  Some might view this as drawback but I agree with Rotten Tomatoes reviewer Ellen Fox: “If Tom and Jerry were a real cat and mouse that wouldn’t be funny.  It’d be sick.”  When “characters” like Cocky Blonde Douchebag or NeoNazi dies, you’re not supposed to feel the impact of a person’s death.  You’re supposed to go “Holy Shit!” and gawk at the viscera.  So the characters aren’t all that important which kind of leads me to ask, why is Mykelti Williamson in this movie?  Does he need the money that bad?  He’s a GOOD actor [usually, not so much here].  His talent is not required [or delivered] in a movie like this.  Actually it probably would have cheaper to go with someone else (I don’t know how much Bubba is pulling down these days but it’s probably more than an unknown actor).  Anyway, the storytelling isn’t the issue in this movie.  A story might be nice, like in the first movie (and to a lesser extent the second), but in its absence there is one thing that matters in such a movie: the kills.  The kills are pretty decent but the second movie still has the high water mark in terms of creative and gory deaths.  The 3D adds something to the buildup with various things flying around.  However it means the gore is mostly CG and CG blood and guts still don’t hold a candle to practical on-set effects.  Even within the movie you can see the difference between the CG blood in the deaths and the on-set practical effects for the bloody aftermath.  This was a movie I had low expectations for and it met them in the best way.  There is one major bone of contention I have with the movie and that occurs right at the end [SPOILER ALERT so stop reading if you don’t want the end spoiled but come on, is it really that important in a movie like this?].  In the opening credits there are views of deaths from the first three movies presented in sort of a CG X-ray vision.  Blue CG bones being crushed, for example.  For an opening credits sequence that is fine.  At the end of the movie some horrible accident happens [shocker] and right at the moment where the key characters are about to die it switches back to the opening credits X-ray view of how they die, which means no blood no guts no WHAT WE PAID TO SEE!  I don’t know if they just ran out of money right at that point.  Or maybe they were originally going to cut to black (like the first and third movie did at similar moments) and decided later to just add the CG at the end to give something “extra.” [THUS ENDETH SPOILERS]  Truthfully, as many will attest to, there is no point to reading a review for a movie like this (but if you got to this point thanks for reading anyway!).  You already know if you like this type of movie.  The real barometer is whether or not you liked the third movie and whether you like cheap William Castle-esque “scare” tactics [the most notable of which is when the characters are in peril while at… A 3D MOVIE!!!!].  There is some great use of 3D flying at the camera stuff.  Definitely a few flinch moments (when stuff is flying right at your face).  It’s fun.  That’s basically the only real way to judge a movie like this.  It’s just fun.

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