Monday, August 31, 2009

Movie Review: The Final Destination 3-D

The Final Destination 3-D **
Directed By:
David R. Ellis.
Written By: Eric Bress.
Starring: Bobby Campo (Nick O'Bannon), Shantel VanSanten (Lori Milligan), Nick Zano (Hunt Wynorski), Haley Webb (Janet Cunningham), Mykelti Williamson (George Lanter), Krista Allen (MILF / Samantha), Andrew Fiscella (Charlie 'Gearhead' Kewzer), Justin Welborn (Racist).

No one would ever accuse the Final Destination series of being high art, but the three films that came before this one in the series were at least entertaining diversions. They followed the same basic plot outline – right before a major accident, someone gets a vision of what will happen, causes a scene and then they, and a few other people who would have otherwise died, escape with their lives. But instead of just being able to go back to their normal lives, they are once again fearful for their lives, when one after another dies in a series of increasing bizarre “accidents”. Eventually, the group figures out what the old group knew – that they were supposed to die in the accident, and death is not happy that they didn’t, so it comes after them. The only way to break the cycle is to intervene in the death of one of the people in the chain before death gets to you. You die in the same order you should have died in the accident.

Sure, it’s a gimmicky premise, especially when you get done to the fourth movie in the franchise (this one), but then again sometimes gimmicks work. Deciding to shoot this movie in 3-D was a stroke of genius – now instead of just really bizarre deaths, you get to see really bizarre deaths in 3-D. Who doesn’t want to see that?

This movie does in fact deliver what it promises. The opening accident, set at a racetrack, is grisly in a cartoon like way, and the accidental deaths that follow are the same way. Director David R. Ellis takes joy in staging these events – especially in 3-D – and he really enjoys screwing with the audiences head, setting up one accident that build the tension, then revealing it to be a fake. Before the audience has a chance to breath, death then comes out of nowhere. In one death scene in particular – in a beauty salon – in pretty ingenious.

The problems with the movie all occur when people are not dying. Then we are stuck watching a bunch of really bad actors delivering a bunch of really bad lines. I can honestly say that I have never seen any of the four main actors before this movie, and I doubt I will see much of them after this one. I don’t think any of these four will become a Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ali Larter, AJ Cook or Seann William Scott to name three of the more successful actors who appeared in previous installments (hell, none of them are even as good as Devon Sawa). The presence of Myketlti Williamson just serves as a reminder of how good he used to be. And the rest of the cast are so nameless and faceless that even the credits list them with such character names as MILF, Gearhead and Racist. They are just in the movie to provide more death sequences.

Now, even if after this review, you still think you may want to see the film, I would encourage you to see it in the theaters where the 3-D is actually quite good. I wouldn’t want to see a series film done in 3-D, but something like this – that has no aspirations beyond being just escapist fun – it works. In this case however, it is not enough to recommend the movie. It simply is not very good. Take away the 3-D and the creative deaths, and you would have an utterly awful film.

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