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The Final Destination (3-D)

Blu-ray Review


Bobby Campo 

Shantel VanSanten

Nick Zano

Haley Webb

 Directed by:

David R. Ellis

The Final Destination franchise, of which "The Final Destination" is the fourth entry (I'll use the quotes to discern when I'm talking about the movie versus the franchise - apparently Hollywood isn't even original enough to come up with new titles now), has had middling success over the years.  The first film, "Final Destination", found its way to approximately $112 Million in grosses worldwide, and had enough success on DVD to warrant a sequel, appropriately titled "Final Destination 2".  That film grossed approximately $90 Million, and again did well enough DVD to warrant another sequel.  "Final Destination 3" came back on par with the first film, grossing $113 Million, as such, a fourth film in the series was inevitable.

Of course, this film being released in 2009 and all, "The Final Destination" is in 3-D  (I guess calling it "Final Destination 4 in 3-D" would be too confusing).  It was shot primarily with an eye toward projection on the spiffy new digital 3-D screens showing up around the world, and managed to gross a series' best $152 Million worldwide.  This means, inevitably (and more than a little ironically), there will be a "Final Destination 5".

Having finished its obligatory six week theatrical run (horror movies burn fast - OK, it was technically in theatres for 14 weeks, but most of the grosses from those weeks aren't worth discussing, the earnings were all front loaded), "The Final Destination" has now made its way to home video in the form of a 3-D Blu-ray (it's also available on DVD).

The two disc set includes the film in 3-D and 2-D on a single Blu-ray disc, and a second disc with a digital copy of the film.  It also includes two sets of spiffy cardboard 3-D glasses with the Cyan and Red lenses that have come to represent the mediocre experience that is currently 3-D movies at home (at least until 3-D Blu-ray players and TVs get here later this year - and some content to play on them, of course).

The Final Destination series has always followed a pretty standard formula. A group of young, attractive teens are doing something fun, then a horrible accident occurs, everyone dies, and we revert back to one of the young, attractive folks having had a vision.  They then experience some brutal deja-vu as the events start to come true, and the chosen individual manages to convince their group of friends to leave whatever fun they had planned behind (trip to Europe, roller coaster ride, car race).  The accident they envisioned then happens without them, and some unseen force hunts them down, killing them in a series of brutal "accidents" throughout the course of the film.

As the fourth film in the series, "The Final Destination" holds no surprises aside from a few neat 3-D tricks.  There are new revelations about what "death" is, no new back story, and no characters from prior films in the series showing up to surprise us.  People looking for 3-D to be used as an extension to the story, as in Coraline, Avatar and Up, are going to be sorely disappointed.  Those people looking to have things shot out of the screen at their eyeballs, however, will be delighted...or they would be, if they were in the theatre.

The home presentation of 3-D on the "The Final Destination" is among the worst I've seen (and I own Freddy's Dead, The Final Nightmare on DVD), with terrible ghosting and double imaging.  There are some scenes where the 3-D effects really pop, but at other points it becomes distracting.  By the time you get through the film's 82 minute run time, your eyes are so tired that you can't even see straight.

Of course, you don't have to suffer through the film in 3-D, because you can watch it in 2-D.  The only problem then, of course, is that you've seen it all before.  The only thing that's different than the other three Final Destination movies is that people keep throwing objects at the camera for no apparent reason.

Image quality on the 2-D version is quite strong, not surprising for a new film.  The transfer is a little bright, probably a side-effect of shooting it for 3-D (the polarized lenses used in 3-D theatres darken the image considerably, so many 3-D films are "pumped up" to compensate).  Audio quality is spectacular, with the film creating a beautiful, immersive sound field.  You'll hear your surround speakers working, and the bass levels are incredible during the opening race sequences.

Bonus features on the Blu-ray are there a'plenty, including deleted scenes, the ability to skip to your favourite deaths in the film, alternate sequences, story boards, and some visual insight into how the special effects were created.  The presentation of those bonus features is pretty much non-existant, with a simple text menu listing all the features.

All-in-all, if you're a fan of the other Final Destination films, "The Final Destination" will likely be a disappointment to you.  If you saw it in 3-D in theatres, I'm sure it was a fun, if forgettable, time.  At home, the poor presentation just feels pointless.  If you're a completionist who must see this film, rent it first (or wait for it to show up on cable).  If you haven't seen a Final Destination film before, and are curious, skip this one and go to the mildly superior earlier films in the series.