Final Destination 5 (Blu-ray)
When AVATAR was released, the world of film was going to change. Everyone saw the writing on the wall – 3D films were going to become the norm and soon everyone would be remaking or revising old films using 3D technology. Well, that’s partly become true, with the anticipated re-release of TITANIC in 3D and the STAR WARS films slated for 3D release in the near future. Thankfully, not everyone has decided that 3D was necessary for a great movie-going experience, and it hasn’t yet become the ‘norm’ for filmgoers, but that hasn’t stopped some terrible conversions, THE LAST AIRBENDER for one (not shot in 3D but with effects added later). Joining the fray, as you might expect, are horror films promising a more immersive and frightening experience… but it’s just tired. FINAL DESTINATION sought to add to their universe by crafting a new movie utilizing 3D technology (even though FINAL DESTINATION 4 was supposedly “the FINAL DESTINATION) but it’s all bloody-flash with little substance, more boring than interesting.
FINAL DESTINATION 5 starts by establishing our characters in an office scenario that is reminscent of a crappy THE OFFICE remake. There’s the Jim-analogue regular guy (Sam, played by Nicholas D’Agosto), the athletic intern having an affair with one of the staff, the caricatured boss (played by THE OFFICE recurring guest star David Koechner), and a slew of other forgettable characters. The story, like with the other FINAL DESTINATION films, centers around this core group and their strange escape from death early in the film. Like many terrible horror movies, we don’t know the characters well enough at the beginning to care about their untimely demise, and though it is creative and flashy to show gruesome new ways that people can die, I found myself checking my watch and wondering why they survived at all.
The group works for a paper company and are headed to a corporate retreat but when Sam has a premonition and saves eight of them from a bridge collapse that would have ended things early, the group begin living on borrowed time. Agent Jim Block (COURTNEY B. VANCE of LAW & ORDER: SVU lends some credibility to the film) gets involved in the case looking for someone to blame for the deaths. He naturally suspects Sam, because there’s no way that a psychic premonition could have actually saved these people, right?
The rest of the movie is basically gore for gore’s sake. Death comes to claim each of them one-by-one as they try to figure out how to keep from dying. We don’t really care about the characters so I’m not going to bother going into who they are. The script takes the [insert sarcastic tone] very original premise of the other four films as the group realize that they are living on borrowed time. The only way to avoid death’s call is for them to take another person’s life. If they ‘balance the scales’ (as explained by Candyman…er… Tony Todd who reprises his role as Coroner William Bludworth) by sending someone else to the afterlife, they get to take whatever time is remaining on that person’s life.
This is a review for FINAL DESTINATION 5, but I realize it’s also a commentary on the state of cinema these days. I love movies, I love the experience of going to the theater or watching them on Blu-ray in my living room. But when a movie like this passes for watchable cinema my stomach turns. The “plot” is a thin thread that puts each person into multiple situations where his or her life can be taken in gruesome and elaborate ways. The surprise of the original film is gone and the acting talent left with it. What’s worse, this movie is full of 3D moments for 3D’s sake, resulting in a cartoonish portrayal on my non-3D television that doesn’t deliver on any of the technology’s potentially cool applications. Unless you are a die-hard fan of the franchise, ignore this snorer and pick up something else.
Video: (1080p, 2.4:1 Widescreen) The video is crisp in most places though I’m assuming it suffers from being down-converted from 3D. The blood and gore are cartoonish most of the time and don’t look good in High Definition.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1) The audio is well mixed and presented, putting you in the middle of some wild situations.
Final Destination 5: Circle of Death (05:39) Spoiler Alert – do NOT watch this before you watch the movie, as this focuses on all of the ‘spectacular’ death scenes featured in the film.
Alternate Death Scenes (15:48) A total waste at 15 minutes. The first 10 are lifted directly from the movie with no changes at all, then there is a total of about 15 seconds of ‘alternate’ footage. Not mildly interesting unless you are obsessed with these movies.
Visual Effects of Death: Collapsing Bridge (09:16) A moderately interesting split-screen view of the collapsing bridge scene with the “production dailies” or early animations on top (where you can see the footage they shot without special effects) and the “final film” on the bottom. If you are into visual effects, this is a neat way to see how they put together a scene.
Visual Effects of Death: Airplane Crash (03:02) Similar set up to the bridge piece, just a quicker view of one of the last parts of the film.
Like many WB titles, this features WB BD-Live access, and an Ultra-Violet (UV) Digital Copy of the film which can be streamed and/or downloaded to your computer or mobile device.