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Case Number 18096

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The Final Destination

New Line // 2009 // 82 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // January 15th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum thinks this movie should have died already.

Editor's Note

Our review of The Final Destination (Blu-Ray), published January 15th, 2010, is also available.

The Charge

Death saved the best for 3-D!

Opening Statement

You know you're in trouble when you're staring down the fourth chapter of a horror franchise where fate is the killer, and the only thing to recommend it is that it is in 3-D. The Final Destination brings with it more deaths than any other film in the series, but it also carries a lot less plot.

Facts of the Case

Four twenty somethings head to a speedway to watch a NASCAR race. Nick (Bobby Campo, Legally Blondes) has a vision that they are all going to die in a hideous accident if they don't get out of the stadium "RIGHT NOW!" Some people who were supposed to croak along with them end up following them, and sure enough a car flies into the crowd killing fifty people in the stands. Then one by one all the survivors are being picked off by an unforeseen hand of God that invents elaborate Rube Goldberg type ways to meet your maker. It seems death is still inevitable even in three dimensions. You can run, but you can't hide. Death will get you in a hair salon, on an escalator, in a pool, or even in a 3-D movie.

The Evidence

This one is like Final Destination unplugged, it's merely the concept from the first outing stripped down to the bare essentials. Death comes and nobody can seem to stop it, and for some reason the characters figure this out and sort of accept it. Nick leads the charge in trying to change fate, but his friends seem to prefer having sex or watching bad Renny Harlin films such as The Long Kiss Goodnight while waiting to shake off this mortal coil. It's hardly unique with no returning actors from any of the other films and no continuity from them either. You can walk in to this one with no knowledge of the past movies, and all you will miss are in-jokes such as names of characters used in high schools or the number "180" popping up everywhere. It's not great, but then again, are we expecting much more than a thrill ride with a lot of gore and nonsensical ways to die?

On DVD the film is offered on a flipper disc which allows for both the 3-D version and a 2-D print to fit on one disc. The "flat version" looks amazingly good with accurate colors, no digital artifacts, and a lively sound field that uses all five speakers extremely well. There is not much in the way of supplemental material other than a pretty long collection of deleted and alternate takes which look surprisingly polished with completed effects. Looks like quite a few scenes were trimmed in the eleventh hour probably because they were too gory or slowed down the mayhem. Yet there's nothing truly significant or anything that broadens out the plot or characters which remain as one dimensional as can be.

The DVD 3-D print of the film is nowhere near the quality seen in theaters where polarized "Real 3-D" was used. Instead you are given two cardboard red and blue lensed glasses, and you get that inferior color graded version of three dimensions which many people claim they can not see. It works better than other DVD releases such as Friday The 13th Part 3 mainly because most of the action takes place in a lot of light. Bright images do better with anaglyph 3-D, so the sunny disposition of The Final Destination works to its advantage. Still, when something comes directly towards the viewer the effect does not work well. Mainly this is best at creating a little depth, and giving you a slight headache while muting most of the color.

Here are my recommendations for making the most out of this 3-D horror feature:

1) View this in as dark a room as you can find, and avoid daylight or bright lamps. If you can manage complete darkness other than the television you're headed in the right direction.
2) Adjust the colors to be brighter since the glasses are going to drain them down quite a bit, and the effect relies on color differences.
3) Sit back at least 8 to 9 feet from your television.
4) Position the TV to be straight ahead so you are not looking down or up at the screen.
5) Watch this on the largest screen you can find. Seems the bigger the screen the better off you are.
6) Always pretend the effect works for you no matter what your friends say they are experiencing. Shout "Whoa, dude!" even when a blurry image fails to come off the screen.
7) Pop two aspirin before the feature, because you fill probably need it.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

The Final Destination is silly fluff that was only ever intended to take full advantage of the 3-D effect you find in a theater. So my question is why even bother with a home version? The main gimmick that sold this thing is now gone other than an inferior process that doesn't recreate the original experience. Moviemakers are going to find going in three dimensions may work to scare up a little extra cash for the box office, but at home it does nothing to add to the film when it can't be replicated well. I can't imagine many people are going to want to add this to their collection unless they are completionists with the series or gullible about the 3-D.

Closing Statement

You know what you are getting: eleven deaths and a headache inspiring 3-D print that uses the red and blue glasses. The Final Destination doesn't live up to its theatrical experience, and doesn't add much to the mythology of the first three films. It is simply an exercise in fate run amuck, but if you dig elaborate chaos it might entertain you for an hour and a half. It's a paint by numbers copy of the first film without nearly as much in the brains department but far more gore. Death seems to be getting a little more silly and desperate to kill young people these days. At least now fate wields something that comes right out of the screen.

The Verdict

Guilty of going to a final destination you expect.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 84
Audio: 88
Extras: 70
Acting: 65
Story: 60
Judgment: 72

Perp Profile

Studio: New Line
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Horror
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes


• IMDb

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